Sunday was a bit of a busy day for us at FootballScoop dot com, so I didn’t get to see all of Mike Norvell’s press conference at Florida State. But what I did see, I liked.
Wearing a fabulous garnet and gold striped tie, Norvell talked fast, with passion and conviction — especially about special teams. The 38-year-old has never been a special teams coordinator a day in his life, but I loved what he had to say about special teams here.
“People can talk about offense and defense, but if you want to see a team that has tremendous culture, tremendous passion, tremendous belief in each other, watch them on special teams,” he said.
“I remember when I took the job (at Memphis), it had been 20 years since there had been a kickoff returned for a touchdown. I stood in front of that team and the first thing I told them, ‘I don’t know what we’re going to do on O, I don’t know what we’re going to do on D, but I guarantee we’re going to take a kick back to the house,'” he continued.
“Four years later we’re the No. 1 team in the country with 11 kickoff returns for touchdowns because of buy-in, because of culture, because of toughness. Young men willing to give of themselves for the betterment of the team. That’s what we’re going to stand for.”
Memphis was a fixture at the top of the kickoff return charts during Norvell’s four years at the helm. The Tigers tied for first nationally with three kick return scores in 2016, took back four in 2017 (t-1st), only one in 2018 and then housed three this year (2nd). Memphis’ 26.5-yard return average is tied for sixth this season.
How many kick return scores did Memphis allow during Norvell’s 53 games, you ask?