TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Jameis Winston continues to be the same smiling, goofy redshirt freshman three days before his full indoctrination into Florida State-Miami lore. That’s how teammates prefer the Seminoles’ quarterback.
Third-ranked Florida State hosts No. 7 Miami on Saturday in the first meeting as top-10 teams since 2004. Winston may be the biggest name on the field, but there won’t be any fire-and-brimstone snarling from the Heisman Trophy candidate.
“If he’s not joking around and all that, there’s something wrong with him,” Florida State receiver Kenny Shaw said.
Winston is simply more silly than stern. He watches “Phineas and Ferb” on Disney Channel. He makes faces and speaks in absurd voices. He beamed at his weekly news conference Wednesday that was attended by three times the usual number of media members.
“I don’t get that serious at any times,” Winston said. “Only time I’m really serious is probably when I’m doing bad because I need the guys to see (that) it’s not just a joke. I want them to see this is serious.
“We’re still going to have fun at it. It’s all about the eyes. When you look in your men’s eyes and they see you’ve got that look in your eyes – you can have a smile on your face or a frown on your face – if they see it in your eyes, they know it’s on.”
The Seminoles (7-0, 5-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) have been “on” all season. They haven’t trailed after halftime in a single game and boast the No. 3 scoring offense in FBS and the No. 4 scoring defense. Florida State outscored its two Top 25 opponents – Maryland and Clemson – by a combined 114-14.
There hasn’t been much for the Seminoles to get worked up about, but this is Miami (7-0, 3-0) week.
“They already been talking a little smack or whatever,” Terrence Brooks said. “I don’t understand why teams do that stuff.
“I really wish teams would be quiet and play football. … It’s kind of like those commercials you see – messing with sasquatch.”
Winston said he watched the ESPN “30 for 30” documentary about Miami and, “they said how Florida State stole the swag from Miami. So that’s going to be a big thing.”
“Famous Jameis” hasn’t gone tunnel-vision and bottled up before a game with national championship implications. The nation got a glimpse of his approach before the win at Clemson when he told teammates, “We ain’t leaving without a victory,” in another one of his voices.
“Most people when they think about big game, they think, ‘Aw man, let’s get serious, get focused,'” Winston said. “I just want to bring a different approach because the game that we all love and the game we all play, it’s about fun. Long as we’re comfortable, we’re going to do our job right.
“I wanted everybody to know, team-wise, have fun, let’s chill, let’s get the vibe going, let’s get our swagger together. We just went with the flow.”
Winston has even adopted, and paraphrased, lyrics from a Lil’ Boosie and Webbie song, “If we’re going to do it then, we do it big then.” Translation: Don’t simply play the game, dominate.
The message is still delivered through a stretched smile with a gleam in Winston’s eyes. That’s who he is and the Seminoles wouldn’t want it any different.
“It’s never hard to be yourself,” Winston said. “I was born myself. I’m not expecting to be nobody else, even on down the road. That’s how I was born and raised.
“People seem to lose track of where they came from. I don’t think I’ll ever lose that. I’ve had to grind ever since I was born, so I don’t plan on losing that.”