Each year, months before a new season officially begins with the first kickoff of the year, the building blocks of the team are laid throughout spring football.
For the state of Florida, those early steps have already begun as the Seminoles have significantly improved pre-camp conditioning with this year’s edition of the Tour of Duty program.
Inspired by the mat workouts made famous by Bobby Bowden and Mickey Andrews, head coach Mike Norvell and strength and conditioning coach Josh Storms have held each year since arriving in Tallahassee and used it as an opportunity to shape the mindset for the upcoming season.
“We’re trying to push them to the edge of what they think they can and then take that one step further,” Norvell said Thursday after the final practice session. “I mean, this is the football game. And that, of course, is also the game of life.”
“That’s what excites me about my job — to see that progress,” Storms said. “Seeing guys come in, whether it’s growing up physically, growing up from a maturity standpoint… just seeing that incremental progression along the way, that part is huge. That’s the motivation. and when these guys start to see their motivation increase, or they see that in their teammate, their roommate, their best friend, the team – whoever that is – they see their growth and that drives and drives them at her.”
Both coaches praised the players’ efforts, saying the intensity and focus was what they expected from all their athletes, whether new or returning.
“Our guys took up the challenge,” Norvell said. “[We’ve] had brought some newcomers to the program who have done a truly remarkable job in their transition. We’ve had some returning players, some of our best players, [make] incredible advances in who they were, what they did and what they were able to achieve here this spring.”
Though he insisted on naming players from all areas, Norvell took the time to highlight a few players who excelled, including quarterback Jordan Travis, running back Trey Benson, wide receiver Kentron Poitier, tight end Jaheim Bell, and defensive end Darrell Jackson.
“Anyone can call themselves a leader, but you have to show up every day. And you have to be consistent. And that, as you know, is precisely this consistency for our football team. And I think Jordan Travis is a great example of that. He is a great leader for us. He doesn’t always have to say a lot of words. The way he’s worked, he’s busted his butt throughout this tour of duty, he’s done a great job at all things in a weight room and continues to grow and develop.
You need that. And that’s what you want when you have these top players, when their actions speak, it’s really remarkable. You see this in a lot of different positions and a lot of people take advantage of those opportunities. This is something that is common.”
“Trey Benson is a guy who is known as one of our top players. But, you know, last year he was so restricted that he did it in the spring. The confidence he’s been able to develop is really impressive.
The recipient group, I’ve been very happy with a lot of these guys. It’s great that Winston is back and working and the things he’s done – just this story in general. You see a guy like Darrion Williamson who is at a very, very high level and doing great things. Kentron (Poitier), I’m really impressed with him.”
“You go on the defensive side, I really like what I’ve seen from some guys on the defensive secondary, there’s a lot of competition there, how they’re pushing.
Omarion Cooper has gained almost 15 pounds I think, we’re going to look at a few things with him defensively, just in different positions.
We’re going to challenge guys, you know, just as we’re going into spring to guys coming back, they’re evolving and what they’re doing, but also if we can expand roles in different ways, we’ll do that. I was really happy with the whole group and what they did.”
Listen to full Norvell and Storms availability below: