Sean Maguire has waited his time. He came to Florida State along with 5-star recruit Jameis Winston and sat on the bench as Winston went on to win the Heisman and a national championship for Florida State. He started against Clemson last year when Winston was famously suspended for cursing in the student union and led the Seminoles to an overtime victory. This year, Maguire was in line to start before Everett Golson transferred from Notre Dame and stole away the starting job due to his experience under center and Maguire’s poor performance in the spring game.
Now, however, Golson is injured and Maguire is the right quarterback to start against Clemson.
Why? Let’s examine this.
Despite all the talk about Everett Golson’s mobility, Jimbo Fisher has not put it to good use so far. We’ve seen Golson use his legs to escape defenders when he drops back to pass, but Jimbo has yet to use his legs on many designed quarterback runs. Simply put, defenders do not respect Golson’s legs. In the Georgia Tech game, we saw that defenders do not buy the read option fake and will simply dive on the running back every time because they know Golson will not pull it. Whether this is due to Golson’s injury or his unwillingness to run it himself remains to be seen, but Golson’s mobility in the run game has been a non-factor so far this season.
Maguire actually looked very mobile against Syracuse. He took a sack on Florida State’s first drive, but from there on did a very good job of stepping up in the pocket and making the play downfield with his arm. He also looked very mobile running out of the pocket as well. Why does this matter? Because Clemson’s pass rush, led by defensive end Shaq Lawson, will be the biggest test for Florida State’s offensive line all season. They will get to the quarterback and whoever starts under center needs to be aware of the pass rush at all times.
The passing game also looked explosive under Maguire on Saturday. Florida State scored on passes of 75, 45 and 19 yards, all to Travis Rudolph, and Maguire’s most impressive pass on the day might actually have been the long pass to George Campbell that the freshman couldn’t haul in. Maguire was not afraid to take shots downfield and displayed his huge arm early and often in the game. He looked sharp and made good decisions, checking the ball down to Jacques Patrick when his first reads weren’t open. Under Golson, the passing game has been very limited and we’ve seen Jimbo rely more on motion and screen passes in order to get the ball moving. Georgia Tech was able to beat Florida State in part because they shut down the short passing game and Golson was unable to move the ball consistently downfield.
Sean Maguire is the right decision at quarterback moving forward. Maguire has a better knowledge of the passing game and Golson’s inability to make defenses respect his legs have made him obsolete. The deep passing game made a comeback against Syracuse and Maguire has the ability and will to stretch the ball vertically that Golson does not. If Florida State cannot take advantage of its athletes at the receiver position, it has no shot of beating Clemson next week.