Alex Turko (@aturko_23)
It was just a short time ago that I wrote about the continuous troubles haunting Florida State’s quarterback Jameis Winston. I’m happy to report that I am not writing about another incident or accusation. Ever since “Crabgate” I have been thinking about how successful this team would be without the reigning Heisman trophy winner. What if he did find his way into another incident and had to face a suspension. Or what if he got injured?
Coming into this season there are already question marks about the receiving corps. With the exception of Nick O’Leary and Rashad Greene, there are no other proven contributors in the passing game. Many people are expecting the running game to be the most potent aspect of Florida State’s offense despite the passing game’s success last season. The running backs will be working behind five senior offensive linemen that all have starting experience. However, without Winston in the backfield, teams would inevitably play an extra man in the box, daring Jimbo Fisher to run the ball into the heart of their defense.
You’d have to imagine that a world without Jameis would lead Fisher to alter his playbook, making life easier for Winston’s backup. This tailored edition of the playbook would most likely lead to more quick throws and screens as opposed to stretching the field with “go” routes. But don’t start thinking that backup quarterback, Sean Maguire, is not qualified to be under center at Florida State. Maguire has shown his ability on multiple occasions, namely April’s spring game, and can still let the ball fly down field. Whether it is Winston or Maguire, a wide receiver is going to have to step up this season for the passing game to have some of the success it did in 2013.
One positive for whoever lines up under center is that the Noles will be fielding one of the best (if not the best) defenses in the country. This means that a mistake here or there will not completely ruin your chances of winning. This is a bonus for quarterbacks because they can play loose without thinking too hard about not making the mistake.
Winston is an absolute gamer and we all know how special he. The attribute that would be near impossible to replace would be his leadership. As a redshirt freshman he was able to gain the respect and dedication of an entire lockeroom that was used to taking orders from a 5th year senior. Winston had the uncanny ability to turn on a switch and play lights-out, regardless of how the game had been going. The talent on this team could easily lead to a 9-3 season without Jameis, but when he is on the field, they might not lose again.
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