Marvin Wilson calling out Mike Norvell shows college football is in a new era

Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, Pete Thamel and SI’s Pat Forde discuss the Seminoles head coach’s claim that he spoke with every player about recent social events in the country — which Wilson quickly corrected on Twitter. Subscribe to the Yahoo Sports College Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Video Transcript

DAN WETZEL: Florida State, Florida State Coach Mike Norvel, new coach. He came from Memphis, did a great job up there, took over the Seminoles this off season. He put out a statement to the athletic on Tuesday afternoon that suggested-- "we've had a lot of open communication with our team, our players, and our coaches. I went back and forth individually with every player this weekend. That was something that was important to me, because this is a heartbreaking time in our country."

After that statement is put out about what Florida State's coaching staff did to discuss with players concerns, I don't know. Whatever it was, Marvin Wilson, who's the star defensive tackle for the Seminoles, might be their best player, tweets out "this [BLEEP] did not happen" as a emoji for the bleeped word there. "We got a generated text that was sent to everybody. There was no one on one talks between us and coach. This is a lie, and me and my teammates as a whole are outraged. And we will not be working out until further notice."

To me, this is a sign of a new day, where you better come real and honest, or your players will call you out immediately and turn a small thing into a very big thing. What do you guys think? Pete, I'll start with you.

PETE THAMEL: Yeah, well, I think Mike Norvel screwed up here. He's obviously in his first year at Florida State. And I think, if you look at what happened, it was likely his intention to do these things. And he stated them as fact, and that was wrong. And that's very clear.

And I do think-- we talked about this on the pod a couple of weeks ago. --that we're entering an era of player empowerment in college football. We talked about it through the prism of, you know, should be players "strike?" Should they be sitting out? Is this a time where their voice can be heard? There is never a better time, and we, obviously, had that discussion through the prism of the players are back and the students aren't.

What does that say? And their leverage is high, so good for Marvin Wilson. I mean, he saw a pile of poop emoji, as he said, and he called it right out. His teammates backed him, and I think the dynamic here does underscore the problem for a first year coach, who doesn't know these players that well. Mike Norvell doesn't know Marvin Wilson. He didn't recruit him.

He's never been to his house. He likely has not met his family, and he's likely only spent a couple of weeks around him. And Mike Norvell's an offensive coach. He's obviously a star defensive player, like the relationship and the trust isn't there. So when Marvin Wilson saw this and called him out, he had the right to do so.

PAT FORDE: Hey, power to the players is here, you know? And if you have the pulpit the way they have it right now, and you see a coach or hear a coach lying, call it out. And Marvin Wilson did, and it's a really, really bad start for Mike Norvel in the new job, really bad.

You know, maybe they did get him that meeting today and smooth it over. And they're going to be OK. But I mean, if it's possible to lose the locker room before you even really start in the locker room, he might have done it. That's pretty amazing.

PETE THAMEL: He lost the empty locker room to the new COVID world.

PAT FORDE: Yeah, exactly, but that's the thing. Dan, you mentioned right off the top of this is that fakes and phonies are in difficult territory right now. You can not kind of pretend to be a guy who was in touch with your team or cares about your team and not really be in touch with your team or care about your team.

Because players, we've heard coaches say it a million times. They can spot a phony. They can spot a fake, and they're more willing than ever to say it, I think, you know? It's just interesting. I mean, I've covered a million coaches.

You guys have, too, where they will say things that are obvious either hyperbole or outright dissembling. And the players would be like, oh man, did coach say that? That's crazy, but you know, they would never call it out before. And now, you've got the voice, so you're hearing people call it out.

DAN WETZEL: Honestly, I was spending the morning dealing with Drew Brees, and the reaction to that. And it goes along the same line.


DAN WETZEL: He comes out and makes a statement in 2020 about national anthem protests, which was the exact same statement he made in 2016. But this time, he gets blown up by his own teammates. So again, it's a different world.