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Published September 13, 2015
The ongoing sexual assault investigation of Florida State's Jameis Winston has not altered the Seminoles' routine. The quarterback took his normal amount of practice snaps this week as the second-ranked Seminoles prepared for Idaho.
The Vandals (1-9) may present Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher an opportunity to brace for a life-without-Winston scenario and get backup quarterback Sean Maguire some much-needed playing time.
"If we're playing well and we're ahead we may try to do some things like that," Fisher said. "If not, we've got to win the ballgame. We've got to do what we've got to do."
Winston could be suspended if charged with a crime. Florida State has a conduct/discipline policy that states all student-athletes who are charged with a felony are suspended from game participation "until such time as the charge is resolved and all court, university and athletics department conditions for reinstatement have been met."
A student-athlete charged with a misdemeanor is subject to the coach's discipline and may not participate in game action until after any required jail time is served. There is some leniency built into the policy that doesn't require a suspension due to "extraordinary circumstances as determined by the administration."
State Attorney Willie Meggs said Friday that he has "four to five" more things that still need to be done before a final decision is made on whether to bring charges against Winston. Meggs did not have a timetable for the investigation to be completed.
The Seminoles have lopsided 59-3 wins the last two weeks — those came against ACC teams with a combined 9-11 record. Idaho has the second-worst scoring defense out of 123 teams in the FBS, allowing 45.7 points per game.
Maguire, a redshirt freshman, could play the entire second half for the second consecutive week. He was bumped up from the third-string last week when Jacob Coker underwent knee surgery.
"The things he's doing in practice, the consistency, made some really nice throws," Fisher said. "Couple times I looked back and said, 'Man, who was that throwing? Was that Jameis or was that him?' Just throwing the ball, understanding where to go with it, blitz pick-up and reads.
"Sean can throw that football. He's got a very good arm and he moves around very well."
The Seminoles finish the regular season at Florida next week then will represent the Atlantic Division in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.
Here are five things to watch when Idaho plays No. 2 Florida State on Saturday:
SENIOR DAY: The Seminoles have 24 seniors playing their last game at home on Saturday. This was Fisher's first class that set the tone for the rebirth of the program. Cornerback Lamarcus Joyner headlined the group that committed despite Florida State coming off a 7-6 season with coach Bobby Bowden retiring. That was one of the top recruiting classes in the country and laid the foundation for the current run toward the national championship game. Defensive end Christian Jones said, "We knew we wanted to change the environment because things here were kind of off a little bit."
GETTING CLOSER: Receiver Rashad Greene has put up 860 yards receiving and nine touchdowns on 54 receptions. The Seminoles haven't had a 1,000-yard receiver since Anquan Boldin in 20002. Greene could easily have 140 yards to reach 1,000 against an Idaho team that ranked No. 121 in total defense. He is currently No. 8 in Florida State history with 2,197 career yards.
PUNT, PUNT, PUNT: The Idaho punt unit will likely see plenty of time on the field Saturday. The Seminoles opponents have averaged eight punts per game in three of their last four games. The Vandals at least have one of the best in the country with freshman Austin Rehkow. He leads the nation with an average of 47.7 yards per punt.
BALL HAWKS: The Seminoles continue to take the ball away at an expeditious rate. The team has 25 turnovers, including an FBS-high 19 interceptions. The school record is 25 interceptions set in 1968 and 1991 — and Florida State has four games to reach that number. The Vandals were picked off four times against Old Dominion two weeks ago.
HEISMAN WATCH: Winston remains a front-runner in the race for the Heisman Trophy. He's thrown for 2,938 yards passing with an ACC freshman record 28 touchdowns to go with a 70.9 completion percentage. The No. 1 offense could have a short day, again, with the Seminoles expected to put up plenty of points early. The sexual assault investigation may affect Heisman voters, but Winston should put up worthy numbers again to keep pace with Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Alabama's A.J. McCarron and Baylor's Bryce Petty.