football Edit

Thompson relishing opportunity to start for Florida State football

He made national headlines a few weeks ago when he called out his head coach and administrators on social media.

There was a tenuous time, too, immediately afterward, when it wasn't certain whether Warren Thompson would even be a part of the 2020 Florida State football team.

Now, he's a starter looking to have a breakout season for the Seminoles. And on Tuesday, he met with the media for the first time since he made those headlines.

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Thompson wouldn't go into detail about the conversations he had with head coach Mike Norvell following that episode, but he was highly complimentary of him during Tuesday's interview.

"I know he has my back," Thompson said. "That's my coach."

Norvell said he loved Thompson when he was asked about him on Monday. He said the redshirt sophomore was a good kid with a great heart.

Thompson also is 6-foot-3, 203 pounds and can really run. Those are positive attributes as well. But through two years on campus, he's caught a grand total of six passes, and he's now had run-ins with two different coaching staffs.

*Complete breakdown of Tuesday’s interviews with Norvell, OL coach Alex Atkins and players

As Norvell pointed out back when Thompson's fate was still undetermined, the talented wide receiver wasn't even on the team when Norvell got the job last December. He had left following a falling out with former coach Willie Taggart.

Norvell welcomed him back to the program, and then as preseason practice started to ramp up last month, he read some unflattering (and in his opinion, untrue) tweets from the redshirt sophomore receiver. Then after hashing things out, Norvell allowed him back on the team once more.

That wasn't perhaps the easiest decision to make. And Thompson certainly seems to appreciate the second chance with his new coach.

"Building the relationship that Coach Norvell built, I know that he has my back," Thompson said. "That's my coach, and he's willing to show that he has my back in all situations. And I got his."

Said Norvell: "We were able to work through that process. And Warren has just continued to develop and put himself in a really good position. I'm excited about what this season can be for him. But he's got to continue to grow. He's got to continue to develop and show that consistency. And he gets that opportunity starting on Saturday.

Thompson will be lining up opposite of Tamorrion Terry, who is one of the best returning receivers in the United States. Along with slot receiver Keyshawn Helton, the Seminoles should have some serious weapons in the passing game.

"When you have two dominant players on the outside, and Keyshawn, too, because he can stretch the defense," tight end Camren McDonald said. "It's a great feeling."

On Thompson, McDonald said: "When he's in the right state of mind, he's almost unstoppable."

And by all accounts, he's been in the right frame of mind since coming back.

Not only did Norvell praise his attitude and work ethic and ability on Monday, but so did offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham.

"I think he's done a great job," Dillingham said. "Ball skills. He goes and attacks the football. Big body. Explosive ... He's an explosive playmaker that we're going to try to get the ball to vertically."

Said Thompson: "I was always kind of driven to be better in all aspects. And I really think Coach Norvell brings that out of me all the time. He's bringing the best out of me at all times."

Finding matchup advantages is essentially what Norvell's offense is based on. The whole goal is to get their playmakers in the most advantageous position to make plays, whether that means putting them in motion, lining them up at different positions, or switching them from one side of the field to another.

Thompson couldn't help but smile when asked about his role in the offense and how he and Terry might work together in Norvell's scheme.

"He's smart," the receiver said of his head coach. "And I just listen to everything he says."

When the backlash to his social media posts started, Thompson didn't know if he would be suiting up against Georgia Tech on Sept. 12. He didn't even know if he would be on the roster for sure.

But he went up to the coaches' office a few days later, and he and Norvell had a talk.

Now he's about to be in the starting lineup for FSU's first game of the 2020 season.

"We just came to an agreement," Thompson said. "I wanted to be with my team. I wanted to be with my coach. This is where I want to be. I feel safe and I want to play ball."

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