Back to high school

Af­ter tough break, ex-FSU QB Maguire finds foot­ing coach­ing preps

Orlando Sentinel - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL - By Safid Deen

TAL­LA­HAS­SEE – Brian Carl­son, high school foot­ball coach of Florida State tight end Ryan Izzo, was in dire need of a quar­ter­back coach be­fore this sea­son.

De­spite hav­ing Su­per Bowl-win­ning quar­ter­back and NFL com­men­ta­tor Phil Simms oc­ca­sion­ally stop by Sparta Pope John XXIII Re­gional High in New Jersey to coach up his play­ers, Carl­son needed some­one to fill the po­si­tion full time and found his new hire in di­vine fashion.

In mid-July, Carl­son spot­ted Kevin Maguire, fa­ther of for­mer FSU quar­ter­back Sean Maguire, sit­ting “across the way” dur­ing Mass at Saint Ka­teri Church and in­stantly thought “What’s Sean Maguire do­ing?”

Sean Maguire, who par­tic­i­pated in rookie mini­camp with the Ten­nessee Ti­tans in May, moved back home and be­gan ad­just­ing to life af­ter play­ing foot­ball. He quickly as­sumed the open coach­ing po­si­tion and has even in­stalled a few Florida State plays in the Li­ons’ of­fense.

“I’m pray­ing to the Lord that I need a quar­ter­back coach and oh my God, there’s Mr. Maguire,” Carl­son re­called this week. “My prayers were an­swered right there. It was per­fect.”

Maguire, who be­came FSU’s starter in the fi­nal six games of the 2015 sea­son, has not fully re­cov­ered from frac­tur­ing his left an­kle in the Peach Bowl at sea­son’s end.

Maguire used the words “ter­ri­ble” and “shat­tered” to de­scribe his in­jured foot. He can’t even play a pickup game of bas­ket­ball just for fun be­cause of the pain.

A CT scan ear­lier this week re­vealed he will need an­other surgery, pos­si­bly at the end of this high school foot­ball sea­son, to fix the an­kle.

“It’s still killing me,” Maguire said Fri­day. “I’m done.”

Maguire has had sev­eral months to cope with his sit­u­a­tion. In­stead of at­tempt­ing a come­back in and out of NFL camps or in Canada, he opted to get a head start on a coach­ing ca­reer in­spired by FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher and quar­ter­backs coach Randy San­ders.

“Mak­ing this de­ci­sion not too long ago, peo­ple don’t know that’s my goal,” Maguire said. “I just want peo­ple to know I’m not coach­ing be­cause, ‘Oh, it’s like a fall­back.’

“I want to coach be­cause I want to be like the next Coach Fisher or Coach San­ders.”

Ev­ery­thing may have worked out di­vinely for Maguire, too. He landed in an ideal sit­u­a­tion to get his feet wet in the pro­fes­sion.

Pope John is in Maguire’s home­town, and the Li­ons are a top-10 team in the state of New Jersey that will play four top-5 teams this sea­son, giv­ing him an op­por­tu­nity to get his com­pet­i­tive juices flow­ing again.

Maguire did not wait long to in­stall FSU play calls he learned sit­ting be­hind quar­ter­backs like Jameis Win­ston, E.J. Manuel, Clint Trick­ett, Everett Gol­son and Deon­dre Fran­cois from 2012-2016 un­der the tute­lage of Fisher and San­ders, who will both turn 52 years old in less than a month.

“Ob­vi­ously not all of it, and not as com­pli­cated, but some con­cepts and ideas,” Maguire said.

One play in par­tic­u­lar Maguire’s new play­ers love calls for the quar­ter­back to roll out left af­ter a fake hand­off to the run­ning back, with the run­ning back run­ning a wheel route up the right side and a tight end run­ning in the flat on the same side of the field.

The Semi­noles have used the play at least twice be­fore.

Maguire hit Izzo for a 29-yard gain dur­ing a 27-2 win over Florida in 2015, while Semi­noles fans might dis­tinctly re­mem­ber Fran­cois con­nect­ing with a wideopen Dalvin Cook, who dropped a sure­fire touch­down at the 3-yard line against Ole Miss in the 2016 sea­son opener in Or­lando.

The Li­ons have not yet run the “gadget play, as Coach Fisher would call it.”

And Maguire knew bet­ter than to share FSU’s name for the play.

But it has a dis­tinct name in Maguire’s play­book: “Nole.”

“I see Coach San­ders, and I see Coach Fisher, and I’m like, ‘When I’m that age, I’d be able to do ex­actly what they do,’” Maguire said. “You sur­round your­self with peo­ple like that for five years, and you soak up how they go about life and how they go about coach­ing. I could see my­self do­ing that when I’m their age.”

Maguire, 23, hopes to become a col­lege foot­ball grad­u­ate as­sis­tant coach, as early as next sea­son, with the goal of some­day be­com­ing a po­si­tion coach or head coach. THE MAGUIRE FILE

“I’m not putting a ceil­ing on it,” Maguire said. “But I’m go­ing into it with an open mind, and just try­ing to learn as much as I can.”

Fisher — who once com­pli­mented Maguire as the “salt of the earth” — smiled wide upon hear­ing about Maguire im­ple­ment­ing FSU plays in his coach­ing scheme.

Fisher said Maguire’s knowl­edge of the game, his pas­sion and en­ergy, and how he can re­late and com­mu­ni­cate are all as­sets Maguire can de­pend on in his new ca­reer move. He also said Carl­son would have a hard time find­ing a bet­ter role model for the Pope John play­ers.

“You’re talk­ing about a guy that’s been through the whole gamut, knows what goes on, knows what’s hap­pen­ing, and still loves the game,” Fisher said af­ter Thurs­day’s prac­tice.

“I think that’s why Sean is so spe­cial. I’m happy for him be­cause you’re talk­ing about a great guy. He’s a great young man.”

Pope John’s of­fense got off to a great start with a 32-7 win over Mary­land’s Bishop McNa­mara on Sept. 2.

As Maguire nav­i­gates his way through his first sea­son as a coach, his tur­bu­lent ex­pe­ri­ence as a player could serve as a guid­ing light.

“Ev­ery­thing I learned along the road that this game has taught me, I think I’ll make a great coach in the fu­ture,” Maguire said. “It’s some­thing that I want to do, and it’s some­thing that I love do­ing now.”

STEPHEN M. DOWELL/STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

High point: Sean Maguire waves to the crowd af­ter lead­ing the Semi­noles to a win against Clem­son in 2014 in Tal­la­has­see.

SCOTT CUN­NING­HAM/ GETTY IMAGES

Sean Maguire, cen­ter, is helped off the field af­ter frac­tur­ing his an­kle dur­ing the Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome in At­lanta on Dec. 31, 2015. Maguire re­cently said he’s go­ing to need an­other surgery to re­lieve the on­go­ing pain in his foot.

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