Fisher will rotate QBs early in Florida State spring drills
TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher was eager to see all the position battles when the Seminoles began spring practice on Wednesday. Most of focus, though, was honed in on his quarterbacks.
With Sean Maguire not participating due to offseason ankle surgery, the door is open for J.J. Cosentino, Deondre Francois and Malik Henry to make impressions on the coaching staff. Maguire, who suffered in the injury in the Peach Bowl loss to Houston on Dec. 31, is expected to be ready for the start of preseason drills in August.
Fisher said during the first couple days of practice all three would get equal snaps with the first- and second-teams before reassessing setting the order after that.
During Wednesday's practice, Cosentino was first to work with the first team, followed by Francois and Henry. That is not a surprise since Cosentino has the most playing experience of the three. The sophomore played in three games last season, including a couple series in the Peach Bowl when Maguire was injured.
Still, Francois and Henry will draw the most interest.
Francois ran the scout team last year and drew plenty of plaudits from coaches and players for the way he handled the offense. His ability as a dual-threat quarterback running and passing also has drawn some comparisons to former FSU standout and 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.
Fisher said the biggest thing is he is looking for from Francois is consistency and taking advantage of the opportunities.
Henry will be a freshman in the fall but enrolled early so that he could take part in spring practices. There is a chance he will be redshirted and run the scout team like Francois did last year, but Fisher wants to see what he can do first.
Fisher said the main thing he is looking for from Henry is to "fit in, take care of the ball and show a presence and poise in the huddle."
The coach knows how Maguire fits in, but said having the quarterback miss snaps in the spring is tough because of how much progress Maguire has made in a year. Last spring Maguire came into drills as the favorite to replace Winston but struggled, which opened the door for Everett Golson play as a graduate transfer.
Golson had control of the position the first half of the season before being plagued with turnovers, which led to him leaving Notre Dame. That opened the door for Maguire, who started five of the last six.
"He was a leader for our team," Fisher said of Maguire, "so anytime he is not out there it's not good for him, and it's not good for us because the more reps the better he gets."
Some things to know about Florida State's spring practice:
FINISHING IN ORLANDO: Due to renovations at Doak Campbell Stadium, the Seminoles will hold their spring game at Orlando's Citrus Bowl Stadium on April 9. Besides it being an opportunity for them to play where they will open the season on Sept. 5 against Mississippi, Fisher said the experience should also give some of the younger players an opportunity to go through the preparation for a road game in a less-hectic situation.
POSITION CHANGES: Two defensive ends from last season have moved to offense. Ricky Leonard is at right tackle and Chris Casher is at tight end. Fisher said coaches have liked how Casher has adjusted to the position, particularly with route running.
INJURIES: Besides Maguire, nine other players are out. The biggest impact is on the offensive line as three starters — Ryan Hoefeld (shoulder), Derrick Kelly (knee) and Chad Mavety ("cardiac issue") — will not participate. Mavety's situation is the most undetermined of all as he continues to get more tests.