EJ Manuel never lost a bowl game in his four years as the Florida State starter. As much as fans want to criticize a guy who was, absolutely, inconsistent at times, the fact of the matter is that the Noles have a huge task ahead in finding the guy to replace Manuel.
And the brunt of that weight falls upon coach Jimbo Fisher, who has called the offensive plays since taking over for the legendary Bobby Bowden. As the program’s primary playcaller, Fisher will develop an extremely close working relationship with either Clint Trickett, Jameis Winston or Jacob Coker.
However, Winston is currently busy with the baseball team and Coker is nursing a foot injury. While some might believe that provides Trickett with an early edge in the race to replace Manuel, Fisher only sees a delayed decision.
He spoke with David Hale of NoleNation on ESPN.com regarding the three-man quarterbacking battle about to heat up Tallahassee.
“I think I know what their abilities are, but you never know what somebody is capable of until they’re put out there in a position to lead and take off,” Fisher began. “You just have to let it happen and trust your eyes. Don’t force it. Let them tell you. You can’t tell them.”
“It’s going to be very interesting not only to see how they do their job but how they can make the other 10 guys around them do their job and make the guys on defense feel uncomfortable about them doing their job,” Fisher continues. “That’s all important for a quarterback.”
Trickett, at 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, completed 22 of his 34 passing attempts as Manuel’s primary backup in his sophomore year. As a freshman playing extremely limited minutes, Coker completed 3-of-5 passes for 45 yards and a score. Winston was redshirted in 2012, but in recent drills with the football team — as a part of a balancing act with baseball — he really impressed Fisher.
“He came over the other day and blew this thing away,” Fisher said. “He flew around here like a wild man. He’s in great shape, he’s throwing, he’s probably up there watching film by himself an hour or two hours a day. He’s been right involved in the middle of everything.”
Although Fisher will not say anything, Trickett’s experience with the offense probably gives him a leg up against his competition. However, no one is going to know until Sept. 2, when the teams travels to Pitt to give the Panthers a rude welcome to the ACC.