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Head Coach Mike Norvell On The Hot Seat As Florida State Football Circles The Drain

Ross Everett
by in NCAAF on
  • Florida State is now 0-3 on the season following a 35-14 loss at Wake Forest on Saturday.
  • The last time the Seminoles were 0-3 was 1976–Bobby Bowden’s first season as head coach.
  • Second year head coach Mike Norvell’s record at FSU is now 3-9. Florida State boosters are increasingly suggesting that he should be fired.

Florida State gave their boosters false promise in the first week of the 2021 college football season. The Seminoles put forth a solid effort to open the season giving then #9 ranked Notre Dame all they could handle before losing 41-38 in overtime as they covered as a +7 point home underdog. It’s been all downhill ever since. On September 11, Florida State lost 20-17 at home to FCS Jacksonville State as -27.5 on a last second touchdown pass. The fact that Jacksonville State is a very good FCS program that went 10-3 last year is no consolation for the Seminoles–a Florida State team had *never* lost to an FCS level opponent since the division was created in 1978. That 26-0 record is now 26-1. The last time that Florida State lost to a team below the top level of college football competition was 1961 against Southern Mississippi. The last second victory makes the Gamecocks’ win seem like a fluke but Jacksonville State also won the yardage battle, outgaining Florida State 350-335.

After the Jacksonville State loss, Seminoles’ head coach Mike Norvell called the result ‘totally unacceptable’ and apologized to the fans and university. He also tried to suggest that the game could be a turning point:

“I apologize to our fan base, to our university, to all Seminoles for the performance we had. I take ownership of it, but we go in and work, correct the things that have to be corrected to play to the level we’re capable of playing. This team has talent, they have heart, they truly do believe in what we can accomplish, but we have to go execute. It can’t just be something we talk about in the moment. I’ve been a part of challenging times before. Tonight is a challenging time for our university and our football team. We will get it corrected.”

Guess again. Saturday brought another embarrassing loss, this time 35-14 at Wake Forest. Never mind that this could be the best Wake Forest team in a number of years. It was a winnable game against a beatable opponent that Florida State has had little trouble with over the years winning 30 of the 38 all time meetings (7-30-1). Florida State needed to show up and they didn’t. The team is now 0-3 on the season–the last time a Florida State team was 0-3 was in 1976 as a new head coach named Bobby Bowden began his tenure. As for Norvell, he’s now 3-9 as the head coach of Florida State and the numbers don’t look good for his job security. Florida State fired his predecessor, Willie Taggart, midway through *his* second season and he had a 9-12 record as Seminoles’ head coach at the time.

It wouldn’t be a huge surprise for Norvell to be fired before next Saturday’s game against Louisville. According to the hometown newspaper–the Tallahassee Democrat–if he manages to make it to the end of the season it will likely be for financial considerations. When Norvell took the job he signed a six year deal worth $26.5 million USD and the university would be on the hook for 85% of his remaining salary if he is terminated without cause. The newspaper’s final assessment was that it would be unwise to fire Norvell this early in the game:

However, it doesn’t make any sense and cents to fire a second head coach in two years. And judging by Norvell’s post-game press conference Saturday, it was obvious he is embarrassed and discouraged – but he’s still taking responsibility and searching hard for answers. 

That assessment is correct from a logical standpoint but given the mood of the Seminoles’ fanbase it might be too late for Norvell to salvage the situation. Here’s the assessment of Chris Wallace at SaturdayDownSouth:

If Seminoles fans had any say in the matter, Norvell would be gone tonight, as was evident scrolling through Twitter comments during and after the Wake game.

There’s a fair amount of sentiment that not only should FSU fire Norvell, they should replace him with Deion Sanders.

FSU Football: Fans have no faith in Mike Norvell after Wake Forest loss (ChopChat)

FSU fans want Mike Norvell fired after latest loss, 0-3 start (SaturdayDownSouth)

Dear Florida State, fire Mike Norvell and hire Deion Sanders already (Fansided)

Norvell needs to do something soon to win back the fanbase but a bigger problem might be his locker room. The players didn’t sound optimistic after the Jacksonville State loss and Saturday’s debacle at Wake Forest didn’t change anything for the better.

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