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Would FSU, Golson be answer to each other's problems?

5/12/2015


So Everett Golson was at Florida State on Monday, Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said during the ACC spring meetings, a visit that must have been very quick and very discreet, considering Fisher was three hours away from Tallahassee, Florida, in Amelia Island by early afternoon.

"We're negotiating, we're talking right now," Fisher said Tuesday. "He's a great young man."

The word choice will raise a few eyebrows, given the lack of a salary in college sports, especially in light of recent NCAA litigation. It is, however, wholly appropriate in this circumstance, one of the more unique transfer cases of its kind.

From the moment news of Golson's departure from Notre Dame broke Thursday, all indications pointed to one likely destination: Florida State. The Noles said goodbye to a quarterback who was just drafted first overall, they exited spring with a decent-but-not-great situation under center and, perhaps most of all, they are not in the SEC, which has a number of hurdles Golson needs to cross to be eligible to play for one of the league's teams this fall. (He visited Florida on Tuesday and, a source tells colleague Tom VanHaaren, is Georgia-bound for a Wednesday visit.)

The question, of course, was whether the interest with FSU was mutual.

On Tuesday, Fisher confirmed that it is. Sort of.

Golson exited Notre Dame while in the middle of a position battle with Malik Zaire. If Golson had stayed with the Fighting Irish, it stood to reason that, given the track records of both he and coach Brian Kelly, Golson would have, at the very least, played a decent amount of football this season, whether that be in a starting capacity or not. His displeasure appeared to stem more from the fact he was entering his fifth and final year of eligibility having to re-win his starting job for a third different time.

If he was not a fan of Kelly's coaching style, he could be in for a bit of an awakening if he ends up in the hands of Fisher, who is widely regarded to be among the most demanding QB coaches out there. And with good reason: Fisher has produced three first-round NFL QBs over a five-year span, the first time that has happened since the common draft era began in 1967.

That is not to suggest Golson cannot take coaching. It's just to say that a marriage with Fisher would go against that of the typical fifth-year transfer partnership, especially at that position.

"People ask me all the time, 'Why do you coach them so hard?'" Fisher said in colleague Andrea Adelson's story last month on the coach's success with the position. "If they can't handle me, how are they going to handle 90,000 people when it goes bad and they start booing?"

The results under Fisher speak for themselves. But they did not happen overnight.

That is what Golson may be tasked with if he ends up going to FSU, having to absorb a new playbook, adjust to a new coaching staff and earn the trust of his teammates in a matter of two or three months, having missed out on the luxury of spring practice. Sean Maguire, the primary man Golson would have to challenge for the starting job, is entering his fourth year under Fisher. And he has a prime-time victory over perennial ACC contender Clemson to his name.

Fisher said he isn't worried about potential chemistry issues should he welcome Golson in, according to colleague Brett McMurphy. But Fisher will not promise Golson, or anyone, the starting job.

"You be honest and up front with everybody," Fisher said. "You have to communicate with everyone. We'll do what we think is best, we have to do what is best for the team to be successful."

That is Fisher and FSU's prerogative. It is unclear what Golson is looking for from his side, though his admirable performance last October -- coming oh-so close to winning at Doak Campbell Stadium and snapping FSU's then-22-game winning streak -- surely resonates locally.

"I'm not making a decision [he is]," Fisher said. "Then we'll talk and go through it. He's a great young man and I really enjoyed meeting him."

As Adelson noted in her piece last month, players signing with FSU know how they will be coached, and they know there's a chance they will land in the NFL.

Is that -- and not the promise of playing time -- enough to ultimately sway the most accomplished free agent on the college football market?