Nearly every Seminole football fan I know has been walking around wearing an ear-to-ear grin since Florida State’s spring game. It’s an understatement to say Jameis Winston has Seminole Nation excited.
Not even the sudden -- but not unexpected -- departure of Clint Trickett seems to worry many Seminole fans and, I think, for good reason. From every thing I know about Trickett he is a fine young man and a competent college quarterback. But for the football expectations at FSU to be met, more than a competent quarterback is required.
I’m not saying Winston will be another Charlie Ward or Chris Weinke but it is possible. Winston is a superb athlete and possesses all of the necessary skills to be a national championship-caliber quarterback. If FSU is to return to the status of being a national championship contender, it will need a Jameis Winston playing at his best, not a Clint Trickett. Sure, Trickett as a backup would be nice, but there are other options.
Absolutely it is unfair to already being making comparisons of Winston to Ward and Weinke, both Heisman Trophy winners who led FSU to national titles, but that’s the sports world we live in. The comparisons pick up steam because, like his star-studded predecessors, Winston, too, is a two-sport star. He already has made his mark on the FSU baseball team. Ward, of course, was an FSU basketball star as well as a two-year starter at quarterback and went on to have a 10-year career in the NBA. Weinke played seven seasons of pro baseball before enrolling at FSU and taking advantage of the football scholarship he was offered by FSU out of high school.
Before FSU football fans complain about Winston playing baseball and not devoting all of his athletic time to football, remember this: He probably wouldn’t even be a Seminole if it weren’t for baseball. Coming out of high school in Alabama as a 5-star quarterback recruit, some schools shied away from Winston because he was considered a good candidate to be a high first-round pick in the Major League Baseball draft. Other schools were cool to him playing two sports, but not FSU. Give football coach Jim Fisher and baseball Mike Martin a thumbs up for working together.
Winston quickly went off the radar at FSU because while he redshirted last fall Seminole Nation was all excited about being in the national title hunt with senior E.J. Manuel under center. An early season loss to N.C. State pretty much killed those dreams. Winston stayed in the shadows because when Manuel was injured it was Trickett who stepped in and played well enough to offer hope for the future.
But surely Fisher and his staff had to know if Trickett beat out Winston for the starting job this season it wouldn’t be a good sign. The general thinking was Trickett would win the job for the season opener but eventually lose it to Winston. If not, it would probably mean Winston wasn’t as talented as advertised.
Obviously Fisher saw enough during spring practice to know he needed to make the move now. Apparently so, too, did Trickett. Now Trickett may lead, say, a Valdosta State-type program to a national title but that’s another story.
Return to: Lamm at Large Blog