TALLAHASSEE | At this time a year ago, Florida State reserve quarterback Sean Maguire frequently found himself flustered before a play even began.


The Seminoles’ complex defense features two deep safeties who will often rotate as the ball is snapped, creating a complicated guessing game in practices for Maguire.

After working closely with starter Jameis Winston and quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders, Maguire is seeing things more clearly as he heads into his sophomore season.

“Last year or two years ago, when you’re getting the snap, you’re thinking about everything, the routes, who’s unblocked, the coverages,” Maguire said. “Now, there’s certain things right when you snap the ball you don’t have to worry because you know you’re fine with protection, you know where you’re going with the ball because of the defense.

“Yeah, I would say the game’s slowing down.”

Last season’s fall camp featured an open battle to be the starting quarterbback. Winston and Jacob Coker clashed for the starting job, and Maguire was essentially a third wheel.

But Maguire became relevant midway through the season following a knee injury to Coker that occurred almost simultaneously with the reactivation of a sexual assault investigation involving Winston, who could have been suspended if he was charged with a felony.

From third string to possible starter for a team competing for a national title, Maguire was no longer an afterthought.

“Last year I got the experience of going into a game knowing you were one play away,” Maguire said.

Maguire (6-3, 220 pounds) played in some games, but did not take a meaningful snap because Winston was not charged with a crime.

Still, the way Maguire acclimated himself to the stressful situation gave FSU coach Jimbo Fisher confidence in him.

Coker transferred to Alabama this offseason, elevating Maguire to No. 2 on the depth chart.

Maguire was solid in the spring, going 15-of-28 for 203 yards and one touchdown in the spring game, and has built on that performance with a strong preseason camp.

“A quarterback’s first job is not to lose the football game, to be able to get the ball and distribute the ball to the guys who get it at the right times,” Fisher said. “He’s understanding getting us in and out of the right plays in the run game, making the right decisions [with] the pass. And even when he’s missing with balls, he’s missing in a safe zone and missing smart with the ball.

“You can build trust in him. I’m very proud of his knowledge and what’s going on.”

Third-string quarterback John Franklin is now working primarily with receivers because Fisher feels comfortable with Maguire’s improvement.