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Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Spring questions: Finding a new QB

By David M. Hale

Editor’s note: Each day until the start of spring practice, we’ll pose a question facing Florida State's football team as it moves toward the 2013 season. Today’s question: Will FSU have its new starting quarterback in time for the spring game?

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Jimbo Fisher previewed spring practice Monday by offering a well worn bit of coach speak, insisting every spot on the depth chart is an open competition. Of course, even if that were true, none would be quite as interesting as the battle for the starting quarterback job.

While Fisher might be liberally defining the competition at other spots on the roster, this one really is a wide open race, and picking the favorite is little more than conjecture until Clint Trickett, Jacob Coker, Jameis Winston and Sean Maguire get onto the field.

"I don't know what will pan out," Fisher said. "None of us do."

Clint Trickett
Clint Trickett comes into spring with an edge -- perhaps just a slight one -- to become Florida State's starting quarterback in the fall.
In fact, it's not just that Fisher doesn't know who will win the job -- he's not even sure when a winner might be determined.

As spring kicks off, Trickett will be the nominal No. 1 on the depth chart, but it's a tenuous hold. Coker has two years of experience in the system and, according to Fisher, he might have the biggest arm of the bunch. Then there's Winston, the uber-prospect who came to FSU a year ago as the top quarterback recruit in the country. He might be the most talented of the bunch, but he's yet to take a snap in a college game.

Fisher said he expects to rotate in all four quarterbacks with the first-team offense throughout the spring, and each player will get his chance to shine.

"We'll rotate it through, and everybody gets the same reps," he said.

Eventually, however, one of the quarterbacks needs to step to the forefront. At least, that's the assumption.

"It'll be settled when the time is right, and everyone will know," Fisher said. "I have no timetable on anything."

That might mean the competition lasts beyond spring practice and, perhaps, even into the season. That's not an ideal scenario, but Fisher said he's not ruling anything out.

"If you think it's something that benefits the team, that makes them score more points or win more games, then you're obviously open to it," Fisher said. "But I think it's harder because I think you have to identify roles clearly."

Ideally, however, the hoopla surrounding the most interesting battle on the depth chart will reach its crescendo far sooner than that. But whether Trickett's experience wins out or Winston lives up to the hype in time for the spring game, if Coker's arm wins the day or Maguire pulls a stunning upset, the possibilities right now really are wide open.

"It depends on them," Fisher said. "You can't try to force something to happen. You've got to let it play out, put the scenarios and situations in, and hope they're up to it."