Bye week gives Travis, FSU offense a chance to heal and improve
Unlike the first bye week of the season, which came after just one game, the second bye for the Florida State football Team appears to have come at an opportune time.
It's allowed impact players like receiver Tamorrion Terry, who head coach Mike Norvell described as a "game-time decision" for Saturday's showdown with Pitt, and quarterback Jordan Travis to get healthier.
And in Travis' case, it's also allowed him to gain more confidence in what he's doing as the Seminoles prepare for a Panther defense that will be one of the best they face all season.
But first things first: The biggest thing it did was allow his body to heal. Travis was clearly not himself for much of the Louisville game, appearing to reinjure his left arm or shoulder in the second quarter of that 48-16 loss.
"It helped me heal for sure," Travis said of the bye week. "My body feels really good. Mentally, it did a lot for me. So, I could just focus on the week in practice and all the little things about offense. Because usually when you get caught up in game week, your mind starts running all over the place.
"I got to relax and just keep my mind right. And just kind of play relaxed and calm down and see everything good."
As offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham pointed out a few minutes later, Travis is about to make only the fourth start of his college career. So, he's not loaded with experience at this level.
Not only that, because of health issues for much of the preseason and into the actual season, Travis didn't get a ton of actual practice snaps before he took over the offense. So he's still playing catch-up to a certain extent.
Which is why Dillingham thought the bye week was invaluable for the sophomore quarterback.
"I think he's got all the ability to be a really, really, really good quarterback," Dillingham said. "I'm fired up for the growth I've seen him have. Just in terms of drops and the rhythm of his feet. And every day, you can see him getting better. And you can see him getting more comfortable in the offense. ...
"From a rep standpoint, he's only going to improve. He missed three-fourths of fall camp. So he's making that up right now."
Dillingham said he also needs to do a better job of helping Travis develop the quick passing game, making sure he relies on that more than he has in previous games. He believes it will help Travis and the receivers get into a better rhythm.
A lot of the bye week, Dillingham said, was spent on working — and beating — man-to-man coverage, which they expect to see a great deal of this Saturday against Pitt.
The offense didn't add any new wrinkles, but instead went back to work on the things it does well, trying to make the run game even better than it's been.
"We got to focus on our base plays vs. a variety of looks," Dillingham said. "And that's really where we've struggled the most. We haven't struggled going out there and executing the base looks to the game plan. We've struggled when the picture changes -- and what we've practiced is no longer what they're doing because they adjusted.
"Well, that's what we're struggling to [address]. Can we all be on the same page when they change? So, this last week was all about if they do something different. We gave them almost every look you could give vs. inside zone, vs. counter, vs. power, vs. everything. And said, 'OK, what are our answers? How do we block it? And how can we be successful?' So, from that standpoint the (bye week) was huge."
Norvell also said the coaching staff used the bye week to make a couple of position changes. He didn't go into detail on any of them except to say that Leonard Warner has now been moved to the "Fox" (defensive end/outside linebacker) position and away from his middle linebacker spot.
Warner played some snaps in that role vs. Louisville.