Week 2 of preseason practice sees FSU hitting the road for Bradenton where it will practice at the IMG Academy. It’s starting to smell like football with full pads being added this past weekend. The depth chart should start sorting itself out. Most positions are already set – at least you know who the guys fighting for the two-deep rotation or a majority of the playing time are. Football isn’t just 22 starters, but who your top 45 guys are.
This is true for every position except the quarterback where you tend to only play one.
This year is different at FSU because the Noles have three players who can play the position. In order to maintain consistency and develop a rhythm, only one will receive a majority of playing time.
Here are my thoughts on each QB’s performance and where they stand heading into this week. Hopefully, by the conclusion of the IMG trip, we should know who the clear QB1 is.
The starting QB of the 2016 season suffered a season ending injury late in last year’s season-opener against Alabama. The injury was a tough one to rehab and many didn’t think he’d even be healthy enough to compete in the 2018 season.
Add to this many leadership and character questions which arose due to his off the field transgressions which could have jeopardized his standing with a new coach.
Frenchy has not only rehabbed quickly physically, but he has also rehabbed his image somewhat. He’s done everything that has been asked of him and during the first week of practice he’s elevated himself slightly over James Blackman and Bailey Hockman.
Fundamentally speaking, he is the better of the three; he is stronger and in better shape. The offense has seemingly been better when he has taken the snaps. He’s got some zip on the ball and he’s throwing a better deep ball than he did in 2016.
Francois looks the part, we just got to keep him away from the man bun.
He was the forgotten piece in FSU’s quarterback situation a year ago, but he was a higher-rated QB in the 2017 class than Blackman was. Hockman suffered an injury in last year’s camp which kept him from competing – and nobody was prepared for Frenchy to miss the season.
The lefty showed flashes in the spring, but wasn’t really considered a candidate for the starting job until his recent performances in camp.
It’s not so much that he is competing with Frenchy as much as he is making a name by looking as good, if not better, than Blackman. He has a good understanding of getting rid of the ball quickly, which is imperative in Willie Taggart’s offense, and is a solid athlete.
Each day the Hockman Hive is getting bigger and I’d say at this point he has a slight edge over James Blackman
He’s personally the guy I would like to see have the job as I’ve seen enough flashes to know that he is a big-time college QB. I don’t blame him for the six losses FSU suffered last season. I think he was put in a bad spot. Had he been able to take a redshirt year he would probably be better.
Willie Taggart has stressed that his system can be adjusted to any type of QB. The advantages Blackman has are his height and arm strength. He has the ability to go deep better than the other QBs which will keep defenses honest and open up the run and intermediate passing game as well.
The reason I have him listed as the potential third guy is because he hasn’t looked as crisp as you’d like the returning starter to be in early practices. He’s been able to hit running backs on wheel routes, but has also looked lost at times.
This could be a result the pressure of an open competition. He has to perform better in this second week to compete for the starting job.
As it stands right now, if you made me pick a QB1, it’s Deondre Francois. I believe he gives the offense a better chance to move the ball. Taggart’s quick-hitting offense is predicated on making sure the ball keeps moving; Francois has done a better job with that, albeit in shorts and shoulder pads.
Even though QBs aren’t traditionally hit in practice, full pads brings more realistic conditions to practice and we should be able to see how each competitor handles more game-like situations.
There is a plethora of talent on this FSU team, but you’ve got to have competent facilitation in order for expectations to be met.
Taggart has been making all the right moves this off-season so fans should trust who he chooses as the point guard of his offense. All three players have the tools to lead the Seminoles into their game-one showdown against Virginia Tech and what I want to see between now and then is more separation and consistency from one of the three.
Frenchy seems the most logical choice currently based upon practice and past production. He’s more like a scoring point guard in this offense who can throw it and be dangerous as a run option. Still, a lot of practice remains.
Article Originally Appeared on Gridiron Now: http://gridironnow.com/will-fsus-quarterback-competition-see-more-surprises-in-week-2-of-camp/