Norvell, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week, watched from his home as Florida State fell behind by its largest halftime deficit (35 points) since 1952 and suffered the second-largest margin of defeat by any team in the series, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information. The Seminoles are 0-2 for the second time since 2017 and just the third time since 1976, Bobby Bowden’s first season as coach.
“Tonight was extremely challenging,” Norvell said. “Those are my guys, and to be sitting at home and not being able to have an impact throughout the course of the game, it was a tough night. Even in the tough moments, those are the times I embrace being a coach.”
Norvell, in his first year at FSU, did not address the team immediately after the game but said he plans to do so Sunday after players are back in Tallahassee. Tight ends coach Chris Thomsen served as the team’s acting head coach Saturday night.
“The thing I’m disappointed in as anything else is just some of the emotional responses that are not up to the standard of what it takes to play winning football,” Norvell said. “That’s something that we will get corrected. It starts with me. We will make sure that we continue to help build these guys. As a complete football program, we’re going to do things the right way.”
Florida State drew 12 penalties for 113 yards in the loss. Norvell said he sees players investing in the program and the new coaching staff, but the team needs to show greater consistency and poise during games.
“I am excited about the journey we have in front of us. I’m excited about the opportunity,” Norvell said. “When you sit there and you go through a game like that, I hurt for everyone. It’s sickening to have to live through that. But the only way that you can move forward is how you choose to respond. We’ve got some fine young men that are in that locker room in Miami right now that I know are hurting with all the want-to, with all the desire. We’ve got to continue as a coaching staff to help direct that.”
Seminoles tight end Camren McDonald said Norvell’s absence was “significant” but not an excuse for the team’s poor play or players not controlling their emotions.
“He is our program’s leader and he is a good source of energy on the sideline, the way that he conducts himself,” McDonald said. “You always feel like the situation is under control when Coach Norvell is there. It’s significant but it wasn’t insurmountable.”
Miami won its fourth straight against FSU and became the first team in the rivalry to eclipse 50 points. Asked if the final score illustrates the gap between the programs, Hurricanes coach Manny Diaz said, “It went the way that it went. That’s for someone else to judge.”
The Hurricanes (3-0, 2-0 ACC) have an open week before a scheduled visit to No. 1 Clemson on Oct. 10. Florida State — now 0-2 in conference — is slated to host FCS Jacksonville State next week.
“There are great days ahead for this program,” Norvell said. “We are going to work at an extremely high level in every aspect to make sure that we’re doing our part to improve in each moment that we get. We have to improve. We’ve got to take ownership to what we’ve done to this point. We have to get better, and we’ve got to get better quickly.”