Monday, March 25, 2013
FSU Notes: Maguire relishes underdog role
By David M. Hale
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Sean Maguire is the fourth man in a three-man race.
At least, that's the perception among most fans of the much-hyped quarterback competition at Florida State between veteran Clint Trickett, big-armed Jacob Coker and recruiting stud Jameis Winston, but Maguire isn't buying into that story. Sure, he's at the bottom of the totem poll when it comes to publicity, but Jimbo Fisher won't be picking a winner based on popularity.
"Everyone portrays it as them three, but in my mind, and I know in Coach Fisher's mind, I'm right there," said Maguire, a redshirt freshman from New Jersey. "I've been working hard, and this is my chance to prove I belong right there."
It's hard to fault the media hype surrounding the other three quarterbacks. They've all carved out their own dramatic narratives. For Maguire, however, his most intriguing characteristic might be his invisibility.
At Maguire ran a wing-T offense at Sparta (N.J.) Seton Hall Prep that diminished his recruiting hype. Like Coker, he might have gained some buzz once he arrived at FSU, but Maguire had the misfortune of coming in at the same time as Winston, the country's top recruit. Since then, he's toiled in the relative anonymity of working fifth on the depth chart. The lack of a spotlight, however, provides good motivation.
"I knew exactly who was here. It's not like I haven't seen them play. I came to practices when I was getting recruited," Maguire said. "I think the competition is awesome. I could've taken the easy way out and gone to some school up north and been starting, but I'd rather compete with the best. That's the way I look at it."
So Maguire has set his sights on proving the doubters wrong -- or, in some cases, simply reminding people he's in the mix, too. He's added about 15 pounds in his first year at FSU (up to about 210), made a priority of improving his footwork, and kept his nose in the playbook whenever possible.
"I love to stay in the weight room later than everyone or stay watching film or stay after practice and throw," Maguire said. "I feel like no matter what happens in life, if you continue to do that, you'll be eventually rewarded."
Bobby Hart is trying to re-establish himself after being benched in 2012.
Rotating on the right: For the past few practices, Bryan Stork has been getting plenty of reps at right tackle with the first-team offense, which might seem like a bad sign for junior Bobby Hart. But Fisher insists he's not playing favorites yet -- just mixing and matching.
"We're going to move guys, I've said that 1,000 times," Fisher said. "They have to play guard and tackle and move them around and create combinations. That'll be a constant ongoing thing."
Hart was the starter at right tackle for eight games in 2011 but lost the job to Menelik Watson last season. Maturity was a concern a year ago, but high school teammate and current roommate Rashad Greene said Hart has turned a corner.
"I can see a lot of maturity has come. He's taking things a lot more serious," Greene said. "I could tell he really wants it bad and was going to do all he can to try to go out there and compete and do the best he can -- take the coaching and just be ready. I can honestly say he's ready."
Walker still out: Freshman defensive end DeMarcus Walker was absent from practice for a third straight day as the NCAA works to clear up an eligibility issue. Last week, Fisher said he was confident the situation would be resolved quickly, but Monday he offered a slightly less enthusiastic projection.
"That's them and the school board. They're just going through the logistics," Fisher said. "I have no idea. I wish I could tell you. My understanding is, they've done it before and they just have to get the paperwork or whatever they've got to do."