Florida State Press Conference: Jameis Winston

fsuQ. Few college athletes in history have had the kind of freshman season that you had and your team had. How hard is it not to be satisfied, and as follow-up, has Kelvin Benjamin officially made you a Panthers fan?

JAMEIS WINSTON: Well, in your question you said it all: All team. We had a very successful season because of our team. I was blessed to have an opportunity to play with Kelvin, and no, I’m still not a Panthers fan, but I am a Cam Newton and KB fan. I am an Eagles fan, to answer that.

Q. How hard is it not to be satisfied?

JAMEIS WINSTON: It’s not hard at all. It’s really easy because we always play with a chip on our shoulder and we have high expectations, and we know if we become complacent or we become off in any way that we will lose.

Q. This time last year the ACC was still a conference looking for respect in football. With your national championship and Clemson’s BCS win, how much pride do you take in what the league was able to accomplish with you being a major part of it?

JAMEIS WINSTON: How about that, man, taking the rein from the SEC, huh? We are the national champions in this conference, and that’s important to me because people do need to respect the ACC more. We had 11 teams with a winning record last year, and that’s good. I mean, we have competition here. We’ve got people getting drafted everywhere from this conference.  I believe that Florida State, we helped gain that respect, and hopefully we can continue that.

Q. You had a phenomenal year, leading your team to a National Championship, winning the Heisman, All-ACC offensive honors and yet incredibly you threw two picks in the ACC Championship Game. You normally excel in throwing the ball in tight windows. What was up with those two picks?

JAMEIS WINSTON: Well, Duke had a great game plan, and I’m glad I threw those two picks because it helped motivate me not to throw no pick in the national championship game. Duke gave me a wake-up call definitely, great defense, and it was about putting points on the board, really. Quarterbacks are going to have those games where they throw picks, and it’s my job to bounce back from it, and I definitely wasn’t scared to throw the ball because it was bombs over bag dad.

Q. You always have that positive attitude. You talked about it’s not hard to stay hungry. What can you say about this team moving forward with a few weapons that are gone but still you under center?

JAMEIS WINSTON: Well, as a quarterback it’s my job to influence those guys to play on levels that they never expected themselves to play on, and that’s what I look forward to doing. As long as they buy in, because our new guys, they’re ready, locked and loaded. They’re anxious and they’re working so hard this summer. I believe we’re going to have a ton of success this year, just because of the mentality that we have at Florida State and the way we do things.

Q. Looking at your schedule, you come out the gate against Oklahoma State in short of a shifty game in Dallas, neutral site. Talk about that game and just the odd circumstances of being in a third-party —

JAMEIS WINSTON: Let me tell you something, dawg. There ain’t nothing odd about playing in Jerry World right now. We’re looking forward to being on that big stage and representing the ACC and hopefully get a victory over a great Oklahoma State team.

Q. Syracuse, another venue you get to play in in the Carrier Dome. What do you know about the Carrier Dome and what are your thoughts about playing up there?

JAMEIS WINSTON: Well, I know very little about the Carrier Dome, other than Syracuse football team and basketball team playing in there. I’m down for exciting fields. Anywhere we’re playing football, I’m with it.

Q. You talked a little bit about the respect in the ACC. What do you think about the new team on the block, Louisville?

JAMEIS WINSTON: Louisville has had some great seasons, especially the past two years, with BCS — well, not last year but the previous year with beating Florida in the Sugar Bowl, and any team to help improve the ACC and any team that we can bring in to get people to watch us play, I’m all for it, because I look forward to playing Louisville on Thursday in the cold Kentucky environment. It’s going to be fun.

Q. What you went through in the off-season, did it change the way you look at people, the way you look at the media, and the way you look at law enforcement, the way all that was handled?

JAMEIS WINSTON: Definitely not, because I fixed everything. I was cleared, and I mean, I’ve got to hold myself to a certain standard that the media may view me in, that the regular people may view me in, but I know I can do that because I’ve learned the true definition of being a leader and being a leader on and off the field. As a leader for the Florida State Seminoles, I not only have to respect the name on the back of my jersey, but I have a great university that is looking for me to be a great student athlete, and more importantly I have teammates that are counting on me. Accountability is something that’s very important to me, and so, yes, I have learned, and I’ve learned that leadership is more important playing the quarterback position than anything else.

Q. You rolled right into baseball season after football and workouts and whatnot. Have you taken a break at all and are you ready for football?

JAMEIS WINSTON: Of course I’m ready for football, man, what kind of question is that? I’m always ready. I haven’t taken a true break, but I have had a week off before I started training with the team. That was useless because I still was doing things. Of course I’m looking forward to this season, man, get a chance to represent the ACC, the reigning national champions. We’re trying to do it again.

Q. We’ve had lots of conversations in here this morning about the quality of offensive lines in the ACC. Most feel like you played behind the best. You lost one or two guys but you’ve still got Cameron Erving and a lot of great people in front of you. How good are the guys playing in front of you and how much comfort do they give you?

JAMEIS WINSTON: Well, our offensive line is the best offensive line in the country, and I repeat that Florida State’s offensive line is the best offensive line in the country. But it’s great, man. It’s great being around those guys and seeing their different personalities, from Cam and Josue and a new addition with Austin Barron, but he actually played before all of them as a true freshman. You have Bobby Hart, my right tackle, and Tre, my right guard. We recruited a couple big-time offensive linemen, too. One thing with coach Trickett, our offensive line is never going to be slacking. I’ll tell you that right now, because they’re the hardest working group that we’ve got on our team. I know P.J. my other teammates might disagree with that, but I’ve seen it. Our offensive line works so hard, and that’s why I’m confident to say that we have the best offensive line in the country.

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Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.


The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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