FSU Notes: QBs respond to 'awful' practice

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Jameis Winston lingered on the practice field, offering some small solace and encouragement to each player who trudged away after Jimbo Fisher called an abrupt end to what he described as an "awful" day of work for Florida State. After Fisher finished a post-practice debriefing with media, Clint Trickett was waiting outside the coach's office to offer his own counsel.

A day like Wednesday could be a line of demarcation for FSU's quarterbacks, giving Fisher a chance to see how they handle the adversity of an atrocious practice session. The only problem, Fisher said, was he wished he'd seen more of it sooner.

"It's easy to do it afterwards," Fisher said. "The key is recognizing when it's happening and then call it together, and I wish they'd done a better job of that."

Still, the day's struggles couldn't be pinned entirely on the quarterbacks, Fisher said. It was a group effort, and the four men battling for the starting QB job actually were among the least conspicuous offenders.

As spring practice draws to a close -- just one practice session remains before the spring game -- Fisher has seen progress from his quarterbacks, and while he's not giving away any secrets on where the depth chart currently stands, it certainly sounds like it's becoming more of a two-man race.

In Monday's scrimmage, it was Winston and Trickett who got the bulk of the first-team reps, and both turned in strong performances.

Winston completed 8 of 15 for 129 yards with an interception, adding 16 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

"He puts the ball on the money -- even his deep balls, every touch he has on the short routes," safety Terrence Brooks said. "He throws it as soon as they come out of their breaks, which makes it harder for us. He does a great job of looking us off and having us on edge all the time."

Trickett completed 17 of 28 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns.

"Clint gets out of the pocket very well, but he still looks downfield to make the plays," Brooks said. "It looks like a toss-up to me. ... I'm glad I don't have to make that decision. That's on Jimbo."

Jacob Coker and Sean Maguire remain in the competition but largely worked with the second-team offense during Monday's scrimmage. Coker completed 10 of 17 passes for 162 yards and an interception, while Maguire was a solid 8 of 15 for 102 yards and a touchdown.

Saturday's spring game could be the next step in making that decision for Fisher, but Thursday's return to the practice field after such an ugly performance might factor in, too.

"We were not mentally ready to practice and that will get you beat," Fisher said. "If we haven't learned that lesson around here by now, we're going to get that point across, I promise."

Empty backfield: If there's an excess of candidates for the quarterback job, FSU has the opposite problem at tailback, where there's a strong possibility all three of its scholarship runners will miss Saturday's spring game.

James Wilder Jr., Devonta Freeman and Mario Pender were all held out of Wednesday's practice, and Fisher said only Pender remains a possibility to see action Saturday.

Wilder has a cracked rib that might be related to an injury he suffered last season, Fisher said. He and Freeman, who suffered a high ankle sprain last week, will both miss the spring game.

Pender suffered a head injury in Monday's scrimmage, and Fisher said he's being held out of practice as a precaution, but could be cleared to play Saturday.

Even with the dearth of runners, Fisher said the spring game will go on as planned, with the No. 1 offense facing off against the No. 1 defense, and the No. 2s going agains the second strings on defense -- it's just that those teams will likely include a healthy number of walk-ons in the tailback roles.

"We'll play with what we've got," Fisher said.

Goldman out, too: Sophomore defensive tackle Eddie Goldman had three tackles for a loss in Monday's scrimmage, but a nagging shoulder injury kept him out of Wednesday's practice session, too. Fisher said he remains unsure whether Goldman will play in Saturday's spring game.

"It's nothing," Fisher said. "[He had] an MRI. He's fine. Just sore, banged and bruised. We'll find out [if he's available]. I would think he'd be able to go, but we'll see."

Defensive tackles Demonte McAllister and Timmy Jernigan have already been ruled out for the remainder of spring practice.