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#pounditMonday, December 6, 2021

Articles tagged: Florida State Football

Dabo Swinney blasts Florida State over canceled game

Dabo Swinney

Dabo Swinney on Sunday blasted Florida State’s administration for postponing their football on Saturday at the last minute.

Clemson traveled to Tallahassee to face the Seminoles on Saturday, but the game was postponed at the last minute over a COVID situation (more details here).

On Sunday, Swinney was ticked off about things and made that known. He said the FSU administration used the COVID issue as an excuse to cancel the game.

Swinney says that FSU should pay for Clemson’s travel, or if they want to make up the game, they can travel to Clemson.

Swinney says his players were ticked off about making the trip only to have the game not be played.

He also believes the standard to cancel a game was not met.

FSU’s position of wanting to be cautious with COVID-19 makes sense, as does Clemson’s anger about making the trip and having the game scuttled at the last second. Swinney also rightly points out that they determined standards for playing and canceling games, and that schools knew the possibility of positive tests existed. That is why they expanded travel rosters so that teams could make contingency plans in the case of a positive test.

Clemson also offered to get tested again so they could play Saturday or Sunday and FSU wouldn’t agree to terms.

Clemson is 6-1 and has games against Pitt and at Virginia Tech remaining on its schedule.

This is why Clemson-Florida State was abruptly postponed Saturday

Clemson Tigers logo

Clemson’s scheduled game against Florida State was abruptly postponed less than four hours before Saturday’s scheduled kickoff. We’re starting to get the reasons behind the unexpected decision.

According to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, a Clemson backup offensive lineman tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday. The lineman had practiced all week, including Friday, and had begun to show symptoms of the virus. That led Florida State to grow concerned that he had possibly been contagious and spread the virus to other Clemson offensive linemen who did not yet know it but could spread it to Florida State players.

In addition, the Seminoles feared that playing Clemson in light of that positive would send a bad message and make them look hypocritical. The team has held its players to strict standards to prevent any positive tests. Florida State has not had any players or staff test positive since coach Mike Norvell did in September.

Both Clemson and Florida State have an open date on Dec. 12. The game could be made up at that point.

North Carolina chokes in loss to Florida State with three straight drops to end game

Mack Brown

North Carolina choked in their 31-28 loss at Florida State on Saturday night to suffer their first defeat of the season.

The Tar Heels scored with just under five minutes left to make it 31-28 in the fourth quarter. They forced the Seminoles into a 3-and-out to get the ball back, and then began to drive. The Heels started at their 22 with 2:24 left and moved to the FSU 41 with 48 seconds left.

That’s when things unraveled.

On second-and-9, Sam Howell passed down the right sideline to Beau Corrales, who was unable to make the catch. North Carolina would have had the ball inside the 10 and been in great position to win had he made the catch.

On third down, Howell passed high over the middle for Dazz Newsome, who wasn’t able to make the catch.

Then on fourth down with the game on the line, Howell scrambled and threw for Javonte Williams, who dropped the ball.

Had any one of the catches been made, North Carolina would have been in good shape to tie the game at minimum.

Instead, the drops resulted in UNC losing for the first time to fall 3-1. Meanwhile, FSU is now 2-3 and just got its best win under new coach Mike Norvell.

Photo: Bcollege6879/Wikimedia via CC BY-SA 4.0

Deion Sanders critical of Florida State recruiting policy

Deion Sanders

The Florida State Seminoles are in real danger of posting three consecutive losing seasons for the first time since the 1970s, and Deion Sanders thinks he knows why.

The Seminoles legend blamed the school’s recruiting strategy for its recent struggles, arguing that the team has been more concerned with recruiting rankings than intangibles.

“It starts out with recruiting; it starts out with the type of kids,” Sanders said on Wednesday’s “The Paul Finebaum Show,” via Riley Gates of 247Sports. “We’re chasing five-stars and four-stars, and we’re not measuring the heart. It’s no way to detect the heart. It’s no way to understand that. Instead of looking at the made-up highlight tapes, hey man, let’s go look at practice. I want to see a kid practice. Show me the practice tape. Games are the best possible plays he can have. There’s no way a guy was great for three straight minutes.

“Show me how he practices and sometimes we’re losing the understanding because we’re into rankings. We want to say we have the number one class in the nation from that year, just because we acquired several five- and four-stars.”

Maybe Sanders is onto something. According to 247Sports’ team rankings, the Seminoles brought in the third-ranked recruiting class in the country in both 2015 and 2016, followed by the No. 6 class in 2017 and No. 11 in 2018. They’ve continued to slip each year as on-field success has not followed the highly-touted recruits.

Now that Sanders is a college coach himself, perhaps this philosophy will inform his recruiting strategy.

Florida State player threatens to boycott workouts over coach Mike Norvell’s false claim

Mike Norvell

Mike Norvell has been the head football coach at Florida State for just six months, and it appears he is already dealing with his first locker room divide.

Tashan Reed of The Athletic asked Norvell earlier in the week if he has spoken with Seminoles players about the racial injustice protests that were sparked by the killing of George Floyd. The coach said there has been a lot of “open communication” and that he has had individual exchanges about the issues with each player.

Apparently, that was not entirely true. Junior defensive tackle Marvin Wilson took to Twitter late Wednesday night and said one-on-one conversations between players and Norvell “did not happen.” He said the team received a generic text message about the Floyd incident and the protests and that Seminoles players are “outraged” that Norvell lied. Wilson added that players will not be attending workouts until further notice.

Other Florida State players appeared to support Wilson’s message.

