It wasn't the plan going in.
Florida State's Jimbo Fisher admitted as much after the Garnet team beat the Gold 35-20 on Saturday afternoon at Doak Campbell Stadium. But the head coach also said the 91 pass attempts in the annual spring game — including 51 by starter EJ Manuel — was a terrific gauge of his personnel as the Seminoles wrapped up spring practice in front of an announced crowd of 40,631.
"We just wanted to work some guys and get some balls to different guys," Fisher said. "And I wanted to see our left tackle (Cameron Erving), who I thought played very well. And I wanted to see if he could sit there and block over and over again.
"I'm not worried about what I see from EJ. I know what he can do. I wanted to see what the left tackle and these receivers … could do. That's what the spring is for, and I'm coming out of here very pleased with that."
Fisher, who didn't call the offensive plays until the final drive of the game, said his assistants dialed up a few too many passes and he wished both teams would have run the ball more — they combined for 108 yards on 58 rushing attempts.
Manuel, quarterbacking the Gold, finished 28 of 51 for 255 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions — one of which was returned 49 yards for a touchdown by safety Terrence Brooks late in the second quarter.
"I should have just run the ball and moved on to the next play," Manuel said. "T-Brooks made a good play. Drove on it and took it to the house."
But as Fisher said in the postgame news conference, Saturday wasn't really about his starting quarterback. It was about his young receivers. His young tight ends. And his left tackle, who had to try to block All-America candidate Brandon Jenkins for nearly 50 pass attempts on Saturday afternoon.
Fisher was pleased with what he saw out of Erving, who switched from defensive tackle before spring began.
"I thought he played very well," Fisher said.
Jenkins finished with four tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack.
Said Erving: "I got mine and Brandon got his. At the end of the day it's only the small things that separate you. Brandon's going to make plays regardless. He's a great player. It's the small things we have to fine tune. So we're going to get the best of each other. Somebody's got to win every time."