Resolution of Florida State football's quarterback battle won't be announced until gameday
Not so fast, my friend.
In his final media availability before the Seminoles host No. 7 Notre Dame Sunday at 7:30 p.m. on ABC, FSU head coach Mike Norvell confirmed Thursday morning he doesn't plan on announcing whether it will be redshirt sophomore incumbent Jordan Travis or UCF graduate transfer McKenzie Milton leading the FSU offense.
"We're going to continue to go through the process. It'll be revealed when whoever runs out on the field at 7:44 on Sunday night," Norvell said.
"Like I said at the beginning of this, (the team) will know. We're excited about the quarterback room, the opportunity that's ahead for us. Those guys have competed really well. Excited about what we've seen."
It's quite possible the team knows who will get the first rep. After all, FSU offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham said at his press conference Tuesday that he wasn't sure how much this week could change how the Seminoles plan to use their quarterbacks.
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That being said, there's been little indication one way or the other which way the FSU coaching staff is leaning for some time.
Over the last few weeks of interviews, the only time one specific quarterback has been mentioned was when a question was asked about that particular quarterback. Any general question about the quarterbacks and their position battle has been met with a similarly generic answer that praises the unit without mentioning any individual standouts.
That being said, it's definitely more of a case of picking between two solid options instead of picking between the lesser of two evils.
"I'm really excited about that quarterback room and the competition that we have, the versatility of skill-sets which these guys bring," Norvell said Tuesday at his weekly press conference.
"We're always going to explore each opportunity of how we can put our playmakers in a position to be able to shine in a variety of different ways. I'm excited about that room and what they bring to this offense."
Throughout the preseason, Travis and Milton have split the majority of the first-team reps. In some ways, their skill-sets are quite similar. Both are quite athletic and capable of extending plays with their legs while both also have arm talent that can be a major asset.
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Whichever one it is, the rest of the FSU offense is extremely confident in them.
"Comfort level is 1,000% with whoever he decides to start the first game," FSU running back Jashaun Corbin said.
"Both guys are talented, both guys have made plays and put us in the right position to win."
Regardless of who wins the job, Sunday should be a special night for both of the contending quarterbacks.
For Milton, it will be his first time dressing out for a college football game since November of 2018 when he suffered a severe knee injury which nearly forced his right leg to be amputated.
It's a major milestone after an incredibly intensive recovery. It will be a moment he always believed would occur, but few others believed was possible.
"He's really excited. It's fun seeing him as he's getting into game week and an opportunity that is in front of us. It's gonna be a special moment. It's a special moment for him, all the work that's gone into it to get to this point," Norvell said.
"The way that, since January, he's come into this team and really been able to invest in his teammates. He's had to learn a new language, he's had to learn a new offense and he's really adapted well. I think he's made not only the quarterback room, but made this football team better. Sunday night is gonna be special for him. I'm excited about what he brings and what the future is going to hold as he continues on this path for this season that's ahead."
If that quote leads you to think Milton will be the Seminoles' starter, he had something similar to say for Travis.
For Travis, Sunday's game may be a chance to show the strides he's made this offseason. He was extremely limited last season, missing a lot of the Seminoles' preseason camp due to an injury, but still became their most explosive offensive player when he was first put in at quarterback in the third game of the season against Jacksonville State.
He was FSU's leading rusher last season, but struggled in expected passing downs. That being said, a full offseason has benefitted him greatly as he's made real strides as a passer since the end of the 2020 season.
Few people expected Travis to push the quarterback battle this close to the Notre Dame game. The fact that it hasn't yet been announced speaks to how good Travis has been and that he should have some kind of role this season, even if he doesn't get the first snap against the Fighting Irish.
"You look back to last year, it's almost unfair to judge Jordan off that season. He missed all of fall camp. I think the first week he practiced was week one going into the first week. With all the opportunities, he was just kind of thrown into it..." Norvell said.
"Now, you fast forward that, to have a complete offseason, to have spring practice, to have a fall camp, he's grown each and every day. I think he's an incredible quarterback. I think he's got a great future in front of him as he's gaining in that confidence. Anybody that watched the spring game, you see the steps that he's taken as a player. He's invested. I'm excited about Jordan's future and what he means to this program, just that continued growth."
It's also quite possible both Milton and Travis are used in some capacity against Notre Dame and going forward.
Whatever the resolution will be, it's thankfully only a few days away.
Florida State vs. No. 7 Notre Dame
When: Sunday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium
TV/Radio: ABC/94.9 FM
Reach Curt Weiler at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @CurtMWeiler.
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