Mike Norvell

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Two transfers from Mississippi State granted immediate eligibility at Florida State

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It was a pretty good day personnel-wise for the Florida State football program.

In early June, FSU confirmed the additions of defensive lineman Fabien Lovett and defensive back Jarrian Jones.  It was expected that both players, transfers from Mississippi State, would seek immediate-eligibility waivers.

Thursday afternoon, FSU confirmed that Jones (pictured) and Lovett have each been granted a transfer waiver allowing for immediate eligibility in the 2020 season.  That will leave both players with three years of eligibility remaining.  Jones also has a redshirt season to use as well.

“We are fired up for Jarrian and Fabien to have this opportunity to compete this season,” first-year Florida State head football coach Mike Norvell said in a statement. “The entire Florida State family is grateful to the NCAA committee for their time considering these appeals for two great young men. Jarrian and Fabien are tremendous football players who have already had a positive impact on our program, and I’m looking forward to seeing that impact continue to grow.”

Lovett was a three-star 2018 signee. He was rated as the No. 7 player regardless of position in the state of Mississippi.

The past two seasons, Lovett played in 15 games. 13 of those appearances came in 2019. A year ago, the defensive end was credited with 19 tackles, 2½ tackles for loss and a sack.

Because he appeared in four or fewer games in 2018, Lovett was able to take a redshirt for that season.

Jones was a four-star member of the Mississippi State football Class of 2019.  The Mississippi native was the No. 18 safety in the country on the 247Sports.com composite.  He was also the No. 13 prospect regardless of position in his home state.  Only three signees in the class that year for MSU were rated higher than Jones.

As a true freshman, Jones started one of the dozen games in which he played.  In those appearances, he was credited with 12 tackles, two passes defensed and one fumble recovery.

Memphis to wear ‘BLM’ decals on their helmets this season

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Memphis will take its off-field social activism onto the football field this fall.

Across the country, student-athletes, football players especially, have seen their collective voices grow louder in protesting for racial equality and against social injustices. And flags.  Several members of the Memphis football program took to the streets of their city last month to do just that.

This week, on his personal Twitter account, first-year Memphis head coach Ryan Silverfield announced that his players will wear “BLM” decals on their helmets throughout the 2020 college football season.  “BLM,” of course, stands for the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

“The use of the BLM logo on a helmet decal was an idea from our student-athletes,” Silverfield told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal in a text message. “It doesn’t mean we support any anti-American, violent organization or hate group or any specific political party. In fact, I love this country and I love our players. Rather the decal is a show of support to our team.”

And what of a backlash against wearing the decals?  It was subsequently reported by The Athletic that “[a] prominent University of Memphis booster has informed the school that he will match, and then double, whatever donations the school might lose as a result of the Black Lives Matter helmet decal.”

The name of the booster was not revealed.

Memphis is coming off a school-record 12-win football campaign.  They claimed the program’s first-ever win in the AAC championship game after two straight losses.

Head coach Mike Norvell left the school for the same job at Florida State in mid-December.  Memphis stayed in-house for its next head coach, with Silverfield, the offensive line coach, promoted three days later.

Florida State players, Mike Norvell clear the air as head coach acknowledges mistake in team meeting, statement

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It appears the new Florida State head football coach has indeed passed his first test.  Thanks in very large part to his players.

In an interview this week, Mike Norvell claimed that he had held one-on-one conversations with every one of his football players amidst the current climate.  In a social media post, Florida State football player Marvin Wilson called that claim “a lie.” The first-team All-ACC defensive tackle also threatened that he and his teammates would boycott voluntary workouts because of the situation.

According to athletic director David Coburn, a team meeting was held Thursday morning that he described as “open and very candid and that it went well.”

Just a short time ago, Norvell issued a statement in which he acknowledged he should not have used the word “every” to describe his interactions with his players.  He also applauded Wilson for using his platform the way the lineman did.

“I’m proud of Marvin for utilizing his platform to express his reaction to my comments in an earlier interview,” the statement from the Florida State football coach began. “Last Saturday evening, I sent a text to each player individually to present an opportunity for open communication with me. Many members of our team chose to respond and have more in-depth conversations about issues and feelings. Marvin is right. It was a mistake to use the word “every”. Particularly at this time, words are important, and I’m sorry. Once again, I am grateful for the opportunity that I was given to speak to our team more in-depth as a result of Marvin being willing to express his feelings. We will continue to communicate and work together to be part of the solution making our world a better place for ALL.“

For his part, Wilson applauded his head coach as well.

Florida State player threatens workout boycotts over head coach Mike Norvell’s claim

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The new Florida State head football coach has his first test to navigate.  A major, major test.

Amidst the social unrest over police brutality and racial injustice, Mike Norvell was asked by The Athletic‘s Tashan Reed if he and his staff have been checking in with his players more often during these challenging times. According to the Florida State football coach, he had individual conversations with every Seminole football player this past weekend.

“We’ve had a lot of open communication with our team, our players and our coaches,” Norvell told The Athletic. “I went back and forth individually with every player this weekend. …

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to help make a difference.  That’s something that we definitely have talked about in a big-picture team approach, but also, more specifically, the individual and group conversations.”

Those are heartfelt, inspiring words.  Unless you’re a Florida State football player.  And you call BS on your coach’s spinning of the events.

In a blistering Twitter post, FSU defensive tackle Marvin Wilson essentially called Norvell a liar. According to the first-team All-ACC lineman, there were no one-on-one conversations.  Instead, a mass text was sent out to every player on the squad.

Now, Wilson is stating that he and his teammates will boycott workouts until further notice.

“Man this [poop emoji] did not happen mane,” Wilson wrote. “We got a generated text sent to everybody. There was no one on one talk between us and coach.  This is a lie and me and my teammates as a whole are outraged and we will not be working out until further notice.”

FSU restarted voluntary on-campus workouts Monday.  Thus far, there has been no public comment from either Norvell or the Florida State football program on Wilson’s claim.

College coaches speak out following death of George Floyd

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The despicable, abhorrent, unconscionable murder of George Floyd has touched myriad aspects of our society.  College football is no different.

Monday night, 46-year-old George Floyd died after a Minneapolis Police Department officer took a knee on the man’s neck.  For several minutes.  Floyd was a black man.  The police officer is a white man.

“I can’t breathe, please, the knee in my neck. I can’t move … my neck … I’m through, I’m through.”

Four police officers connected to the death of Floyd were fired.  The white officer who murdered Floyd, Derek Chauvin, has since been charged in the black man’s death.  The 19-year veteran of the force is facing one count each of of third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Wednesday, the University of Minnesota significantly distanced itself from the Minneapolis Police Department.  The MPD assisted the university for large events, including Minnesota football games.

In the days since, college football coaches have decried the fatal brutality.  On the Rich Eisen Show Thursday, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh spoke about the “horrendous… outrageous” murder (my words, not the coach’s) of George Floyd.

On Twitter in the ensuing days, Harbaugh’s colleagues at the collegiate level — including one ex-coach who is now an athletic director — have used their platform to decry the senseless murder of George Floyd.

Some of them, including Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin (HERE), Florida State’s Mike Norvell (HERE), Tulsa’s Philip Montgomery (HERE), Troy’s Chip Lindsey (HERE) and UTSA’s Jeff Traylor (HERE), retweeted the powerful words of Tony Dungy.

Others sent out their own messages.