Florida State suffered its most devastating loss on Saturday night, a 20-17 defeat to FCS opponent Jacksonville State.
It was the first loss to an FCS school in the Seminoles’ history and showed just how far the program has fallen since Jimbo Fisher’s departure in 2017. Second-year head coach Mike Norvell knows he has his hands full, but insisted on Monday that his team does not have any quit in them.
"This football team’s not going to quit," Norvell said. "We have to build and get better, and we’re going to. This will be something we look back to. Nobody wants to have the experience, nobody wants to have the feelings, but it’s our opportunity to respond to it, and it’s our opportunity to go get better.
"That’s why last night we didn’t just sit out there and drag our heads around. Was anybody happy? No, they were sick to their freakin’ stomach about what happened Saturday night. But you go back out, and you go to work."
The loss will be infamous in Florida State history for how it happened. A last-second heave for a 59-yard score against a regular defense, as opposed to a rush four, drop seven approach that most teams’ deploy in those situations.
"I think there was a shock factor that just hit, and there were some guys that froze in the moment," Norvell said. "Why does that happen? I’m not sure, but guys have to be able to overcome in those situations when they are pressure-packed.
"In the moment, you have your reasons why you do things. We didn’t finish, and obviously the play result can’t happen. As a coaching staff, we take responsibility for what happened. That’s on us. We’ve got to get it right. It’s sick to have to live with."
Norvell’s decision making in both of FSU’s losses this season have drawn criticism from die-hard fans.
Norvell’s first shot to turn it around will be this Saturday at Wake Forest (2-0) at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN. FanDuel Sportsbook has the Seminoles as a 5.5-point underdog and it’s hard to disagree with that spread. The Demon Deacons have been impressive in their first two outings, albeit against Old Dominion and Norfolk State.
Should FSU drop to 0-3, the heat on Norvell’s seat figures to heat up quite substantially in the minds of fans. However, FSU remains in financial trouble and doesn’t even have an athletic director who knows anything about athletics.
Athletic director David Coburn is a self-admitted numbers guy who was brought in to help fix the financial situation. And with Willie Taggart earning $290,000 a month from FSU for the next three seasons to not coach them, a buyout might not be an option.
The only hope is that the Seminoles 10th ranked 2022 recruiting class (#1 in ACC) per 247Sports, can come in and help change the culture in Tallahassee under Norvell.