TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Although he’s not able to play, at least not for a while, Sean Maguire still believes he can help the Florida State football team. That’s the attitude that Maguire, a fifth-year senior quarterback, is hoping to maintain as he sets out on the road to recovery from surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot. Maguire was scheduled to have the operation on Monday and, if all goes well, could be in uniform for FSU’s home opener against Charleston Southern on Sept. 10.
“I’m going to be there for all the quarterbacks,” Maguire said at FSU’s media day on Sunday. “Got to help Deondre (Francois), got to help Malik (Henry), got to help J.J. (Cosentino). Their roles all got a lot more important over the last 24 hours.”
It’s a role that Maguire knows a little too well.
The New Jersey native has had a particularly painful 2016, starting with a fractured left ankle he suffered in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on New Year’s Eve.
Maguire played through the pain on that day and threw for 392 yards and two touchdowns, but he also tossed four interceptions as the Seminoles lost to Houston, 38-24.
A few days later, Maguire had ankle surgery that required him to miss all of spring practice.
He made his way back for the start of fall camp last week, only to notice that his right foot started to feel “funny” on Wednesday.
At first, he thought the discomfort had just come from his new shoes. Two days later, though, Maguire said the pain was “unbearable.”
That’s when he went for an MRI and received the news.
“The past three days have been real, real tough,” Maguire said. “Seeing guys on the team, how much they care about me, these coaches, that’s kind of my main motivation, is to be 100 percent.”
Maguire has found comfort in his teammates, particularly receiver Bobo Wilson and safety Derwin James, each of whom have been through similarly injuries.
James is still on the mend, although he appears close to a return after about a month of recovery.
“I talked to him about it a lot,” Maguire said. “… They caught it even earlier than they caught Derwin’s. Derwin is out there (after) three and a half weeks. He participated in half a practice yesterday.
“You never know how it’s going to go. Every person reacts differently. The fact that there’s a chance I could be back moving and doing things in three weeks is pretty positive.”
Until then, Maguire is determined to stay involved as much as he can.
That means showing up to every practice and attending every quarterbacks meeting. And it means sharing all of his insight and observations with Francois, FSU’s likely starter against Ole Miss.
Given the magnitude of FSU’s first opponent – a team from the Southeastern Conference coming off of a 10-3 season a ranked 12th to start the season – the Seminoles will likely need all hands on deck.
“I told him, what he’s getting ready to do these next couple of weeks while he’s injured could have as big of an impact on the team as anything else,” said Randy Sanders, FSU’s quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator.
“Because he has an opportunity to go out and share what he sees in practice. Sometimes when you’re not actually practicing, you’re standing back and you’re watching it, you get a totally different perspective. And sometimes you pick things up that could be invaluable for other guys.”
Francois, meanwhile, said he’s glad to have Maguire in his corner.
“(Sean has been) very encouraging,” Francois said. “Even before the injury, if I had a question, I didn’t have to go to Coach Fisher or Coach Sanders. I could ask Sean, because he’s been here longer than I have. He knows more than I know.”
That said, Maguire hasn’t given up on his goal for this season, and that’s to be Florida State’s quarterback.
His path to that goal was just hit with yet another obstacle, but Maguire clearly isn’t one to back down from a fight.
After all, against advice from friends and high school coaches, he signed in the same recruiting class as Jameis Winston. And he stuck with the Seminoles after graduate transfer Everett Golson earned the nod at quarterback to start of last season. And he finished that Peach Bowl game, despite obviously favoring his foot every time he stepped into a throw.
So what’s one more hill to climb?
“Yeah, it’s been a roller coaster,” Maguire said. “Competition brings out the best in people. I know that’s a cliché answer, but you know what? When all of this is said and done, I know I’m a better player for it and a better person as well.”