Thursday, April 18, 2013
Without Trickett, Fisher still mum on starter
By David M. Hale
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Clint Trickett's decision to transfer from Florida State might have narrowed the playing field in the Seminoles' quarterback competition, but Jimbo Fisher still isn't making anything official when it comes to naming a starter.
All signs point toward Jameis Winston starting on Saturdays this fall.
The clear implication from Trickett's departure is that redshirt freshman Jameis Winston is in command for the job, but Fisher said Thursday he plans to keep it an open competition into fall camp.
"They have to go into fall camp and still perform," Fisher said. "Spring is one thing, and you got an indication of what we're capable of and where we're going, but we have to continue to grow and continue those performances with consistency going into fall camp and throughout summer and all through the season. There's always competition."
Fisher might be insistent on a quiet public approach to the job, but all signs point to Winston being in the driver's seat to take over for EJ Manuel as the Seminoles' starter in 2013.
Trickett entered spring atop the depth chart, but Winston's reps with the first-team offense grew over the course of spring practice, and his spring game performance -- 12-of-15 passing for 205 yards and two touchdowns -- was clearly enough to push Trickett out the door.
While Fisher didn't discuss an updated depth chart publicly, he said following the spring game that the quarterbacks would have a clear understanding of where they stood.
"You're honest about what's going on, our response," Fisher said. "If you're honest every day with them, that's the key. The key is to be open and honest with them -- and they know. They know what you're looking for. In the end, they'll know."
After evaluating the film, Fisher's impressions of Winston certainly underscore why Trickett decided to leave. While Winston wasn't perfect, Fisher raved about how quickly he picked up the offense.
"He was very good, made good decisions with the ball, as accurate, as very calm under pressure," Fisher said. "Handled the poise, understood the situations. He had a couple mistakes in there, even on some of the good plays, the process in which he went about it would've been better. But he was very productive, seized the moment, and I thought he took advantage of things, which you want guys to do. That's what you want to see. I was very pleased with his performance, and he's a very fun guy to coach."
Trickett met with Fisher this week and informed the coach of his decision to transfer. Both parties declined to offer details of the meeting, but Fisher said his long relationship with Trickett and his family -- father Rick Trickett is FSU's offensive line coach -- made it a difficult conversation but an easy decision to grant the transfer request.
"We had a long discussion, and he had some things that he wanted to do, and I’m backing him 100 percent," Fisher said. "I hate losing him, we loved to have him, he was a heck of a player for us, he would have been a heck of a player for us, but that’s the way things are sometimes, and we wish him nothing but the best."
Trickett plans to visit several schools before making a decision on where he'll transfer.
With the veteran Trickett gone, sophomore Jacob Coker and redshirt freshman Sean Maguire remain in competition with Winston heading into fall camp. Coker is the only quarterback on the roster to have experience in a college game.
Fisher praised both Coker's and Maguire's potential, but as he provided analysis of the spring performance for each of the three quarterbacks, it seemed clear Winston had made the most progress in turning potential into performance.
"Jameis has a really good grasp on things, has developed in the system really well, is very intelligent, and athletically he can make the throws," Fisher said.