- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Jameis Winston is still unsure what Florida State is playing for in 2014. The goal is to win consecutive national championships, that much is certain. He’s just awaiting word on what exactly he’ll be carrying with him on the plane home from Dallas.
“We want to go out there and keep the crystal ball -- or whatever trophy it is -- in Tallahassee,” Winston said. “We don’t want anybody to take our prize.”
Wednesday marked the opening of spring practice for the reigning champions, who will likely be the preseason No. 1. The Waterford crystal football, which Winston laid lips on two months ago, will not be awarded to the national champions in Dallas, the site of the first playoff title game.
Whichever piece of hardware is eventually settled on, Winston knows simply repeating his Heisman numbers from 2013 won’t be enough to hoist it. With significant losses at receiver, running back and throughout the defense, the coaching staff is counting on Winston to continue maturing.
“I think you are always learning as a competitor different situations, different scenarios, how you impact your teammates in different ways consistently,” Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said. “I think the knowledge of his offense and the things that he can do and make those decisions that much quicker, see reads that much quicker, even recognizing coverages and blitzes. ... He must continue to grow.”
Not even three weeks after Winston led the game-winning drive in the BCS championship game he traded D-ends for DHs, though. He missed most of the winter workouts with the football team and will miss Saturday’s spring practice. He will try to make up for lost time by working on his mechanics, a part of his game he can work on during his limited amount of free time. Fisher and quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders have already alerted Winston to a few tweaks they would like to see by the April 12 spring game.
“Holding the ball a little higher and my hips. I have to get my hips into the ball that I throw,” Winston said. “Coach Fisher being a perfectionist and Coach Sanders is actually the one to bring that to my attention a lot. He is always on me, and I know Coach Fisher is always on him about me.
“I always want to get better. I’m never going to be the type of guy that just sits back and just lets things go. I’m going to get better on my hips, get the ball up higher, and I’m going to start throwing rockets.”
Fisher lauded the efforts of Winston and the rest of his team through the first day of spring. The fifth-year coach said this 2014 team could be further along at this point than any of his previous teams.
“We had a good practice [Wednesday]. Missed assignments and a couple little things but very pleased with our knowledge of what we were doing and executed for a first day pretty good,” Fisher said.
1dDavid M. Hale
2dDavid M. Hale