Florida State followers hoping to get some clarity on the quarterback battle early in camp...
Coach Jimbo Fisher continues to downplay the competition as the Seminoles hit the field Thursday for the first day of preseason camp.
Although most expect graduate transfer Everett Golson to emerge as the starter, the media guide lists Golson No. 3 on the depth chart behind redshirt junior Sean Maguire and redshirt freshman J.J. Cosentino.
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“Everybody will get the same amount of reps,” Fisher said before Thursday’s practice. “What we’re trying to do is get reps, teach, put guys in different positions to see what they can and cannot do, what they can and cannot learn.”
Maguire emerged from spring practice the likely successor to Jameis Winston, the former Heisman Trophy winner and No.1 overall NFL Draft pick. Maguire has one start to his credit, stepping in for Winston when he was suspended and leading the Seminoles to an overtime victory over Clemson last September.
He entered the year with more experience in Fisher’s system than any other quarterback.
But while Fisher continued to praise his progress, Maguire looked shaky in the spring game. Soon, Golson contacted the Seminoles, and a quarterback controversy was born.
Fisher said Thursday that Golson and Maguire “interacted very well with each other, helping each other, talking with each other,” during the summer.
“I’ve been pleased in meetings and [Thursday’s] walk-through,” he said.
Fisher met with his quarterbacks Thursday before they took the field. And although Fisher learned something about Golson while talking to him this summer, the real evaluating began Thursday.
“Knowing it in the classroom and on the board is different from when it starts flying,” Fisher said.
Golson threw for 5,850 yards, 41 touchdowns and 20 interceptions during his two seasons as a starter at Notre Dame and nearly lead the Irish to an upset of Florida State last October at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Fisher is prepared to run his offense however it fits the starting quarterback. Maguire is more of a pocket passer and, although Golson’s had success running the ball in Notre Dame’s power spread offense, he has a deceptively strong arm.
“We’ll wait and see,” Fisher said on the adjustments he’d have to make to his offense if Golson is the starter. “If he doesn’t know something I won’t do it. I called the game differently for [Christian] Ponder, for EJ [Manuel], for Jameis, for Drew Weatherford. You change constantly as a coach. You never do the same things. You have your base things … You have to do what your players do.”
The Seminoles had a spirited first practice, hitting the field late in the afternoon. Fisher brushed off any question about youth and inexperience despite saying this “probably” is the youngest group of offensive players he’s had at FSU with Golson being the lone senior among those competing for a starting job or in the rotation.
“The biggest concern is just making sure we have the right chemistry,” Fisher said. “Everybody talks about the leadership. I’m not worried. The cohesiveness of our unit is very good, but at the same time it’s one of the better things I feel comfortable about going into camp. Now, I hope it continues.”