March 20, 2013

Spring Storylines: No. 1 Quarterback competition

Spring Practice Hot Topics

No. 1 - Quarterback Competition

Hot topic overview: With the graduation of EJ Manuel, the quarterback competition is the storyline of the spring. Clint Trickett enters as the starter, but will have to hold off Jacob Coker and former five-star Jameis Winston.

Why this is a hot topic

For the first time since 2008 Florida State opens up spring practice with a true quarterback controversy. Trickett, a redshirt junior, has a leg up on the competition going into the spring due to his experience. The former North Florida Christian star played in eight games in 2012, completing 22 of 34 pass attempts for 272 yards.

In 2011 he played in nine games, including a pair a of starts for the injured Manuel. He completed 44 of his 72 pass attempts for 675 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions. Not only has Trickett played the most out of the potential signal callers, this is also his fourth spring at FSU after enrolling early in January of 2010.

Player to Watch
Jameis Winston
Stats: Jameis Winston has yet to play in a game for Florida State, but as a five-star prospect he gained plenty of attention leading up to his commitment.

Looking ahead: Winston has the physical tools to push for the staring job despite his lack of experience.

Trickett enters the spring as the starter, but will have to hold off a pair of talented young QBs in Coker and Winston, as well as redshirt freshman Sean Maguire.

Coker, a redshirt sophomore, saw his first action this fall. The Mobile, Ala. native played in four games in 2012, completing 3 of 5 pass attempts for 45 yards and a touchdown. At 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds, Coker has the measureables that make him an attractive option at QB.

The wildcard could be the ultra-talented redshirt freshman, Winston. Despite not playing a single snap all fall as he redshirted, Wisnton is expected to push Trickett and Coker for the starting job. At 6-foot-4 and 218 pounds Winston is an athletic freak, who also switch-hits, plays outfield and pitches for the baseball team. He was ranked the No. 1 quarterback for the class of 2012, which has fans overly eager to get a glimpse of him on the gridiron.

What to watch for this spring

Head coach Jimbo Fisher said on Monday he doesn’t have a timetable for when he’ll name a starting QB. Expect him to spend the spring shuffling the four signal callers around from the first-team offense to the fourth-string squad to see how they, as well as others around him, perform.

Trickett will need to show that he has full command of the team and can be versatile in the pocket despite his 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame. His knowledge of the playbook will give him a leg up, but with a new right tackle he’ll have to show he has an ability to improvise under duress as well.

For the Coker the spring will be about showing that after two full seasons he has grasp on Fisher’s offense. He’s got a strong arm, and ran a wing-T offense in high school until his senior season, so the tools are there. It will just be a matter of making the correct calls and check-downs to give Fisher faith in him.

Like Coker, Winston’s spring will be all about showing growth with the playbook. Unlike the other two QBs Winston hasn’t had the chance to throw a pass on a Saturday yet, but if he can show a significant jump from the fall to the end of the spring with the offense, his natural talent will certainly get him a shot.

Maguire in all likelihood will be the odd-man out in the race, but he’s a solid QB in his own right. At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds the New Jersey native impressed during the fall with his arm strength and work ethic.

Looking ahead to this fall

The quarterback competition will likely carry over from the spring game into two-a-days in August. If Trickett can hold off the younger QBs into the fall it could be a good sign for him that he’ll be the starter on Labor Day weekend in Pittsburgh.

Winston and Coker will have to hope that they show enough growth in the spring that Fischer continues to ponder who his signal caller will be throughout the summer.

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