Florida State’s starting lineup will be among the best in the nation, particularly on defense, but many players filling key backup roles are questionable.
Of all reserve positions, the most important is surely the quarterback. Coincidentally, this might be FSU’s biggest question mark on the entire roster. Sophomore Deondre Francois is a proven talent, but behind him there are big doubts.
There is only one veteran quarterback on the roster besides Francois: junior J.J. Consentino. He has had limited playing time, going 7-of-19 for 46 yards and a TD, all of which points to him being an inadequate replacement.
Sean Maguire’s loss surely will be felt. He was a proven backup who showed the capability to step in with little notice and play decently, as when he led the Seminoles to a victory against Clemson when Jameis Winston was suspended in 2014.
Two quarterbacks with the potential to unseat Cosentino are true freshmen Bailey Hockman and James Blackman. Hockman is a more likely candidate than Blackman at this point, as he enrolled early and went through spring practice. Coach Jimbo Fisher praised Hockman throughout the spring on his growth and development in the system.
Any “Plan B” at quarterback for Florida State, though, is terrifying for a team with national championship aspirations, which may make protecting Francois the most important responsibility on the team this season. The Seminoles’ offensive line struggled last season, when Francois regularly took big hits.
And from one signal-caller to another: The Seminoles’ linebacking corps hasn’t been up to the level set by Telvin Smith and company a few years ago.
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