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Dillingham: ‘Best 11’ could mean multiple QBs on field

One of the biggest questions of the offseason will of course be continuing well into Florida State’s camp: Who will be the starting quarterback? 

But a variation of the question is also amusing: Could FSU coaches conceive of playing two quarterbacks on the same play? When the Osceola asked Florida State’s offensive coordinator that question on Friday, the answer was nothing short of intriguing.

“I think we’re going to put the best players on the field,” Kenny Dillingham said. “If that’s two quarterbacks, that’s two quarterbacks. If that’s three quarterbacks, it’s three. It’s four, it’s four. We’re gonna put the best 11 guys on the football field, the best 11 playmakers on the football field, and try to get them the ball within good numbers, with leverage and space, which is grass.”

There’s a lot to unpack in Dillingham’s answer, not the least of which is wrapping your head around the idea of a four-quarterback formation. Perhaps the fact he didn’t brush off a question about the concept of using two quarterbacks, including on the same play, should amuse fans and keep defensive coordinators thinking.

FSU coach Mike Norvell’s answer was more diplomatic and suggested the quarterback competition will remain wide open between McKenzie Milton, Jordan Travis, Tate Rodemaker and Chubba Purdy as the Seminoles prepare for the opener against Notre Dame on Sept. 5.

“Every quarterbacks is going to have an opportunity to get reps with the first group and show what they’re able to do,” Norvell said. “And as the performance shows, those opportunities are going to continue to expand for them as they earn them.”

Norvell invited Milton and Travis to the ACC Kickoff media event in July in Charlotte, N.C., and it’s fair to say they are the frontrunners in the quarterback competition as preseason practice begins on Saturday. If you’re expecting an announcement from Norvell anytime soon, well, don’t. It’s likely to go deep into August and likely the days ahead of the Notre Dame-FSU game on Sept. 5.

In Dillingham’s view, each quarterback offers something different. “You don’t want carbon copies, right?” he said. Dillingham feels the quarterbacks are competing and bringing out the best in each other. He feels people have run with a narrative – that Travis is being pushed by Milton – but he also saw how much Travis helped Milton learn the offense in the months since he arrived in January.

“McKenzie may push Jordan in some way, Jordan may push him in another,” Dillingham said. “But Chubba may push McKenzie in another, and Tate may push Jordan in another. So when you have these different skill sets they can all learn from each other. And that is truly what our quarterback room, our dynamic is about. We’re together just to be the very best each individual person can possibly be. We’re gonna challenge each other to grow, grow, grow, grow, grow.”