Jimbo Fisher smiles, laughs and insists that he has not chosen a starting quarterback for 2013.
While the media and Florida State fans saw what Jameis Winston did this spring and presume that the redshirt freshman has won the job, Fisher says that’s not the case.
“We’re going to find out,” Fisher said. “He and Jacob Coker are going to be battling. I don’t know the answer.”
Winston made his case on the football field this spring while also showcasing his athleticism on the baseball diamond.
He can throw a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s and has thrown out runners at the plate from right field (without hopping the ball, too). He competed in both sports on the same day twice this spring, including attending a football practice on a Saturday morning in Tallahassee and then flying to Miami to pitch three scoreless innings of relief in a game against the Hurricanes.
And then came an impressive spring football game in April. He completed 12 of 15 passes for 205 yards, leading the No. 1 offense to touchdowns on its first two drives.
Winston then made the short walk from Doak Campbell Stadium to Dick Howser Stadium, and he had a single, walk and was hit by a pitch in a 1 for 2 night as Florida State defeated Duke in the second game of a doubleheader.
Coker has thrown just five college passes, but in the spring game he completed 15 of 26 passes for a touchdown and two interceptions.
Neither has a lot of experience in what once was a wide-open competition. Junior Clint Trickett went into the spring as the No. 1 quarterback, but just days after the spring game he transferred and eventually chose West Virginia (Trickett has earned his bachelor’s degree and can play for the Mountaineers immediately).
Trickett’s decision prompted widespread speculation that Fisher had made up his mind and that it was Winston. But Fisher said he’s looking to see who can handle the adversity that is bound to come with being a first-year starter.
“They both have a great knowledge of our offense,” Fisher said. “The thing is this: Can you do it consistently? I want to see how they handle fall camp.”
Fisher said there is no timetable for making an announcement.
“If it goes like you want it to go, they’ll tell you,” Fisher said. “You won’t have to have a date — you’ll know.”
Whoever starts will have a veteran offensive line to protect him. Florida State returns four starters on the line, a group that is led by center Bryan Stork and left tackle Cameron Erving.
“Those guys have all played,” Fisher said. “All the linemen are back. It’s more important up front because of the cohesiveness and the communication is a little different because there are so many things going on. There is a lot of continuity on offense that has me very excited.”
One thing Fisher addressed on Monday is Florida State’s on-again, off-again Twitter ban. Fisher has spoken in the past about his disdain for social media and has banned players from using Twitter in the past. Players are actively on Twitter this offseason, but Fisher seems to have compromised with players.
“They will not be on Twitter during the season,” Fisher said. “We’ll eliminate the clutter.”