Breathe in, now exhale.
The stat line was ugly and Sean Maguire's performance - at times - was shaky, to say the least. But there were also some bright spots, beautiful reads and throws. Maguire showed his knowledge of the playbook and the ability to work through his progressions. But he was a little off, and that can be fixed.
I think it's a matter of confidence and I believe I have a solution, but I'll return to that in a minute.
It only took two pass attempts before Maguire was intercepted and taken to the house, 41 yards by early enrollee Derwin James 49 seconds into the game. And while you would like to think that James made a great play on the ball and stole one away from the aspiring starter, it was actually the complete opposite. Maguire, after his primary route was busted, stepped up in the pocket avoiding back-side pressure and unwisely delivered the ball while basically falling forward off his front foot (a big no-no). He was trying to make something out of nothing, and should have thrown it away.
It was not his finest moment and, in my book, may have been his worst play of the game.
"Had some silly mistakes on offense that put them behind the eight ball - a couple missed routes, broken routes," FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "Early, we didn't play well around [Maguire], had two or three busted routes. We didn't play well around him at times, and then he pressed a little bit. 'Just go ahead and throw it away. Just manage the 'oh, crap.' Go ahead and throw it away and don't be a hero.'"
"Then he got into a groove and we were able to run the ball, catching the ball, getting the snaps down where he can make his reads and we did good."
He soon bounced back delivering a ball 35 yards down field, over the shoulder and into the bread basket that was Ja'Vonn Harrison's hands streaking down the sideline under tight coverage (It even got a little fist pump from Jimbo Fisher). It was perfectly delivered, and in stride.
But consistency is the key.
Maguire's not going to be asked to be Jameis Winston, he's not going to have to hold the weight of the world on his shoulders. He'll be asked to be a game manager, use the talent around him and trust in the system that Fisher has put in place.
Consistency is hard, though, when the players around you - key players - are not playing up to par. And this was the case at the center position on Saturday. Bad snaps were a regular thing during the spring game, making it difficult to get into any kind of a rhythm. This is something the Seminoles have to fix before the season begins.
"Had a lot of bad snaps, high snaps - when you're trying to play quarterback, guys, there is nothing worse in the world. It's like driving a car and putting your head under the steering wheel and (then) raising back up.." - Jimbo Fisher
Timing with the receivers was an issue as well. There were a number of crossing routes and out routes that were missed by half a step, and this can be fixed over the summer during seven-ons and extra time put in between a quarterback and his receivers. Timing is everything.
"We've got a lot of work to do this summer," Maguire said. "We'll be throwing four days a week - Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday - doings seven-on-sevens and routes, so we have a lot of work to do."
As for Maguire, I think it's a matter of confidence.
Whether he was double-clutching or looking back at Fisher after both completions and incompletions, it's clear that he's in search of approval instead of just going out there and playing football. It's completely different from a guy like Winston, who didn't seek approval from anybody on the football field.
You need your quarterback to stand tall in the pocket and deliver the ball, and I've seen Maguire do this. He has the ability. He just needs the confidence.
So, since it was also clear that there is not a better option at this point, why not tell him it's his job to lose, that he's capable of being the starter? Take a chance at giving him the confidence boost he needs. If it doesn't work out and you need to make a change, then make a change.
De'Andre Johnson had the best stat line with his 5-of-11 for 155 yards and two touchdowns (against walk-ons), but he was lost, missed a number of reads and was constantly chewed out by Fisher. Johnson was even taken out of the game by an angry Fisher at one point, walked to the sidelines and threw his helmet towards the wall. He had nice touch on his ball, but is no where near ready to be the starter. Cosentino had some bright spots as well, but seemed to struggle throwing the ball down field with any kind of accuracy.
Fisher is not searching for the next Jameis Winston, because there isn't one on this roster, but he is in search of the guy who knows the offense, can work his progressions and use the talent around him.
At this point, even after a shaky inter-squad scrimmage in the rain, Maguire remains the best option for FSU.