FSU soccer coach Mike Norville’s passion shows he knows what UF competition means

FSU soccer coach Mike Norville’s passion shows he knows what UF competition means


You shocked me early on during his press conference on Monday.

So much so that I had to double up and ask about her after a few minutes.

Mike Norville talked so passionately this week, about this game, about this rivalry, that I even wanted to know exactly why he’s so excited.

This might sound like a stupid sentence, so let me explain.

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Yes, it’s Florida-Florida Week. It’s a huge rivalry – one of the best and fiercest in the country. And yes, we understand that. But Mike Norville didn’t necessarily grow up with football in Florida. Not close and personal anyway.

I’ve been here less than two years. Came from Memphis. And before that, he was in the desert with Gila monsters.

Arizona-Arizona is not the same as Florida-Florida. Not even close.

So, I wondered where all this passion came from.

In this modern age of college football, when coaches – and now players – switch schools every two years, you wonder how much a game like this could mean for someone who hasn’t lived it, and hasn’t been born yet. They are indoctrinated in the hate that comes when Seminoles and Gators meet on a soccer field.

That’s why you get a lot of coaches who only talk about “faceless opponents”. The other side line doesn’t matter, it’s all about yourself and what you’re doing. They don’t want to fan the flames of rivalry because it’s just another game for them. They know it means a lot to the fans, sure, but many coaches these days feel like outsiders when it comes to the actual passion for competing.

They can feel like mercenaries are here to do something, get a check, and hopefully win some games and change some lives in the process. But for them, Florida is no different than Syracuse or North Carolina.

How thankful we should all be that Mike Norville is not one of those coaches.

He realizes, beyond a reasonable doubt, how important these games are.

He admitted earlier this week that when fall camp begins, there are two games he prepares for his players before first practice.

Miami and this one, Norville said.

As a side note, he has said “this,” “this game,” or “this opponent” several times this week when he talked about Saturday’s showdown. I didn’t check all the tapes, but as far as I can remember, the words “Florida” or “Gator’s” haven’t crept out of his mouth all week.

This is not an original idea of ​​course. There are plenty of examples of head coaches who never name their competitors: Legendary Ohio State coach Woody Hayes would never say “Michigan,” Urban Mayer would never say “Florida State,” and Jimbo Fisher would never say, “Hey, what’s up? Ira? Good to see you, man!”

Speaking of Fisher, though.

One of the things he did exceptionally well as a head coach at Florida State was beat his rivals. I’ve done it over and over again.

He lost to Florida once. In 2012.

He lost to Miami once. in 2017.

That’s it. All the rest were victories.

Fisher knew how important these competition games were because he somehow lived them. He was very close to the Bowden family as the Samford quarterback, played for Terry, and knew firsthand what it meant when the Seminoles beat the Gators.

He knew, before he trained again at FSU, what this rivalry was all about.

The new guy seems to be doing that, too. This is very convenient for us longtime college football fans.

With sports inches approaching every day in the NFL — with free agency (transfer gate) deals, astronomical coaching salaries and talk of a 12-team playoff — the only real difference left between the two sports might end up being the passion for these competitive games.

You can tell me the NFL has competitions too. But man, if you’re trying to convince me that Green Bay-Chicago or New Orleans-Atlanta is the same thing as Auburn-Alabama or FSU-Florida, I can promise you I don’t believe you. I will never believe you

One of the last strongholds of this sport that I loved so much since my childhood is the passion for this game. at the end of the year. After Thanksgiving.

The FSU-Florida game is a ritual, a game that will always mean something. Regardless of the records. It doesn’t matter if the championship is at stake or not.

This is not an anonymous opponent. It’s the Florida Gators. And Mike Norville certainly seems to realize how much this game means to all of us. On both sides of the competition.

So, with that in mind, let’s wrap this up with the answer he gave on Monday about what’s at stake on Saturday.

You may have already read it. You may have seen the video. But it’s worth one last look as we head to Florida – Florida.

“I know what this game means,” Norville said. “And if you don’t get up for this, go somewhere else. Go and do something else. Because it’s not yours.”

“But you watch history, you watch tradition, you know what it means to the university, you know what it means to the fan base. That’s why you play! That’s why you train!” [ready] for this moment. Everything we have done so far has set us back. Either we will take advantage of it. Or we won’t.”

Contact senior writer Corey Clark at [email protected] and follow Corey_Clark on Twitter.

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Talk about this story with other Florida football fans at the Tribal Council

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