Florida State breathed a collective sigh of relief on Friday as EJ Manuel was back out at practice. A day after the fifth year senior was held out of the team's first scrimmage after rolling an ankle, Manuel was back with his teammates ready to go this afternoon.
For the Seminoles to accomplish their lofty goals this season they'll need a healthy Manuel. Clint Trickett was excellent last season as a redshirt freshman, passing for 675 yard, 7 TD's and 4 INT's, but he lost both of his starts in Manuel's absence. Manuel went down in the loss to Oklahoma, and his shoulder injury kept him out at Clemson and for the first half at Wake Forest, which resulted in a three-game losing streak that more or less tanked the 2011 season.
For now Manuel looks healthy, but let's take a look at the backups in the meantime. It's been since 2003 that the Seminole starter made it through a whole season.
Clint Trickett (Redshirt Sophomore)- Trickett is bulked up a little bit and he is stronger. He told us he has made a couple of cross-field throws that have really impressed even him and now when he lifts, it's no longer with the kickers. That was a knock on Trickett last season, he had a disorder that made it difficult for him to gain weight and put on muscle. That behind him, Trickett seems comfortably seated as the team's number two and if pressed into action, his experience last season should be an asset.
Jacob Coker (Redshirt Freshman)- A big, athletically gifted quarterback from Texas, Coker has a higher athletic ceiling than Trickett and it's likely him and Jameis Winston will duke it out to be the Seminole starter down the road. For now Coker is seated third, pushing Trickett for the backup job and gaining an even better grasp of the Florida State offense.
Jameis Winston (Freshman)- Winston was a highly touted recruit out of Alabama who chose football at Florida State over Alabama and a shot in the major league. So far at camp the freshman has shown impressive athleticism but as a newcomer in a complicated system he's still a ways from being where Jimbo Fisher and staff would ideally like him. Winston is very likely to redshirt this season and come back stronger in Spring looking to compete.
Of course there are other quarterbacks, namely Sean Maguire, but Trickett and Coker are the two who the team will look to in the event Manuel sustains any kind of injury.
For now, Manuel seems to be back on his feet and looking healthy, but if a repeat of 2011 occurs and Manuel finds himself unable to go for some reason or another, they do at least have some experience behind him.
Beyond that, there were a couple of other banged up Seminoles at Friday's practice but Jimbo Fisher wasn't available so there won't be an update on either until tomorrow.
Check back then.