TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) – The Clemson Tigers must be licking their chops after Florida State (FSU) announced they’re starting a redshirt sophomore for Saturday’s game.
Florida State’s unknown backup quarterback Sean Maguire is making his first career collegiate start.
The news comes after Heisman Trophy Winner and usual starter Jameis Winston was suspended for the first half of Saturday’s contest because of an “offensive and vulgar” statement he made.
Though Clemson is a top-25 opponent and a conference rival, Maguire wouldn’t want it any other way.
“It’s going to be pretty awesome, I’d like to imagine,” Maguire said. “I’ve pictured this since I started playing little league ball. … I don’t know how much better it gets than this.”
Maguire has only thrown 26 passes for the Seminoles and was not a highly touted recruit. He ran the run-first, wing-T offense at Seton Hall Prep in New Jersey and did not put up awe-inspiring numbers. Coach Jimbo Fisher said he isn’t concerned and is enamored with Maguire’s strong arm.
In FSU’s blowout victory over Citadel, Maguire entered the third quarter in relief of Winston and completed three of five passes for 28 yards. He played in nine games in 2013 and threw for 116 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Maguire took every snap with the No. 1 offense since Wednesday and will have Friday’s walk-thru before kickoff Saturday. Fisher acknowledged it will be a challenge and said he never knows how a guy will react, but that’s why he puts all of the quarterbacks in pressure situations in practice.
“There’ll be nerves,” Fisher said. “Any guy who’s going to play his first game, I don’t care who he is. … I’m anxious to see how he handles it. I think he’ll do well.”
Maguire wasn’t even the second choice at quarterback in 2013. However, a season-ending injury to Jacob Coker and his eventual transfers to Alabama propelled Maguire to number two on the depth-chart.
Things have slowed down after he ascended so quickly, but even he knows there will be a difference running the show.
“I remember last year saying you can watch all the film you want,” said Maguire, who received a text from Winston telling him about the incident on campus, “but it’s different when you go out there. You can draw Xs and Os all day and know the offense in and out, but until you go out there and see it and see the defense move and call the mike calls … it’s different.”
Florida State interim President Dr. Garnett S. Stokes and Athletic Director Stan Wilcox announced in a joint statement Wednesday that in addition to sitting out the first half of Saturday’s game, Winston also will undergo internal discipline. They did not say why Winston was only benched for just a half — though that is not uncommon — and they did not provide details of the punishment.
“We’re in charge. It’s our team,” Fisher said about the punishment. “That’s what we thought. We went with the consequences and we’re ready to move on.”
Fisher said the president and athletic director are always involved in university policy, but declined to answer when asked if it’s normal for them to be involved in team discipline.
Fisher could decide to hold out Winston longer in the game, though that could be a risky proposition for the Seminoles.
Those chances are slim when the magnitude of the game is considered. The winner between these two teams has gone on to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship for the last five years.
The team has aspired to win back-to-back titles and this loss could knock them out of post-season contention.
Winston said he’s been helping Maguire prepare and added that FSU will win regardless.
“It eats me alive that I did something like that,” Winston said. “I can’t carry myself that way.
“Me and Sean, we’re going to watch film, we’re going to do what we do, and I’m going to try my best to put our team in a good chance to win this game. I know they’ve got my back.”
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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