'Huge week' for FSU Football continues as 'Noles search for first win
When the Florida State football team fell to Jacksonville State on Saturday, it marked just the fourth time since 1977 that FSU started a season with an 0-2 record.
Now, the Seminoles are preparing to head to Wake Forest, where they'll hope to avoid a position the 1989, 2017 and 2020 teams all escaped from the next time they hit the field: an 0-3 start.
Before FSU faces the Demon Deacons on Saturday (3:30 p.m., ESPN), head coach Mike Norvell said Tuesday’s practice was a good start to the week, but he added that the Seminoles will need to use the frustrations of the first two games in a positive manner.
“Where do you channel that?" he said. "That’s during the course of a game, the course of practice, the course of life. You’re going to be put in an uncomfortable position. Where do you allow your mindset to go. Do you get distracted by outside circumstances and things that you can’t control? Or do you focus on the things that you can control?”
After back-to-back losses to start the season, redshirt sophomore tight end Wyatt Rector said the players are maintaining the right frame of mind -- even though that was difficult in the first 24 hours following the Jacksonville State loss.
“On Sunday, everybody, obviously we’re all upset about losing, nobody wants to lose like that," Rector said. "But I think the only thing you can do is take it day-by-day and just keep working and be better. On to the next game, because that is all you can do.”
Rector, a converted quarterback who caught his first career touchdown pass on Saturday, said the Seminoles had a productive day of practice Tuesday. And he's confident the team will have a positive mindset heading into Game 3 against the Demon Deacons.
“All you have to do is just stay positive," Rector said. "It’s easy to look at all the negative sources, all the social media, listen to what other people have to say. But you have to just stick together as a group. I think if we do that and block out all the noise, I think we’ll be successful.
“But if we don’t do that, if we’re listening to other people and what they have to say about us, it’s going to be negative."
Defensive tackle Fabien Lovett is another veteran who has been a part-time starter in college across three seasons with FSU and Mississippi State. He spoke Tuesday about the sense of urgency the Seminoles feel after two losses.
“We've gotta do everything that we need to do," Lovett said. "We've gotta win today. We’re not even focused on the game right now. We’re focused on winning every practice and every opportunity we get.”
Rector called this week “huge” for the Seminoles and pointed out that plenty of teams in the past that have started off 0-2 and had a successful season.
“I think it’s a clean slate," he said. "Even though we’re 0-2, Coach Norvell and Coach Dillingham (offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham) keep reminding us that we still can do it. Our team, they still believe in us. The past two games, we lost by a couple points towards the end. We’re looking forward to becoming 1-0 this week.”
With his team looking to record its first win, Norvell said he and his staff aren't making any major changes to anything they're doing on offense and defense. The emphasis, he said, is on working harder and becoming more efficient in all areas.
That hard work started in the meeting Tuesday morning, he said.
“Are you on the edge of your seat taking notes? Is fire burning out of your eyes to learn and grasp that information? Or are you just kind of going through the motions? Just checking off a box,” Norvell said. “If you do that, you’re probably not going to play with the best of your ability in the crunch-time moments. That’s the continued education of what we try to provide for our guys.”