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Florida State Seminoles

FSU Starting QB plot thickens

Abbey Radeka

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Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Many FSU fans are heading into the football season cautiously optimistic that this year, at the very least, will be an improvement from the last. Others are still questioning if Willie Taggart’s second year will look any different from the first, and that’s largely due to the fact that the Noles are just under three weeks away from kickoff with no certain QB1.

With former FSU starter Deodre Francois long gone, the battle is mainly between former backup QB James Blackman and former Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook. From what we can tell so far, it seems as if FSU’s offensive staff has spent much of the offseason preparing Blackman for the job, but for the most part, it still seems up in the air.

On Monday, Taggart was asked by the media if there would any benefit to deciding who is going to be the starting quarterback sooner rather than later.

His answer was vauge, but encouraging.

“It all depends on the circumstances. I think you always like to have a guy that’s your guy but we’re going to keep it competitive. Both guys are doing a great job and it’s been fun to watch. They both go in and execute the offense and I’ve been impressed because not only do they execute the offense with the ones but they get in with the twos and do that same thing. That’s impressive to me. They both are having a really good camp and we’ll keep it going.”

“We’ll keep it going” is not exactly what Florida State fans want to hear as they eagerly await for an offensive leader they can begin rallying behind.

For now, all we have to go on is what’s been happening in practice.

Brendan Sonnone of Noles247 reported on the state of the competition from practice on Monday. Here’s what he had to say about each of the guys vying for the job.

Sonnone started with Blackman, saying that he’s continuing to stand out.

“Spent 10-15 minutes watching the quarterbacks throw on Sunday and James Blackman remained the most consistent of the bunch in that viewing time. Blackman, who appears to be having fun but also quickly getting in and out of reps, was on target on every throw he made on the day. He regularly put it across the facemasks of his receiver or on their hands. Easily catchable balls.”

As for Hornibrook, Sonnone said:

“He also knows where he is going with the ball and when to get rid of it. His main issue is that he sometimes leaves them a bit high.”

But, now officially in the mix is Louisville transfer, Jordan Travis. On Monday morning, it was announced that he has been officially been granted eligibility for the 2019 season.

According to Noles247, “He had one of the nicer balls of the viewing session when he connected on a vertical route with wide receiver Adarius Dent. Travis has looked to be moving around with a bit of a limp in recent days.”

The addition of Travis into the competition is likely going to make it harder for Taggart and OC Kendal Briles to select their starting guy, but on the positive side, it’s better to have too many options than not enough.

We just hope that the right decision can be made before the season kicks off, rather than during.

Abbey is a native Floridan who grew up a fan of all Tampa Bay sports teams. She’s recently graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Media Communication Studies. In her time at FSU, she was an In-Game Host for the Basketball and Baseball teams, and reported for Seminole Sports Magazine, producing feature stories that appeared on Fox Sports Sun. She’s excited to share her perspective on all of Florida’s Football teams, especially the Seminoles.

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Florida State Seminoles

FSU visited by Dungy and Brooks in Bradenton

Abbey Radeka

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

FSU has spent the week practicing at IMG in Bradenton. On Wednesday, head coach Willie Taggart invited former NFL head coach Tony Dungy and Seminole legend Derrick Brooks spend some time with the team and offer a few words of wisdom after practice.

Taggart wanted the guys to give his payers some insight on what it takes to be a part of a turn around team.

The former Super Bowl winning head coach told the team team that, if they want to see success on the field, they’re going to have to come together to do it.

He ended with what it really means to be a champion, and having that championship mentality goes far beyond what you can do for your school on the field.

“Being a champion isn’t just being the best you can be on the field. Thats part of it. But it’s being the best teammate you can be, its being the best student you can be, person you can be and impact everyone. We didn’t bring you to Florida State just to win a national champion ship…Be the best person you can be for this university, for your family for your teammates, and you’ll leave a legacy here at Florida State.

You guys wanted to come to Florida State because of what these guys did. There are kids now who are going to want to come to Florida State because of what guys do. And that’s the power, that’s the fun, that’s what you’re going to really remember.”

Brooks then joined him for an extended Q&A session and told the group of guys, including his son, sophomore DeCalon Brooks, about what goes into a championship culture.

“It doesn’t take talent to have a championship culture, right? It takes effort. It takes awesome. No excuses, no explanations.” And mirroring the sentiment of Dungy he added, “that championship culture has to extend itself off the field…and we have the ingredients to be a championship-culture program.”

You can watch the full conversation here.

Coach Dungy has had a relationship with the Seminoles for a while, as Bobby Bowden was one of his role models when he began his career in coaching. And, in his time in Tampa with the Bucs, he coached two FSU greats in Brooks and Warrick Dunn.

Dungy and Brooks were foundational pieces of turning the Buccaneer program around and instilling a championship culture in Tampa Bay.

There’s no doubt that Tallahassee is ready for the return of a championship culture.

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Florida State Seminoles

New FSU QB Alex Hornibrook on receivers- “never seen that much talent”

Florida Football Insiders

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Former Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook wants to emerge as the 2019 starter for coach Willie Taggart’s second season. And, the graduate transfer, who picked Florida State in March, already knows FSU has receiving talent ready to help him unlike what he’s seen.

Hornibrook talked to the Seminoles media before practice on Friday and plainly stated how impressed he is with the past catchers that he and the other quarterbacks have at their disposal:

“The first thing I saw was the receivers. I’d never seen that much talent in a receiving corp before,” Hornibrook said of being around them in March for the first time. “Everybody just seemed hungry. That whole practice was kinda just an intensity that I had never seen before.”

Names like established wideouts Tamorrion Terry, Keith Gavin and D.J. Matthews are ones that Hornibrook is now getting familiar with on the August practice field. And, he and new offensive coordinator Kendal Briles are hoping they develop better on-field chemistry with, as the veteran new guy and new play caller coming in.

The former High School star in West Chester, PA, had led Wisconsin to on field success and obviously had several options on where to transfer before settling on Tallahassee .

Hornibrook’s has some spots on his resume’ that appealed to FSU.

He had a very good 2017 season that included him completing 64% of his passes and throwing 25 touchdowns to just 15 interceptions, as Wisconsin ended up winning the Orange Bowl against Miami. In that “New Year’s Six” bowl game, Hornibrook (shown above) threw for 258 yards and four touchdowns, as the Badgers dominated the Canes.

Unfortunately, his 2018 season was derailed midway through by a concussion and back problems. Hornibrook only played nine games a year ago, threw for 1100 less yards and had just 13 touchdowns with 11 interceptions.

Hornibrook has been a three-year starter in Madison for the Badgers with a 26-6 career record.

Florida State has been scrambling for another quarterback option besides just redshirt freshman James Blackman for this upcoming season. This after last year’s starting quarterback Deondre Francois was kicked off the team in February after more allegations surfaced surface for him involving domestic violence.

Clearly, Blackman and Hornibrook will be the two battling to be the opening game starter, when the Noles play Boise State in Jacksonville on August 31st.

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