Interesting Times Continue For FSU’s Maguire

Florida State Seminole Athletics

ATLANTA, Ga.— The road travelled to the starting quarterback position for redshirt junior Sean Maguire has been anything but simple since he came to Florida State from Sparta, New Jersey. He went from backup, to starter, back to back up and starter again.

Maguire made his debut for the Seminoles in their 23-17 overtime win over Clemson last season, after then starting quarterback Jameis Winston was suspended for an off-field issue. With that win and four games this season he is 5-1 as the starter for Florida State.

There was a chance that Maguire would be the starter this season, until former Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson came to Tallahassee. He would eventually win the starting job.

Florida State quarterbacks/co-offensive coordinator Randy Sanders says that Maguire not only didn’t show his disappointment that Golson was the starter, he didn’t change his approach to the position.

“Sean handled the whole situation this year extremely well,” Sanders said. “When we made the decision at the beginning of the year to go with Everett, he didn’t sit around and pout. He went out to practice and handled it in a very mature way and went out to practice to get better that day and to the the best player he could for our football team.”

Sanders should know what good quarterback play look like, because he got to see one legend firsthand in Peyton Manning during his time as quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Volunteers. He also helped to develop a Heisman Trophy winner and the 2015 first pick of the NFL Draft in Winston.

Maguire has definitely had to wait his turn for the chance to start. When he got to Florida State, there was a logjam of quarterbacks trying to make their case to be the starting quarterbacks.

The current Seminoles starter pointed out that the quarterback room in Tallahassee had now Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel, Winston, current Alabama Crimson Tide starter Jacob Coker, former West Virginia starter Clint Trickett and Maguire.

Competition isn’t anything new for Maguire and Jimbo Fisher once said that Golson coming to Florida State actually benefitted him. Maguire thinks that’s true.

“I agree with coach Fisher 100 percent,” Maguire said. “I think I learned a really valuable lesson through those first six games, to really not shy away. Just continue to work hard. Honestly, it was the best scenario for myself, as bad as some situations were.”

Maguire started the last two games of the regular season, to help Florida State finish 10-2 to get to Atlanta for the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. That said, he still believes the Clemson start in 2014 helped prepare him even more to handle this opportunity.

“It definitely prepared me,” Maguire said. “Especially that game. That game was probably the biggest game of the year, outside of the ACC Championship Game and College Football Playoff. Playing Clemson at home and being on (ESPN) College Game Day, I think playing in that game already prepared me for this year.”

The numbers Maguire put up this season are not eye-popping. He finished with 90 completions in 145 attempts for 1,128 yards, with nine touchdowns and two interceptions.

Maguire seemingly has the respect of his teammates, for how he has handled his opportunity at Florida State. The Seminoles standout offensive weapon in sophomore running back Dalvin Cook seems to think so.

“Like coach (Sanders) said, Everett was named to start at the beginning,” Cook said. “So Sean stepped in, played a major role, actually he came off the bench that (Syracuse) game, came right in and was making plays. That’s a guy you’ve got to respect. As a quarterback position, he’s our leader on the team, he leads the offense. He’s a guy you’ve got to respect.”

Maguire took over after the Georgia Tech loss, because Golson suffered a concussion in that game. He would put up 348 yards passing with three touchdowns in the Seminoles 43-21 win over the Orange.

He would be benched again, after Florida State lost 23-13 to Clemson. Maguire was frustrated about the decision, but his head coach Jimbo Fisher says that he handled it professionally.

“I’m glad he was frustrated,” Fisher said. “As a coach sometimes you’ve got to make decisions based off the big picture. The big key was that and we communicated through it all. (I was) honest with him and where I saw him staying. He was worried that meant maybe I don’t get another chance. No, it didn’t mean that. It’s just right now where we are and eventually it worked out good.”

Fisher believes that the players are behind Maguire, because he’s a “normal guy.” Also, that he’s had successes and failures just like them.

Some might look at this bowl game as an audition for an even more promising season in 2016. Barring early entries into the NFL Draft, Florida State could have 18 returning starters next season.

Even with almost his entire offense coming back next season, Maguire says he’s focused on beating the Houston Cougars on Thursday.

“I’m looking at finishing this season out the right way especially for the senior class,” Maguire said. “A lot of the guys I came in with, even the guys that are a year older than me that took me under my wing right away. So to get to 50 wins for them is something that is probably at the top of my list of how much I care about this game and obviously going forward into next year with all the guys we have returning.”

There is n doubt this is a chance for Maguire to further his case to be the starting quarterback for his final season in 2016. When it comes to gaining the respect of his teammates and coaching staff? He’s already won that.

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