FSU Head Coach Mike Norvell Positive for COVID-19, Will Not Coach Miami Game

FSU Head Coach Mike Norvell

This past Saturday was a bye week for the Seminoles, but it doesn’t mean there wasn’t news out of Tallahassee. FSU Head Coach Mike Norvell tested positive for COVID-19.

Since he must be away from the team, Chris Thomsen has been named the on-field head coach for Miami week, including the game.

Norvell said this after the results returned:

“In our most recent round of Covid testing yesterday, I received a positive result after being negative in our previous two tests this week. My wife and daughter were tested this morning with negative results, but are quarantining. My result was surprising to me, but we have prepared for a potential positive result among anyone in our program and we will put that plan in place while I am away. I will remain involved remotely as much as possible to help our team continue to prepare.”

Mike Norvell

That’s indeed how it will be, as he will not be present at the game on Saturday, their only in-state rivalry game this season due to the change in scheduling because of the virus.

Norvell was quoted via a Zoom call as saying:

“It’s extremely disappointing. This game is one of the great games in all of college football. When I got this job, this game, Florida, those are each and every year games that mean so much to so many. Not being able to be active during the 3 1/2 hours the game is going to be taking place, it’s going to hurt, but the reality is I do get to make an impact and I’ll get to make an impact in every aspect of our preparation, everything leading up to it.”


That impact is going to be needed. Miami is coming off of a high-scoring affair against Louisville, pulling out the win, 47-34. Mostly on the shoulders of transfer QB D’Eriq King, who went 10-30, with 325 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Miami QB D'Eriq King vs Louisville
Hurricanes quarterback D’Eriq King

The dual-threat quarterback didn’t even have to use his legs to win the game, even though that has been part of his game since his days at the University of Houston.

He chose UH because he was told he was going to be a quarterback, but when he got there, Greg Ward Jr. was still playing, so he was switched to receiver for 2016.

After taking over the starting quarterback job in October of 2017, King started a streak of accounting for at least one touchdown in every game he has played since. As a matter of fact, he has scored once in all but two games throughout his collegiate career.

Maybe the most impressive part of the streak ended on Saturday. Since 2018, King had scored at least one touchdown rushing, as well as passing, in 16 straight games.

Cam’Ron Harris led the way for the Hurricanes in rushing with 134 yards and a touchdown. Wideout Brevin Jordan had 7 catches for 120 yards and a score. These are guys that the Seminoles are going to have to keep at bay if they hope to get a win this Saturday.


FSU is going to have to find a way to be more productive than they were against Georgia Tech. The leading rusher for the Noles was the backup quarterback Jordan Travis, and nobody had more than 39 yards on the ground.

A lot of that falls on the offensive line, who must play as a unit to protect quarterback James Blackman, and allow the backs in the committee to get some production.

FSU QB James Blackman
FSU quarterback James Blackman

Miami sacked Louisville’s Malik Cunningham three times, and had 10 total tackles behind the line of scrimmage. These are things that FSU cannot allow if they plan to win.

It’s great having a back like Jashaun Corbin that can be utilized in the passing game, but when he leads the team in receiving, and you have a guy that can stretch the field like Tamorrion Terry, it’s frustrating. Blackman has to have time to throw from the pocket. Make his reads, and not be forced to check down.

FSU WR Tamorrion Terry
FSU wide receiver Tamorrion Terry

It’ll take time to transition out of the mess that was left at Florida State, but they have to get better quicker than they are. This team is far too talented to have a losing record in the ACC.

Norvell not being there may be more adversity that FSU has to overcome, but will they let it it beat them, or give them more of a reason to fight?

We’ll see Saturday night, at 7:30pm EDT on ABC.

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