ORLANDO – With the focus surely to be on the quarterbacks during Saturday’s spring game at the Citrus Bowl, one quarterback who has stepped out of the spotlight this spring is the one who may determine how far Florida State goes in 2016.
Incumbent Sean Maguire has watched his understudies perform for the last three weeks as he recovers from surgery to repair a broken bone in his left ankle. Though Maguire, who will be a senior in the fall, has not been out there competing with rising redshirt freshman Deondre Francois, redshirt sophomore JJ Cosentino and early enrollee Malik Henry, he has been involved in everything else the quarterbacks have been doing.
“Extremely involved,” coach Jimbo Fisher said Wednesday. “All of our meetings, all of our talkings, everything. He’s been extremely involved.”
Fisher said Maguire is “60, 70 percent with the conditioning” drills and putting weight on his ankle. He said “hopefully” he’s be full speed by June.
Maguire fractured his ankle early in the Seminoles’ 38-24 loss to Houston in the Peach Bowl. He returned late in the second quarter and played the rest of the game.
Francois was expected to emerge from the spring as the biggest challenger to Maguire in preseason camp and nothing that has happened as changed that.
But Fisher said he will learn a lot about his young, inexperienced quarterbacks when they step on the Citrus Bowl field with more than 35,000 fans in the stands.
“That’s why I like the big crowd,” Fisher said. “It’s the one time you get to see these guys walk out there and all of a sudden it’s not a practice field and the stands are full. It’s just another time to put them in an atmosphere and an environment they’re going to have to get used to because we’re always going to play in front of big crowds. I’d rather have that big crowd this week, (they can say) ‘I’ve walked out in front of that many people before.’
“Even though it’s a spring game it tells you a little something about how those guys handle that situation because the more often you’re in it the better you’re going to handle it.”