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Dedondre Francois will start for FSU in season opener

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The fourth-ranked Florida State football team completed the final practice of fall camp at the Albert J. Dunlap Athletic Training Facility on Saturday. The team ironed out looks from the scout team on both sides of the ball as the Seminoles prepare to open the season against No. 11 Ole Miss on Sept. 5 at the Camping World Kickoff in Orlando.

For the second straight practice, redshirt senior quarterback Sean Maguire took some reps as he returns from foot surgery.

“They said the other day he was healing pretty well, they wanted him to come out and get him some throws and reps,” Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “I said, ‘ok.’ I’m going to play it by ear and see how he feels, he said he felt good, felt like he thought he would, (so) come back out and throw again today and do some drops. Just keep working.”

After practice, Fisher officially announced that redshirt freshman quarterback Deondre Francois will start the season-opener against the Rebels.

“Most definitely, Deondre (Francois) will start the opener,” Fisher said.

The redshirt freshman signal-caller from Orlando was the presumptive choice to take over the starting job after assuming first team reps when Maguire was injured the first week of camp.

With Francois entrenched as the starter, redshirt sophomore J.J. Cosentino has received second team reps. Fisher said he doesn’t know yet if Maguire will be available against Ole Miss.

After stressing the importance of “mental toughness” and preparation throughout fall camp, Fisher said that he is pleased with the mental makeup of the team following weeks of grueling practices.

“There’s been some hot practices, I know that,” Fisher said. “You have been out here, there’s been some long, hot practices. They’ve worked pretty well, so hopefully we’ll be strong enough. Let me be honest with you on mental toughness, I don’t think you ever have enough. I think it’s one of those things you’re trying to raise the bar on constantly because you’ll never know what challenges are out there.”

With a quarterback set to make his first career start in the opener, the Seminoles are also replacing multi-year starters on special teams with true freshmen vying for spots at both kicker and punter. Fisher seemed pleased with the progress of the young specialists.

“I’ll tell you what, we’ve punted the ball really well,” Fisher said. “(Freshman kicker Ricky Aguayo) kicked it good today. Our kickoffs are going really great. Right now, I think they’ve done a nice job. The last two or three days have been really good.”