It’s unclear why Norvell would make a claim like that if it didn’t actually happen. Some wondered if Reed misquoted Norvell, but the reporter said he recorded the conference call then transcribed it like he does with all of his interviews.

Norvell had already been drawing praise from FSU players after he replaced Willie Taggart, but it sounds like he has some explaining to do.

Florida State using ‘NCAA Football’ video game to hold virtual spring game

Florida State logo

College football spring games have been wiped out due to the coronavirus pandemic, so the Florida State Seminoles are improvising in a bid to entertain fans.

The Seminoles have scheduled a virtual spring game at the time their actual one was supposed to start, using EA Sports “NCAA Football 14.” Offensive line coach Alex Atkins will handle one Seminoles team, while former defensive end Wally Aime will take the other.

The game is six years old, as no new ones have been made due to licensing issues. Judging by the appearance of James Blackman in the preview video, it looks like someone updated the rosters to set up the current team for this particular event.

Points for creativity here. They’re not the first school to use the game in a fun way, but this is pretty cool all the same.

Mike Norvell reportedly will be named Florida State head coach

Mike Norvell

Florida State appears to have found its new football coach.

According to Wayne McGahee III of the Tallahassee Democrat, Memphis coach Mike Norvell will likely be announced as the new head coach of the Seminoles on Sunday. He will replace Willie Taggart, who was fired in November.

Potential contractual terms have not yet been reported.

Norvell has been a big success at Memphis. He’s 37-15 there in four seasons, including an 11-1 season this year. The Tigers will face Cincinnati later Saturday in the AAC title game. He’s been regarded as a hot coaching candidate for some time, though he’ll have to prove himself in terms of player development and recruitment at Florida State. Those are two major issues that have been problems since Jimbo Fisher’s departure.

Norvell was linked to openings last year but made the decision to stay put and won 11 games. The Seminoles will hope that’s a sign of things to come in Tallahassee.

Report: Brian Kelly, Mike Norvell mentioned in connection with Florida State job

Florida State logo

Florida State fired Willie Taggart on November 3 and the talk about their search for a new head coach has mostly been quiet ever since. We know their search is moving well and that they reportedly are on track to make a hire by the end of the season. And thanks to Football Scoop, we have an idea of what’s going on with their situation.

Football Scoop’s Zach Barnett reported on Wednesday that Florida State went big game hunting at first but have been turned down by Bob and (presumably) Mark Stoops; Matt Rhule; Matt Campbell; and James Franklin.

Barnett says that Brian Kelly’s name has been mentioned in connection with the job, and that Florida State has been talking with Memphis coach Mike Norvell.

Defensive line coach Odell Haggins, the current interim head coach, is receiving some talk around the program’s players too for a more permanent gig. Barnett mentions that Lane Kiffin and Indiana’s Tom Allen have been vetted for the job.

If you ask us, Kelly’s involvement is likely to get a new deal out of Notre Dame. Why would he be motivated to leave Notre Dame for Florida State? The Seminoles don’t seem like they would offer him anything more or better than he currently has.

Norvell seems like the most probable name, from our perspective. He received a big contract extension two years ago and was in the mix for the Arkansas job before they went with Chad Morris. Coaching at Florida State would be a step up from Memphis in terms of football tradition and the pathway to a national championship. He has Memphis 10-1 this season and is a hot name.

Money could be an issue with FSU. They owe Willie Taggart a massive buyout and are looking for funds to upgrade facilities.

Willie Taggart will receive buyout from Florida State despite contract issue

Willie Taggart FSU

Willie Taggart was fired by Florida State earlier this month in the middle of only his second season with the team. When a big program parts ways with a coach that quickly, that typically means a large buyout is forthcoming. After some questions arose regarding his contract situation, it appears that will still be the case for Taggart.

A report from Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times on Monday said Taggart never finalized a formal contract with Florida State when he was first hired less than two years ago. The report said he signed what is called a binding document, which is only meant to be a placeholder until the formal paperwork is signed by all parties.

Taggart is owed nearly $18 million from Florida State, so it would be concerning if there was a question over whether or not his contract was actually signed. However, Darren Rovell of Action Network clarified that Taggart signed the deal and the school did not, so he will still be getting his money.

A similar situation arose back in 2009 when Kentucky fired former basketball coach Billy Gillispie after two seasons. Kentucky argued that they did not have to pay Gillispie his buyout because he never signed a formal contract, and the coach sued the school. Kentucky filed a countersuit, and eventually Gillispie received a $3 million settlement, which was about half of the buyout he was supposed to get.

If Florida State tried to pull something similar with Taggart, he could likely argue that he executed his end of the deal by signing the contract even if the school didn’t. The Seminoles would probably love to save the $18 million with some of the big names they have been pursuing to fill their head coaching vacancy, but Taggart appears to be safe.

Report: Florida State on track to hire new coach by end of season

Florida State logo

The Florida State Seminoles are in the middle of a search for a new head football coach after firing Willie Taggart midseason, and they are on track to make a hire by the end of the season, according to a report.

The Athletic’s Tashan Reed reported on Friday that Florida State has held in-person interviews and is on track to make a hire by the end of the season.

Reed also suggests that current Seminoles coaches on staff are working to ensure their recruiting does not completely fall off since Taggart was fired.

Though Taggart was not having success on the field, his recruiting was always strong, so keeping the recruits committed is a big task.

In addition to their coaching pursuit, Florida State’s athletic director is soliciting more donations from boosters to help pay buyouts, and to fund new facilities and facility upgrades. They’re seeking $100 million. Taggart alone is owed a massive buyout due to how quickly he was fired — he was just in his second season as the team’s head coach.