During the course of the 2014 season, Jameis Winston did well to rack up 3,907 passing yards over 13 games, averaging over 300 yards per game. However, despite the impressive numbers with an offensive unit that lost two of its three leading receivers and rushers from the 2013 team, Winston often relied too heavily on his favorite receivers. Over the course of the 2014 season, 1,771 of Winston's 3,907 passing yards (45.3%) went to seniors Rashad Greene and Nick O'Leary.
Conversely, while the sample size is still small, Everett Golson excelled in his Florida State debut by distributing the ball and getting numerous skill position players involved in the offense, completing passes to nine different Seminoles.
Jimbo Fisher prepared a gameplan to slowly transition Golson into the Florida State offense, relying on the run in the first half. Dalvin Cook and Mario Pender combined for 21 first-half carries and 3 touchdowns while Golson made just nine pass attempts, completing seven for 74 yards but with no touchdowns.
After he was eased into the offense in the first half, Golson's level of comfort grew as the second half unfolded. The dominant run game of the first half opened up the passing game in the third quarter, and Golson threw for 228 yards in the second half, in total compiling 302 passing yards on 19-25 passing with four touchdown to four different receivers (and a passer rating of 230.27).
By the time that Golson was replaced by Sean Maguire midway through the fourth quarter, he had included just about every receiving target in the passing game, completing passes to all five wide receivers with whom he worked as well as two out of the three tight ends and all three running backs who played while he was in the game. No player had more than four receptions or more than 77 receiving yards, a true showcase of how balanced Golson's passing attack was in his debut.
With the addition of the four receivers to whom backup QB Sean Maguire completed passes, Florida State had 13 players with at least one reception, the highest mark since they had 13 players with a catch in last year's Wake Forest game.
Much has been made of the record-setting star power FSU has lost to the NFL over the last three seasons. But if Saturday night were any indication, this type of balanced approach may prove just as effective-- and given the even nature of the aerial attack, perhaps tougher to defend.