Position Preview: Quarterbacks
Key Player Lost: Jacob Coker
Key Newcomer: J.J. Cosentino
Biggest question entering 2014: Who will be the backup quarterback?
Last summer the headlines out of Tallahassee were dominated by the ongoing quarterback battle. Jump forward a year and there is no question who will be under center week one. Jameis Winston is the defending Heisman trophy winner and led Florida State to a national championship in his first season as a starter. It is not quite as clear who will be the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart though. Jacob Coker served as Winston’s backup for most of the 2013 season, but he will be spending his summer competing for the starting job at Alabama.
Redshirt sophomore Sean Maguire is the only quarterback other than Winston with game experience. Maguire started 2013 as the third-string quarterback, but he moved to No.2 on the depth chart after Coker suffered a season ending injury against Wake Forest. Maguire completed 61.9 percent of his passes last season for 116 yards and two touchdowns. He spent the spring working as the No. 2 quarterback, but he failed to win over coaches with his performance.
Maguire is still the favorite to win the backup job, but he will face some stiff competition during fall camp. Maguire’s main challenger for the job looks to be incoming freshman J.J. Cosentino. A 4-star recruit out of Pittsburgh Cosentino was one of the top pro-style quarterbacks in the nation according to Rivals.com. Maguire’s biggest advantage over Cosentino will be his knowledge of the play book. Maguire is entering his third season in Jimbo Fisher’s system while Cosentino has only been on campus a couple of months.
Florida State will enter 2014 with one of the top players in the nation running the offense. Quarterback Jameis Winston took the nation by storm during the 2013 season becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman trophy and a national championship in the same season. With Winston at the helm Florida State set multiple ACC records including points per game (51.6) and yards per play (7.67). The Seminoles also set a national record for points in a season with 723.
Winston is an immensely talented quarterback who can make any throw on the field. He has the arm strength and accuracy to attack the defense down field. He also has the touch and timing needed to fit the ball in tight widows and place the ball where only his receivers can get it. Winston ability is not limited to physical gifts though. He excels at the mental side of the game and his ability to read defenses and go through multiple reads are two of the main reasons media pundits list him as a top NFL prospect.
Quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders and head coach Jimbo Fisher-a quarterback guru in his own right- have spent the off-season tweaking Winston’s mechanics and the changes should help him be even better in 2014. Along with a few mechanics issues Winston also needs to work on checking down to the running back instead of forcing the deep throw. With the changes and the talent around him, Winston should be a main contender for the Heisman once again.
As detailed above redshirt sophomore Sean Maguire and freshman J.J. Cosentino are expected to spend the summer battling for the No. 2 job behind Winston. The odd man out looks to be redshirt freshman John Franklin III. Franklin is a very athletic player and it is expected that he will eventually make a position change.
By: Brandon O’Connor