FSU concludes training camp at IMG Academy, but doesn’t put an end to QB competition

Redshirt junior Deondre Francois, sophomore James Blackman (pictured) and redshirt freshman Bailey Hockman are competing for the starting quarterback job. All three have been taking snaps with the first team during camp.
AP

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Florida State wrapped up four days of training camp at IMG Academy with coach Willie Taggart saying the Seminoles accomplished several things as they prepare for their season opener against Virginia Tech.

“I thought we got a lot done,” Taggart said Thursday. “I’m really impressed with the way the guys competed in practice. Plays that they’re not familiar with, we got better. It was just as if we were practicing at Florida State.”

What Taggart wasn’t ready to announce, though, is his starting quarterback.

Redshirt junior Deondre Francois, sophomore James Blackman and redshirt freshman Bailey Hockman are competing for the job. All three have been taking snaps with the first team during camp.

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Taggart said he’s looking for playmaking and leadership from whoever wins the job.

“Part of it is getting the ball to the right guys, some of it is just building them up and encouraging them to do the things they are supposed to and being that leader of the entire football team,” Taggart said.

“But a lot of it comes down to playmaking. As a quarterback you can make a receiver better by putting the ball on him,” the coach added. “It’s also leading our offense when things aren’t going well. And don’t turn the ball over. That’s a big way of helping your teammates get better.”

Taggart said the trip also helped build chemistry within the team. The Seminoles, who signed a multi-year agreement to host a portion of preseason camp at IMG. headed back to Tallahassee after Thursday’s practice.

“I thought we got a lot closer as a football team,” Taggart said. “In a lot of different ways, not just out on the football field, but in the meeting rooms and dinner. You see 30 guys on their down time just hanging and being around each other having fun.”

Meanwhile, Taggart announced defensive end Tre Lawson is no longer with the team.

Lawson, a redshirt freshman, did not make the trip to IMG. Offensive lineman Cole Minshew did not practice, however Taggart expects him to be ready for the opener.