The depth chart says Jordan Travis or McKenzie Milton.
It may as well read Jordan Travis and McKenzie Milton.
FSU coach Mike Norvell showed no intentions of naming a starter throughout the preseason, leading up to the Notre Dame and certainly not Wednesday morning as the Seminoles continued preparing for Jacksonville State. While fans and media are seeking a definitive and singular answer, offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham gave a candid and intriguing response.
“I think the key is making a team prepare for both,” Dillingham said. “Regardless of how much both are used it’s the thought that both can play. That’s the key. Every coach in America is petrified of the unknown. They are not going to go into a game not prepared. We’ll stay up to 1 a.m. making sure we have a plan for everything. Just the thought process of both of those guys can play within a game, whether they both play or they both don’t play, just the thought process of that can drive people crazy. And it makes you prepare for it. And it makes you go teach it to your players.
“In coaching, you live in a paranoid world. So our goal is to keep people as paranoid as possible.”
Travis started and completed 9 of 19 passes for 130 yards, two touchdown passes and three interceptions (he also ran for 31 yards and a touchdown). But Travis was clearly wearing out in the early stages of the fourth quarter and, when his helmet was popped off, Norvell sent in Milton.
In his first game in nearly three years, Milton completed 5 of 7 passes for 48 yards and also ran three times for six yards.
Each quarterback brings a different talent to the table. Travis’ greatest asset is his ability to evade pressure, but he’s shown inconsistency when throwing on the run with the interceptions. Milton’s greatest assets are his experience as well as delivering passes from the pocket while under pressure, often with various arm slot angles, but while he is mobile he isn’t nearly as elusive as Travis and could get hit or sacked more.
Norvell has frequently praised Travis and Milton and given very little indication as to who would start.
“We’re excited about that group,” Norvell said. “What Jordan showed is remarkable. He’s got some things he has to clean up from last week. Seeing McKenzie come in and the impact he made, it’s pretty special. We got a great quarterback room.”
For the time, and perhaps the long term, it would appear they plan to use both quarterbacks.
“I get hung up on we played who we felt gave us the best chance to win,” Dillingham said. “And we’re going to continue to do that.”