Exiting spring practice, Sean Maguire was the odds-on favorite to replace Jameis Winston under center for Florida State in 2015. With the addition of Notre Dame transfer Everett Golson earlier this month, however, the Seminoles will find themselves with a somewhat unexpected quarterback competition when summer camp kicks off a couple of months down the road.
And, according to head coach Jimbo Fisher, he’s not going to allow that competition devolve into another “c” word.
“Controversy and competition is two different things. It’s competition,” Fisher told Ralph Russo of the Associated Press. “And players on the team, when a guy is a competitor and he does well — whether it’s Sean, it’s Everett, it’s De’Andre [Johnson], it’s J.J. [Consentino], it’s Deondre Francois — whoever is on our team, they’ll follow the guys who play the best, respond the best and lead them the best.”
Golson certainly has an edge over Maguire when it comes to the experience department, starting for the Irish for the better part of the 2012 and 2014 seasons, with an academic suspension sandwiched in between. Golson, though, struggled turning the ball over last season — while he threw for nearly 3,500 yards and accounted for a combined 37 touchdowns (29 passing, eight rushing),
Some have (wrongly) assumed that Golson will be handed the starting job. Fisher has stated that Golson was never promised the starting job during his recruitment. He also went out of his way to ensure Maguire that both he and the new addition to the roster will be given an equal shot at winning the job.
“I just wanted to be honest with him and explain to him my thought process as the head coach,” Fisher said. “I’m open with all of our players like that. There’s never going to be anything I’m doing behind your back.
“He took it very well. He asked, is it really an open competition? I said yes it is. He knows I’ve never lied to him or any of our players.”
The Seminoles will begin summer camp in early August. Fisher and his coaching staff will likely want to name Winston’s successor somewhere in the middle of that month, giving the starter 2-3 weeks of solo No. 1 work ahead of the Sept. 5 opener against Texas State.
Perhaps the best news for whoever wins the job? FSU opens the season with back-to-back home games against non-Power Five schools — USF to go along with TSU — before traveling to Chestnut Hill Sept. 18 to face Boston College (7-6 last season) in the ACC opener. There’s also a bye week and an Oct. 3 road trip to Wake Forest (3-9) before the first “real” test of the season: a home game against in-state rival Miami Oct. 10.