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Sport Memphis coach Mike Norvell expected to be hired by Florida State

22:25  07 december  2019
22:25  07 december  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

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Florida State's wait for a new head coach is over.

a group of people watching a baseball game: Memphis coach Mike Norvell watches his team against South Florida in a game at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.© Justin Ford, Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports Memphis coach Mike Norvell watches his team against South Florida in a game at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

Multiple people have told the Tallahassee Democrat that the hiring of Memphis coach Mike Norvell will be announced Sunday. The people requested anonymity because the hiring has not publicly been announced.

The 16th-ranked Tigers are playing No. 21 Cincinnati in the American Athletic championship game Saturday.

Norvell, 38, will need to hit the ground running to get a staff in place and on the road recruiting before the early signing period begins on Dec. 18.

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Florida State has had many problems over the last three years but there are three that standout above the rest that Norvell has to address quickly.

A look at those issues.

Recruiting

Florida State's recruiting class has started falling apart. Seven players have decommitted since October. The current class has 14 commitments and is ranked No. 22 in the country, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

Florida State and Memphis recruit in different talent pools, which means that it's unlikely that Norvell has had much contact with the recruits that Florida has been pursuing or even the recruits that are currently committed.

The Seminoles can't afford to have another lost class like what happened in former coach Willie Taggart's first year and the early signing period only hinders new coaching staff by taking away a large pool of players that decide to sign early.

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Norvell will have to come in and immediately start building those relationships, while also filling out his staff and getting them on the road quickly. That's going to be hindered by Florida State playing in a bowl game.

The Seminoles still need to have a coaching staff for the bowl game. Their postseason matchup and destination will be announced Sunday.

Norvell also doesn't have a lot of ties to the state of Florida. He's only signed four recruits from the state during his time at Memphis. Being the Florida State coach will help when he walks into a high school, but he's going to have to build those relationships quickly as well.

His first priority should be making sure that the recruits that remain in FSU's class stay on board and getting the recruits that recently jumped ship back on the train.

After that he can start to focus on bringing in other prospects.

Roster management

One recruiting class isn't going to fix the issues that the Florida State roster has. The problems are to wide to do that with high school players and it's only going to get wider as some of the best players in the program currently elect to leave early.

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Players like defensive tackle Marvin Wilson, running back Cam Akers, and wide receiver Tamorrion Terry will all likely be high draft if they decide to declare for the NFL draft. Those three players helped carry the Seminoles to a bowl game this season.

FSU's quarterback situation is volatile at this point with James Blackman and Jordan Travis as the only scholarship quarterbacks potentially returning. Will Blackman stay or move on? After the career that he's had to endure, neither result would be surprising.

There's also the offensive line, which has been an unmitigated disaster for the Seminoles for many years and the lack of pass rushers on the defensive side of the ball.

Those things won't be fixed by bringing in a bunch of high school players.

Norvell will have to hit the transfer portal hard to find some stop-gaps, particularly on the offensive line as the younger players continue to develop under their fourth offensive line coach in four years in 2020.

Culture

The biggest step forward that Florida State made under Willie Taggart was with the culture of the program.

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It had deteriorated to the point that it was tearing the program apart in the final years of the Jimbo Fisher era. Taggart started the process to get its culture back on track.

It will be up to Norvell to complete that process, which still has a long way to go.

Norvell is big on the perception of the program he runs. He's a no-nonsense coach that believes the players should be representing their program well at all times.

He places an emphasis on the academic side of things, which will only reinforce what Taggart started.

FSU's team still has a bit of a rift between the younger players and the veterans.

Norvell will have to bridge that gap or make some tough decisions about who should be a part of the program in the future.

Reach Wayne McGahee III at wmcgahee@tallahassee.com.

This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Memphis coach Mike Norvell expected to be hired by Florida State

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