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Taggart: Blackman ‘fired up’ to start

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James Blackman had to deal with the pain of not winning a quarterback competition in 2018.

But in the last few days, it’s been a complete reversal.

Florida State coach Willie Taggart said he and offensive coordinator Kendal Briles delivered the news to James Blackman that he was the starter. And the response was as anyone would expect.

“He was excited,” Taggart said. “Coach Briles and I sat down and spoke with him, gave him the news. He was fired up. He’s excited about leading this football team. He’s fired up and ready to go.”

Taggart also expressed confidence in Blackman and Wisconsin graduate transfer Alex Hornibrook. Their performances this preseason were “almost identical,” and FSU’s official depth chart lists Blackman as the starter, Hornibrook as the backup and Jordan Travis as the No. 3 option.

“We feel good about the quarterback position,” Taggart said. “We feel like we have two guys there that can start a football game for us.”

Taggart said he hasn’t “gotten that far into game planning” and the coaches are undecided about playing two quarterbacks in FSU’s opener against Boise State on Saturday.

“We just figured out who are No. 1 quarterback is,” Taggart said. “… We feel good knowing that Alex can go in there and execute our offense.”

Taggart also noted that defensive tackle Marvin Wilson is moving well and is “ready to go” after missing more than a week due to a knee injury. Wide receiver Tamorrion Terry (knee) is also running and cutting, although Taggart said the coaches haven’t pushed him hard in practices.

Depth chart released

While the depth chart notes an “or” at right guard for Dontae Lucas and Mike Arnold, Taggart had previously told ESPN Tallahassee’s Jeff Cameron that Lucas would start. Lucas will be the first true freshman offensive lineman to start a season opener since Rodney Hudson in 2007.

Among the true freshmen on the defensive depth chart as backups are cornerback Renardo Green and free safety Akeem Dent. Travis Jay is listed as the backup punt returner to D.J. Matthews.

Keith Gavin and Keyshawn Helton are the starting kick returners.