- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Before spring practice started, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher and Jameis Winston acknowledged that, despite leading the Seminoles to an undefeated season and national championship while breaking several school records, the Heisman winner still needs to evolve as a passer.
Winston is alternating between throwing from the quarterback's pocket and the pitcher’s mound this spring, limiting his time to focus on mechanics. Two weeks ago, Winston laid out his spring goals; to hold the football higher and generate more power with his hips during his delivery. Fisher and quarterbacks coach Randy Sanders proposed the tweaks to Winston following the national championship game.
Through nine practices, Fisher said Winston’s adjusted well to the tinkering “at times” but that it’s still a work in progress. That isn’t unexpected, however, as Winston toys with his mechanics, which are never easy for a quarterback to alter, while also splitting his time between football and baseball.
“He hasn’t played up to his capability. He’s missed some throws,” Fisher said. “That’s part of it, you have to grind through it. Not everything is a utopia.”
Fisher didn’t absolve Winston, but he mentioned that his third-year quarterback is also dealing with a wide receivers unit with little experience outside of senior Rashad Greene. Fisher blistered the group Monday for its lack of production this spring, specifically for its inability to get open and catch the ball. He said the receiving corps took strides in the right direction Wednesday, though.
“I think a big part of it is players around him aren’t playing as consistent. When the receivers are getting to your points, it allows you play fast and lets those things to happen,” he said.
Overall, Fisher was much more upbeat Wednesday than after Monday’s scrimmage, when he admonished the Seminoles for “laziness” and “unacceptable” mental mistakes. He was pleased with how the team responded to his message regard the need to remain motivated despite coming off a two-year run which produced a national championship and a 26-2 record.
“We got a lot more done. I thought we threw and caught the ball a lot better and ran the ball much better. And at times, the defense did some good things,” he said. “The intensity was much better and what a practice should be.
“... We’re not going to have a bad culture, a lazy culture or a soft culture.”
5dDavid M. Hale
5dDavid M. Hale