Jameis Winston was billed as a dual-threat quarterback out of high school, but it wasn't until FSU's game at Boston College that the redshirt freshman finally had a chance to showcase his wheels.
So far this season, Winston's been content to carve opposing defenses from the pocket in the passing game. To boot, most opponents have remained in zone coverage, attempting to force Winston into a mistake.
That tactic hasn't worked so well so far, and Boston College tried to change course. The Eagles aggressively blitzed, even on first and second downs, and spent plenty of time in man coverage. Winston said after the game he was surprised the Eagles showed as much man-to-man as they did, daring him to run.
He obliged them. With 14 carries for 67 yards, Winston was FSU's leading rusher at Boston College. Winston actually gained 96 yards but was sacked four times as well.
"Jimbo tells me: make plays with your brain, make plays with your arm, and let your legs, you were blezzed with speed - a little speed - so when you've got to pull it down just pull it down," Winston said.
Winston also managed to get through 14 carries without taking a significant hit, ducking out of bounds or sliding when necessary after picking up the first down. But despite the leg work on Saturday, Winston said he'd still rather work with his arm - even against a Maryland team that has both injuries in the secondary and a propensity to pressure the quarterback.
Winston said he still waits as long as possible before taking off - in fact he said a few of the sacks he's taken were a byproduct of waiting too long.
"It's always pass-first," Winston said. "That's the job of a quarterback. It's your job to get it to other guys. But it's a blessing when you've got speed and you've got talent like that; when you've got to get out of there you've got to."
LB's STEP UP
After Florida State was gouged yet again by the running game last Saturday, Jimbo Fisher said one cause was uncharacteristically passive play from the Seminole linebackers.
"A couple of times if our backers take two or three more steps we're blowing them up for a 3-yard loss," Fisher said. "We're waiting on guys and letting them bounce some things. We should have been shooting through the holes."
The linebacking unit is one of the deepest and most experienced on Florida State's defense with seniors Christian Jones and Telvin Smith, and the pair said correcting those mistakes was a focus heading into a game against Maryland's dual-threat quarterback and versatile running game.
"Just be more aggressive downhill," Smith said. "but again, you can't be too aggressive because then they'll play action you. You've just got to feel the game. Teams are going to do a lot of stuff on us because we've been exposed a few times."
Jones said the mistakes came down to minor technique things, hitting blockers on the outside shoulder instead of the inside shoulder and giving running backs just enough room to squirt by.
"Just more mechanic stuff, being able to fill the gaps right," Jones said. "Sometimes we came up and spilled them pretty good but leverage-wise we've got to be more inside instead of not hitting it outside. Good running backs will always find those creases, so we have to to a better job of eliminating that."
Franklin as scout QB
John Franklin III hasn't seen the field much for FSU this season. But he's managed to become a topic of conversation nonetheless.
Franklin, as a speedy, dual-threat quarterback, often takes the job of scout team impersonator for the mobile QB's that FSU faces. And Maryland is a prime example. FSU defenders say they've been impressed with Franklin in practice.
"He's perfect for that," Christian Jones said. "A guy that can run around and make plays with his legs. It's good having him out there. He's fast. I don't think people really understand, he turns the corner and he's getting out."
Franklin was also a scout-team QB leading up to FSU's game against Bethune Cookman, and his ability to run the triple option has been instrumental for the Seminole defense -
"He's given a great look," Telvin Smith said. "When he runs that option play we always thing maybe he's going to pitch it, but sometimes he'll cut upfield or cut back and throw it."
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