Jimbo Fisher took the shackles off Everett Golson in the second half Saturday night and the result was Winston-esque.
The man tabbed by Fisher to lead the Seminoles into the post-Jameis Winston era looked every bit as good as his predecessor in the Seminoles’ 59-16 blowout over Texas State at Doak Campbell Stadium.
The night started as the Dalvin Cook show with the sophomore running back surpassing the 100-yard mark midway through the second quarter.
But after a 63-minute lightning delay and a punt return team that was solely responsible for keeping the score respectable for 30 minutes, Golson was golden.
“He reminded me of Jameis,” receiver Jesus Wilson said.
The Notre Dame transfer even saved his best for the second half — a Winston trait last season — tossing all four of his touchdown passes on the first four series after halftime. He finished with 302 passing yards, 228 coming in the final 30 minutes.
Golson, who completed seven passes in the first half, finished 19 of 25.
And he was the big reason for Florida State scoring more points than it had in any game last season.
“I like what Everett did,” Fisher said. “Not just throwing the ball, but the way he managed the game, he got us in and out of the right plays, he got us in and out of the right checks.”
Fisher was especially pleased with Golson’s leadership and his understanding of the offense. The Seminoles’ first two touchdowns, both on Cook runs, came after Golson checked into the play.
“He got us out of bad looks,” Fisher said.
And although Fisher, who did not make his quarterback available to the media following the game, likes the way Golson ran the offense, he believes there is room for a lot of improvement as he continues to learn more of that offense.
“We got to process a little better,” Fisher said, adding that the lack of energy getting to the line of scrimmage was not just on Golson. “Young offensive linemen, young tight ends, they got to learn the urgency to get up there so we can do more at the line of scrimmage and get a faster tempo.”
But even while leaning on Cook early (he had 122 of his 156 yards and both of his touchdowns in the first half), Golson was a Mavin Saunders’ dropped pass and a batted ball at the line of scrimmage from completing all nine first-half passes.
“I know coach Jimbo wanted to get him settled in,” Cook said. “I knew it was going to take me and [Mario] Pender to get him settled in.”
That decision, though, had as much to do with the inexperienced players up front as it did Golson.
Fisher wanted his young offensive line and tight end to settle in before opening up the offense. The entire group, which includes three freshmen, two sophomores and one junior, had five starts to its credit entering the game, all by left tackle Rod Johnson.
“In the beginning, we had more jitters and had to shake them off,” said freshman tight end Ryan Izzo, who caught his first touchdown pass late in the third quarter. “In the second half, coach felt more comfortable to open up the playbook for us.”
In all, Golson spread the ball around to nine different receivers. His four scoring passes was something that Winston equaled just once during the 2014 season.
“He threw the ball really nice,” Fisher said. “It was crisp, sharp, the ball came out of his hand very well. He was precise in his decisions. He didn’t hesitate, he saw it and reacted.”