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Monday, November 11, 2013
Injury hurts Seminoles' QB depth

By David M. Hale

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State is a 38-point favorite this week against Syracuse, but if another blowout win is in the future for the Seminoles, Jacob Coker won't be taking the second-half snaps.

Florida State’s backup quarterback suffered a meniscus injury in his knee during last week’s 59-3 win over Wake Forest, and he’s scheduled for surgery Tuesday, Jimbo Fisher announced. A timetable for his return won’t be decided until after the procedure.

The injury doesn’t figure to be a huge blow to the Seminoles, who have a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback in Jameis Winston. But FSU has won a majority of its games by such a wide margin that Coker has seen plenty of work this season. In two of FSU’s last three victories, Winston has played just one series in the second half, and Coker has actually thrown one more fourth-quarter pass than Winston this year.

Coker couldn’t wrestle the starting job from Winston this spring, though he’s widely considered an NFL prospect by evaluators. With Coker sidelined, there’s little experience behind Winston. New No. 2 Sean Maguire has thrown just two passes in his career.

Assuming Winston stays healthy, however, Coker’s absence could give Maguire valuable playing time in low-pressure situations. Keeping Winston upright remains Florida State’s biggest worry. He suffered a minor knee injury against Wake Forest on a hit by Nikita Whitlock that Fisher deemed “clean” Monday. Although Winston was limping after the play, he wasn’t immediately pulled from the game, and Fisher said Monday that there were no lingering effects from the hit.

In other injury news, FSU safety Terrence Brooks and receiver Kelvin Benjamin (concussions) are set to return to full practice Monday. Center Bryan Stork, who missed Saturday’s game with an ankle injury, will be brought along more slowly. The senior was a game-time decision against Wake Forest, but Fisher said Stork experienced soreness in his Achilles and the team doesn't wish to risk a more severe injury.