The Mike Norvell era of Florida State football got off to a rocky start last Saturday, as the Seminoles were upended on home turf by Georgia Tech en route to a 16-13 defeat. It marked the fourth straight year in which the Seminoles dropped their home opener — three straight in Tallahassee — and only generated that many more questions about FSU’s identity as a program, the Seminoles now under their third head coach in a span of four seasons.
Ask longtime former college football head coach Urban Meyer, who coached against FSU annually while he was at Florida from 2005-2010, and the drop off that the Seminoles have endured in recent seasons — FSU is a mere 18-21 since the start of the 2017 season — is nothing short of perplexing when considering where the program once stood. Meyer contrasted FSU’s struggles with the long-term success the program saw under former coach Bobby Bowden (1976-2009) beore going on to say that Norvell appears to find himself in “quicksand” following the lackluster start.
“The Florida State I remember, (it was) Bobby Bowden with all those first-round draft picks,” Meyer said Saturday on Big Noon Kickoff. “On the other sideline, I’m coaching against him. It would be unthinkable to not win 11 games. Here’s the difference. They’re 1-11 in the last 12 games against ranked opponents. Their first five or six are against ranked opponents. I don’t know. Whatever’s happening is not good. Pop the hood and look underneath?
“The captain of the team (Marvin Wilson) called out their coach in the summer about not being truthful about speaking with the players. Is there something going on at Florida State that’s not positive? You have a new coach there. (Mike Norvell) is in quicksand right now. I hope he gets himself out, because if it keeps going in reverse, they won’t win five games.”
Norvell previously served as the head coach at Memphis, where he led the Tigers to 38 wins in four seasons, before he was hired by FSU late last year as Willie Taggart’s replacement. Taggart was fired last November after less than two full seasons at the helm in Tallahassee, going just 9-12 while leading the Seminoles. And while it’s still largely a blank slate that sits in front of Norvell, it would appear that he too will have plenty of things to fix within the program before FSU can return to its status as an ACC contender and more.
“Just collectively, as a football team, we are not consistent enough,” Norvell told reporters after the loss to Georgia Tech. “We missed out on some opportunities to get them off of the field, allowed them to convert on 50 percent of the third downs which extended some drives. We had miscommunication. Things that we just absolutely cannot have in all phases. We had some critical penalties, some dropped passes and obviously the three turnovers is something that absolutely hurt our football team throughout the course of the game.”
FSU returns to action on Sept. 26 when the team travels to the southern end of the Sunshine State for its annual clash with Miami. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET at Hard Rock Stadium.