By: Nick O'Bryan (@doorstepJAX)
This year’s spring game seemed to have less excitement and intrigue than last year’s Top-5 championship contender team did. To me, THIS was the year to watch. Jacob Coker, Jamies Winston, Clint Trickett, and Sean Mcguire all suited up to show what they were bringing to the table this year at the quarterback position. If it is big offensive plays you like, then this was a great spring game for you.
Many of the concerns you would have watching E.J. Manuel command the offense were quickly dispatched with a 60 yard touchdown pass on Jamies Winston’s first snap under center. The other thing that brought a smile to my face watching this 5-star recruit on Saturday was that under duress on 2nd-and-short, he threw the ball out of bounds. This is something that Manuel never did, even when it was the right play to make. Winston was the complete package out on the field, and looked like a sure-thing under center.
Clint Trickett also showed skill under center, making reads that seemed very fast and yet natural. The thing that people forget with Trickett, is that he was never meant to be anything more than a backup quarterback whose father is the O-line coach. Being from Tallahassee and watching him play in high school, I am not against him here though. When he took the field for the first time as a starter against Clemson in Death Valley, no one could have predicted that he would have such poise in the pocket and such a strong arm. Yes FSU lost, but his performance was commendable and has not been forgotten. That is part of the reason people are saying he has just as good a shot as Winston or Coker. Personally, I can’t see him starting over a 5 star recruit whose athletic future looks like it may go far outside the reaches of college sports, but a major upside is that he will make those youngsters work their butt off to get the job.
In my opinion however, if you had to give a game ball to someone it would have to be Kelvin Benjamin. This kid has speed, great hands, and grown man strength in separation like we haven’t seen since Anquian Bolden was catching passes in the backfield. He was a strong performer last year, but this year should be a big one for this kid.
Kenny Shaw and Rashad Greene also made some great plays as you would expect. With this kind of speed and strength at the wide receiver, just about every quarterback looked pretty good out there. If there is a concern to be had, it is with the offensive line. It seems like a recurring issue, and there have been many questions about coach Trickett’s inability to bring in big recruits at this position. We will see how the line has progressed once the season starts, but it won’t matter who the quarterback is if the O-line doesn’t start becoming a major priority protecting that quarterback and giving our running game lanes to run through.
Overall, it’s great to have that spring feel in the air and knowing that REAL football is right around the corner is always great. It is like the first cold front to remind you that Christmas is around the corner. You know it’s not happening tomorrow, but walking through that campus, and seeing that monster practice facility with the newly moved “sod semetary,” it feels so close you can almost start ordering the wings and beer for the tailgate.
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