Absent Running Backs Will Affect FSU QB Battle in Saturday's Spring Game

By Jack Jorgensen
Melina Vastola- USA TODAY Sports

With having to sort out a three-way battle for the starting quarterback position and replace some key players on defense, there have been a lot of questions surrounding the Florida State Seminoles heading into 2013. With the ‘Noles returning some talented players in the backfield, the running game was not one of those questions.

Or so we think.

Heading into one of the most important dates of every football season, Saturday’s spring game, FSU will most definitely be without two of its top backs–and possibly without its third.

Head coach Jimbo Fisher confirmed yesterday that junior tailbacks James Wilder Jr. and Devonta Freeman will not participate in Saturday’s contest, due to injuries suffered in previous scrimmages. Wilder was said to have aggravated a preexisting rib injury in practice on Monday, while Freeman has been nursing an ankle injury that will also leave him sidelined on Saturday.

Also, the status of redshirt freshman Mario Pender is up in the air after a slight head injury in Monday’s practice, but Fisher said he expects him to be able to go.

Still, Florida State being without its two top rushers is a major hindrance to assessing their offense at the spring game. More importantly, it will make it difficult to assess the highly-publicized QB battle between Jameis Winston, Clint Trickett, and Jacob Coker.

The quarterback race in Tallahassee is said to be pretty tight. Saturday’s game may not have given us a definitive answer as to who will be the successor to E.J. Manuel to begin with, but missing the full arsenal in the backfield makes it that much more difficult to see who stands out and who doesn’t.

Jimbo Fisher’s pistol-style offense, coupled with three quarterbacks who all bring their own unique abilities to the table, calls for all of the resources in the backfield to be there to create a fair assessment. There simply won’t be a clear answer to the question of “Which guy gives us the best chance to move the ball down the field successfully?” in regards to chemistry with the running backs.

And believe me, a QB’s relationship in today’s college football offensive world with the running backs has become just as prevalent as their relationship with the wide receivers.

Example: Success in running the read-option as well as the ability to throw the ball out of the backfield always creates more open opportunities down the field. Saturday, we have no way of telling which one of the three Seminoles have that chemistry with their two top backs. Seeing as these are situations that the Seminoles offense is based off of, it doesn’t really give much assessment room, now does it?

So if there was anyone out there that thought they were going to possibly get a clearer picture of the FSU QB situation coming out of Saturday, I’m sorry but that simply is not going to happen.


Jack is an ACC College Football Contributor for Rant Sports. Follow Jack on Twitter @FSUYankee14








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