Florida State announced today that former Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson did not travel with the team to Atlanta for the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. It's not the ending that either of the two parties wanted, but Golson's short tenure at Florida State did have a lot of positives for the program.
Florida State was not set up for a great year this season on the offensive side of the ball with just four starters returning and one combined start between the quarterbacks on the roster. Golson provided the answer to that problem after he transferred in from Notre Dame. He came in and earned the starting quarterback job during fall camp. He started the first seven games of the season for the Seminoles and led them to a 6-1 record and another win over rival Miami before losing the starting job to Sean Maguire.
Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher stated in one of his press conferences earlier this season that Golson was clearly the best quarterback for the job to start the season.
"I mean, at that time there was no doubt that Everett was the best quarterback," Fisher said. "I think Everett coming here has been a great thing for us. It's been a huge thing for us. I think he's played great football. He was the second leading passer in the conference. When we were 6-0 and had a tough loss on a freak kick at Georgia Tech. Was playing tremendous football for us."
That doesn't mean that Golson regressed though. He struggled at times behind a very inexperienced, and injury plagued, offensive line with receivers that were inconsistent during the first half of the season.
Maguire clearly progressed throughout the season, however, and the quarterback that started against Syracuse barely resembled the quarterback that ran the first team for Florida State's spring game. Fisher believes that having Golson there to push Maguire helped him greatly.
"I think Sean's relaxed a little bit as much as anything," Fisher said. "With the competition where Everett won it, and he did win it, he said, 'I'm going to be the best that I can be.' He took some pressure off of himself in a weird way of just practicing, getting better, and when the opportunity comes, just go play the game.
I'm ain't so sure losing that hasn't been, in a weird way, the best thing for him in the big picture. To where he's relaxed and now he's playing and you see the abilities that he has and what he can do."
Now Florida State has a quarterback that has faced a great deal of adversity, as well as a few younger, but highly talented quarterbacks, on the roster for 2016. Whoever wins the job next year will be in a much better situation than the one they would have been in this year if not for Golson. The Seminoles will return all 11 starters on offense in 2016 if Maguire wins the job.
Even though it didn't end the way either party wanted, they got what they needed out of the other. Golson got a chance to start this season, and Florida State got an experienced quarterback that helped bridge the gap in the a rebuilding year. The Seminoles are currently 10-2 on the season, on the verge of their fourth straight Top-10 finish, and in one of the New Year's Six bowl games. Does that happen without Golson? Probably not, and for that, Florida State should be thankful.