Sean Maguire

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Jimbo Fisher: QB Sean Maguire could be 100% by June

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Florida State’s spring game will have to be played without an injured Sean Maguire available to play quarterback, but Jimbo Fisher appears to think there is a good chance his most experienced quarterback in 2016 will be ready to go all out later this summer.

He’s about 60 to 70 percent on conditioning and putting weight on it,” Fisher said, according to The Orlando Sentinel. Fisher told reporters Maguire will be at “full speed” by June, which should be plenty of time for him to get back his feet and legs as Florida State prepares to open the season in Orlando against Ole Miss from the SEC. Despite not being able to practice, Maguire has been taking on active role in the off-field routine this spring.

“He’s extremely involved,” Fisher said. “All of our meetings, our talking, our teachings. He’s been involved.”

Maguire has been out of action this spring as he recovers from a broken ankle that he suffered during Florida State’s Peach Bowl loss to Houston. His absence has allowed Fisher to give more reps to younger quarterback options hoping to make a case for consideration for a significant role in the fall, although Maguire could likely remain the most likely starter as soon as he returns to the practice field this summer.

Unproven FSU quarterbacks getting opportunity to prove value this spring

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Who will be Florida State’s starting quarterback in 2016? Your guess is as good as anyone’s at this point early in the spring practice schedule for Florida State. Head coach Jimbo Fisher is in no real rush to name a starter and says the competition early on is far too close to make such a decision.

“You’ve got to come back and do it in the fall, but [spring] gives you an evaluation of what a guy is capable of, why he plays, what he can and can’t do,” Fisher said (via The Orlando Sentinel). “His demeanor, how he responds in a team atmosphere, how he leans, how he plays [under] pressure. We put a lot of stuff on them.”

With Sean Maguire (perhaps the likely starter in the end) out for the spring with a broken ankle, the competing candidates for the job in Tallahassee include redshirt freshman Deondre Francois, Malik Henry and J.J. Cosentino. Maguire has prior starting experience, which figures to help his case when healthy, but Fisher has put everyone on high alert this spring. For now, don’t expect players to be choosing sides.

“They’re completing passes, they’re making the throws,” Florida State safety Derwin James said. “The best man is going to win. They all look good though, and I like all of them.”

Of course, there is no reason to rush any decision on such a key position. Fisher is stressing the importance of competition this spring, and now is as good a time as any to give these quarterbacks a chance to prove themselves while Maguire sits on the sideline rehabbing his ankle. Look for that to continue this spring and take center stage in the upcoming spring game in Orlando, and then carry over to the summer.

Everything looking peachy for Houston after dominant first half vs. FSU

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Nothing seemed to go right for Florida State in the first half of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta. Everything seemed to go righ for their opponents, AAC champion Houston. Houston has forced two turnovers and quarterback Greg Ward Jr. has rushed for two touchdowns to help Houston jump out to a 21-3 lead on the Seminoles after one half of play in the Peach Bowl.

The first quarter was a complete mess for Florida State. Run blocking for Dalvin Cook was non existent (10 carries, 11 rushing yards in first half). Kicker Roberto Aguayo missed a 52-yard field goal try. Starting quarterback Sean Maguire was lost (temporarily) to a leg injury, and with Everett Golson not with the team due to a death in the family, that left the Seminoles to go with J.J. Cosentino under center. Cosentino was not even listed on the depth chart for the game. Maguire went to the locker room but returned with his leg wrapped up.

Ward opened the scoring this afternoon with a seven-yard touchdown run at the end of an 11-play drive midway through the first quarter. Houston dug into the bag of tricks for its second touchdown midway through the second quarter when Demarcus Ayers took a handoff off a reverse and chucked it 20 yards to the end zone to a wide open Chance Allen.

Ward rushed for his second touchdown of the game shortly after that after Houston’s defense forced a fumble from Dalvin Cook at the Florida State 16-yard line.

Still one half to play, but Houston appears to have a solid upper hand in Atlanta.

Dalvin Cook, defense lead No. 13 Florida State to pounding of No. 12 Gators

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Keeping Florida State running back Dalvin Cook contained is no easy task, but Florida managed to do that for much of the night. But as many previous opponents can confirm, Cook is bound to make a spectacular play. He did just that with a run right up the middle of the defense and powered his way into the end zone in the fourth quarter of No. 13 Florida State’s (10-2) 27-2 victory over No. 12 Florida (10-2).

Cook scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns in the win, including one in the final minutes that served as the cherry on top of the sundae for the Seminoles. With 183 rushing yards, Cook ended his season with one last solid performance to merit discussion about a trip to New York City for the Heisman Trophy, although this one got off to a slow start by comparison as Florida’s defense was as good as it could be for a while. Florida State’s defense was also clicking on all cylinders in this one, holding the Gators to just 262 yards of offense. As Florida prepares to play for the SEC championship next week against Alabama, after this performance against the Seminoles and last week’s effort against FAU, there should be some serious concerns about Florida’s ability to do anything on offense that will challenge Alabama.

To be fair, Florida’s defense really was pretty good, although the final score may not suggest so. Cook’s two fourth quarter touchdowns turned a defensive battle into a bit more of a blowout than it really was for the majority of the night. Florida held Florida State to just two third-down conversions out of 13 and 304 yards of offense.

The win for the Seminoles clinched a fourth straight season with double-digit victories. Florida State may not be playing for an ACC title (Clemson will be facing North Carolina next week in Charlotte), but Florida State has not had four straight 10-win seasons since the height of the Bobby Bowden era from 1987 through 2000. Under Jimbo Fisher, Florida State has won at least 10 games in all but one season (2011). With that kind of track record it is easy to see why LSU, hypothetically, would be interested in Fisher as a possible successor to Les Miles, but Fisher says he is not leaving Tallahassee.

Florida State looked to be on track to pitch its first shutout of the Gators in the history of the series, but all of that changed in spectacular fashion. Sean Maguire had a ball knocked out of his hand as he was attempting to pass by Cece Jefferson. The ball wiggled loose and was not easy for anyone to pounce on. After a mad scramble for the ball 25 yards back from the line of scrimmage, it was Maguire who finally landed on it in the endzone for a safety, giving Florida two points. Florida looked to have a great return by Valdez Showers on the free kick return, but an illegal block in the back took the ball all the way back to Florida’s 14-yard line.

Florida State has now won three in a row against the Gators for the first time since stringing together three straight wins from 1998 through 2000. The win also marks Florida State’s third straight win in The Swamp, the first time Florida State has done that in the history of the rivalry.

Defense the story of the half for Seminoles and Gators

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No. 12 Florida is already locked into playing for the SEC championship next week, but any thought of potentially playing in the College Football Playoff could be in some serious danger at home. At halftime in Gainesville, the Gators are trailing rival No. 13 Florida State 10-0 and struggling to keep drives alive.

Both teams have played well on defense, as demonstrated by the combined third-down conversion success between the two offenses. Florida has converted just three of 10 third-down attempts, while Florida State has gone without a third-down conversion despite having seven tries. The Seminoles did convert a fourth down play, and it was a big one.

Sean Maguire had one of those “no, no, no, yes!” moments midway through the first quarter. On fourth and goal from the one-yard line, Maguire rolled right and looked for an open receiver. As he ran out of room on the right side of the field, he threw against his body to a covered Jeremy Kerr in the end zone and somehow managed to thread a needle for a touchdown. The score lifted the Seminoles to a 10-0 lead.

Florida  was dealt a scare in the final minutes of the half. Running back Kelvin Taylor needed to be helped off the field after appearing to injure his left ankle. He returned after missing just a couple of plays for the Gators.