Florida State's four-man quarterback battle has been one of the more well-publicized parts of team's Spring activities. After losing EJ Manuel to graduation (and the NFL), the team is looking for its next signal caller and every fan has a favorite.
Whether it's Clint Trickett, Jameis Winston, Jacob Coker or Sean Maguire, Seminoles fans are all hoping their next QB will be the next great one in Florida State history.
You'd think the competition could drive a wedge between the four, but they all maintain that couldn't be any less true.
“We’re all friends, everybody’s trying to help each other out," said Coker. "They’ll get down on themselves sometimes but you’ve just got to learn to keep yourself up. Because there is a lot of pressure going into it, you don’t want to let anybody down. You want to be the guy. One bad practice you start thinking about it all day and you’re ready to get out there again but you’ve just got to realize we’ve got practice again tomorrow and it’s a new day.”
All four have stated that they don't view themselves as much in competition with one another as in competition with the defense and coach Fisher. Whether it's in the film room or on the field.
“In a lot of ways it’s fun to have a quarterback competition," said QB coach Randy Sanders. "At the same time it’s kind fun to have the guy you know is going to be the starter so he can get most of the first group reps and you can start building some continuity. When I became the quarterback coach, the first thing my wife asked me was ‘Do they have a returning starter?'"
"It’s fun to watch them learn. I am excited about the abilities they do have. Who it is or when it happens, they will determine that. They’ll determine that by how they play. How productive they are. How well the team moves when they’re in there. How many points we score. When it happens, how it happens is up to them.”
So far it's been close, with Fisher refusing to give much insight into how things are playing out. But based on discussions with players and what has been on display, it's beginning to look as though some separation is beginning to form.
“You get the right ones – two of them or one of them that step up and become the guy, you’ve got to get there, but I think we are getting there," said Fisher after the Seminoles' most recent scrimmage.
"Now, you say that we feel comfortable putting guys in the game, if one guy gets hurt the other guy can go in and do the same thing. We’re getting much more comfortable that way.”
It looks as if Clint Trickett is still holding strong as the starter with Jameis Winston now pulling into second on the depth chart. Coker has been hurt, but Winston has begun to grab the attention of his teammates with his mobility and touch.
Clint Trickett is the safest bet because of his knowledge of the office. He's going to be efficient and make good decisions, but he's never going to to have the athleticism that Winston has, nor the high-end potential.
As Florida State heads into Saturday's Garnet and Gold game there will be a lot of factors for Jimbo Fisher to consider if he's deciding between the two.
Things like whether Trickett's consistency or Winston's potential for growth should be weighed with more importance, whether he has enough faith in the Jeremy Pruitt's new defense to put up with some freshman growing pains and how much leash he wants to give the starter with the other guy nipping at his heels.
By no means are Coker and Maguire out of the race, this is still a four-man competition. But so far through the Spring, Trickett and Winston seem to be laying the most claim to the starting job.
We won't know for a while though.
A lot could change on Saturday, but I still wouldn't expect a decision until August.
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