No. 17 Florida State will go into this week’s preparations for third-ranked Clemson with the quarterback position unsettled.
Does Everett Golson return after missing last Saturday’s game due to a concussion or does coach Jimbo Fisher decide that the offense runs more smoothly with Sean Maguire at the controls?
Maguire gave Fisher plenty to consider after throwing for 348 yards and three touchdowns in the Seminoles’ 45-21 win over Syracuse.
“Sean is one talented quarterback. I feel like he’s one of the best in the nation so he definitely had a chip on his shoulder,” said wide receiver Travis Rudolph, who had five catches for 191 yards and three touchdowns.
Fisher said after the game that he is always reevaluating things and that the best player will start.
“We have two guys that can play and win games. Everett’s health, we’ll see where things are,” Fisher said.
Golson was limited last week after he took a couple hard hits in Florida State’s 22-16 loss at Georgia Tech on Oct. 17. Maguire was seen taking most of the snaps with the first team offense during the opening part of Thursday’s practice.
After practice, Fisher said Golson was good to go and didn’t list him on the injury report. It wasn’t until after the game that Fisher revealed Golson was in the concussion protocol last week. Fisher added that Golson passed an impact test but still had some symptoms during a Friday workout.
Syracuse coach Scott Shafer said that his staff had not prepared for Maguire because there wasn’t enough film on him. Clemson, though, is very familiar with Maguire.
The junior’s first career start came in last season’s game against the Tigers after Jameis Winston was suspended for making an inappropriate remark on campus. Maguire was 21 of 39 for 304 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions as the Seminoles rallied for a 23-17 win in overtime.
After Winston left early for the NFL Draft, Maguire was in line to take over but struggled in the spring game. That opened the door for Golson to come in as a graduate transfer from Notre Dame.
The preseason competition went on until five days before the season opened when Fisher announced Golson won the job. Golson threw for four touchdowns and 302 yards in the opener against Texas State but has been inconsistent since.
Golson has completed 67.1 percent of his passes for 1,659 yards, 11 touchdowns and an interception but has only 11 completions of 25-plus yards which is not the trademark of a Fisher offense. Maguire had three against Syracuse and had a nice touch on the deep ball.
Maguire completed his first nine passes and had 302 yards at halftime, becoming the first Florida State quarterback since Chris Weinke in 2000 to have 300 yards in the first half.
“I was thinking this offense needed to get back to the way Florida State used to play,” said Maguire of the vertical game. “The line and receivers did a great job today and dug deep. It was a good day for everyone to play good football.”
Florida State (7-1, 4-1 ACC) tied a season high for points and had its second-highest offensive yardage total this year despite missing Golson and running back Dalvin Cook. Jacques Patrick had 24 carries for 162 yards and three touchdowns. Fisher was hopeful that Cook could return this week from an ankle injury that occurred against Georgia Tech.
When asked if he thought he would start against Clemson, Maguire said it was up to Fisher
“That’s coach Fisher’s problem. I can only cause him problems, I guess,” Maguire said.