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Rain spoils Florida State football youth clinic as Mike Norvell looks to future

Seminoles seek to connect with community while traversing state
Posted at 6:49 AM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 06:49:34-04

PALM SPRINGS, Fla. — Mike Norvell never really had a spring to get acclimated to his new job.

The Florida State head football coach had only been in the role about three months when the coronavirus pandemic abruptly ended his first spring camp at the helm of the Seminoles.

Thursday evening's first stop of Florida State's traveling youth football clinic was supposed to be his pseudo-introduction to aspiring Seminoles in South Florida. Instead, it'll have to wait another year.

Inclement weather forced the cancellation of the inaugural stop at the Village of Palm Springs Park. It was scheduled to be the first of 12 youth clinic appearances throughout Florida.

But the soggy conditions didn't dampen the spirits of Norvell and his coaching staff, who made the trek from Tallahassee.

"This is a great opportunity to see what Florida State's all about and, you know, hopefully get a little early insight to some of our future 'Noles," Norvell told ESPN 106.3 FM prior to the scheduled start of the event.

Despite the rainout, plenty of youth football players and their mostly partisan families made their way to Palm Springs to score a sneak peek at the relatively new coaching staff, shaking hands and posing for pictures with Norvell.

"Today's about giving back," Norvell said. "It is a true service for our football program, for our university, and we're grateful for our whole state, but especially these counties that we're able to get into and just, you know, have a little bit of fun and, you know, with all the challenges that have presented themselves throughout the course of the day, today we get to forget about that just a little bit and come out and play football and just enjoy each other."

Mike Norvell comes to Palm Beach County

For Norvell and his coaches, that also means forgetting about last season. The Seminoles won just three games in 2020, their fewest wins since 1975.

But FSU's nomadic coaching staff had the support of several past and present Palm Beach County players, including quarterback Jordan Travis, who started six games for the Seminoles last year.

"It's a great benefit, because those were the stars of yesterday here in the towns, in the counties, and now they get to see those guys going and having success at Florida State," Norvell said. "And, you know, these kids, they're fans of those players, and so, you know, they aspire to one day, hopefully, get to live out that same type of story."

The first year of the Norvell era was rather forgettable, beset by players publicly questioning the program, shuffled schedules, COVID-19 cancellations and poor on-field play. Norvell even missed what would have been his South Florida debut last September after testing positive for COVID-19 in the days before the Miami game at Hard Rock Stadium.

But with a full spring camp now under his belt, Norvell is more hopeful for the future.

"It was great," Norvell said. "You never realize how much you miss spring until you don't get it."

As for the youth clinics, Norvell called it a "unique way to be able to get across the state" and "a great investment for the future," particularly in Palm Beach County.

"If we are able to create a couple more Seminole fans down here in Palm Beach County, it's going to be a great day," Norvell said.

Even though Palm Beach County's affair was called off, Norvell isn't done in South Florida. His next stops are Friday in Lauderhill and Saturday in Miami.

The free clinics are open to students from second through eighth grade. Because of NCAA rules, high school students are not eligible.