If you look at the reps before the game, you see four quarterbacks warming up.
E.J. Manuel. Clint Trickett. Jacob Coker. Jameis Winston.
These are the four quarterbacks Jimbo Fisher holds in high esteem, but King E.J. will be departing in just a few games.
Clint Trickett is the heir apparent, having substituted for Manuel during a brutal midseason stretch in 2011. Trickett performed admirably, throwing seven touchdowns to only four picks his first year on the job. He's a proven commodity. The staff liked him so much they even hired his dad, Rick Trickett, to run Florida State's offensive line!
But even Trickett will need backup. Jacob Coker, a freshman from Mobile, Alabama, is a full three inches taller than Trickett and weighs over 200 pounds. He can take the hits that skinny Clint might not always survive. Also on the depth chart is Jameis Winston, another freshman out of Alabama. A highly recruited dual-threat quarterback, he could keep the Florida State offense humming as well.
Notice what I said: dual-threat.
Trickett, who is an excellent passer, and Coker, who is alpine any way you cut it, are more of pocket passer stock than Winston. Winston can continue the—if you will—dual-threat quarterback tradition at FSU. Look at E.J. Manuel, FSU's current dual-threat quarterback, to see if it would work in the pro-style offense Jimbo Fisher runs.
How necessary is a dual-threat quarterback to FSU?
Some of you might say the Running Back Derby quells the need for a mobile quarterback. I say hogwash. Dual-threat quarterbacks will always be needed to force defenses to play honestly. And E.J. Manuel's stats have actually improved when he can get a break from running the rock all by himself (see 2011).
Think about what Florida State could do with Winston at the helm. He could run the ball himself, pitch it (like in the spread option) to Devonta Freeman or James Wilder, Jr., or even run the Triple Option with his backs! The only way to stop elite defenses (like Florida's) will be to change things up a little bit. Having Jameis Winston do it is their best chance.