TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher named redshirt freshman Jameis Winston the starting quarterback on Friday, as the Seminoles began preparation for the season-opener at Pittsburgh on Sept. 2 at Heinz Field.
Winston will become the first FSU freshman signal caller to start a season-opener since Drew Weatherford in 2005.
Winston and redshirt sophomore Jacob Coker split reps evenly during camp in a close competition that was so even Fisher described his decision as “splitting hairs” and said he would have been comfortable with either quarterback starting for the ‘Noles.
The Seminoles will continue its focus on the Panthers when they wrap up preseason camp on Saturday with a morning practice. Florida State will be looking to pick up a season-opening road victory for the first time since winning at Miami 13-10 to start the 2006 campaign.
Head Coach Jimbo Fisher
“It was a pretty hard day. I liked the energy level. We got our first preparation in for (Pittsburgh)…got a lot of scout work in. We didn’t bang ‘em today. We wanted to give them two days off from bangin.’ We’ll put the pads back on tomorrow – at least be in shells and bang around. We got a lot of work in for Pitt – a lot of preparation…all the different scenarios. It was a good hard practice. We got a good sweat going after the day off yesterday. I liked the attitude and I liked the demeanor. They were into practice. They executed very well for the first day of putting in the game plan. We did a lot of the base things, so we will really define as we move into next week.
On naming redshirt freshman Jameis Winston the starting quarterback:
“It was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to go through. I say this – this is not ‘Coach Talk.’ This is not anything else. We truly have two very good quarterbacks and guys I feel very comfortable with either one of them in the game starting…making plays. It’s going to take both guys for us to have the season we (want to) have. We named the starter. It will be Jameis (Winston). Jameis will be the starter. We are very comfortable about that. But (we are) also very comfortable with Jake’s (Coker) performance, too. Like I said, it was a tough decision. And that doesn’t take away from what Jameis did. I thought his consistency levels and the things he did…he played extremely well. But Jake did too. I thought they both made plays. I thought they raised each other’s performance every day. They just kept pushing each other. And they did it in a great way…and a constructive way for the team. And I think the team responded that way to it. It made us better as a football team. I think he has done a very good job – Jameis will be the starter at Pitt.”
On what Winston did to separate himself:
“Just a little more consistency…for a longer period of time. Like I said, Jake is ready to play, too. Jameis, I thought, as we talked about it as a staff, did some different things. Both of them really started to take command of things as camp wore on. I thought Jameis did a little better job in the beginning. You’re splitting hairs when you really get down to it. That’s not ‘Coach Talk’ or anything else. That’s the truth. That was a great competition and I loved the way they handled it between each other, and how the team handled it.”
On using both quarterbacks in the same game:
“There’s a chance. If it’s conducive to winning and what we think we have to do, we’ll do that. I would feel very comfortable doing that.”
On how Coker took the news:
“He is ready to play. He said I’m going to keep competing; I’m ready to play, I’m going to be ready for my opportunity – whatever role you have for me in the game plan each week and be ready to take over when it goes. That did not surprise me one bit. He’s an outstanding young man. He really is. Both of them are. It’s a great choice, but it’s a very tough choice. He handled it very well.”
Source: Florida State Media