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What Would Noles Look Like Without Winston?

Nov 22, 2013 -- 10:43am

Alex Turko (@aturko_23)

            Right when I was wrapping up a blog on how Jameis Winston’s situation hasn’t hindered his performance, a report broke that the DNA from the plaintiff’s underwear traces back to Winston.  In the wake of his two-incompletion outing against Syracuse, it was easy to write about how Winston kept his focus, but now it is clear that nobody cares about last week. All of the focus has shifted to whether or not he’ll even be able to suit up for the Seminoles in the coming weeks. 

            There are many questions this team would face if Jaboo was unable to suit up for the Garnet and Gold.  Can the defense carry this team to the national title and mask the mistakes that would probably come from starting redshirt freshman quarterback Sean Maguire?  Will backup quarterback Jacob Coker be fully recovered from knee surgery by the bowl game?  Will the running game be effective enough to take the pressure off of the backup quarterback?  Can the defense continue it’s fantastic play?

            One thing is for sure; if Winston cannot go, we will all see how good this team really is.  Winston can flat out ball and there is no coincidence that he was the front-runner to bring home the Heisman before this legal situation, but how special is the rest of the team.  I’m not so sure that the Seminoles couldn’t put up a fight with a lot of teams without Winston under center.  Now I’m not saying the Noles are going to knock off the back-to-back defending national champion Crimson Tide with a third string quarterback; but can they?

            Florida State boasts the 4th ranked total defense in the country and is highlighted by the incredible play from the secondary, which is the number 1 passing defense in the country.  This unit is leading the nation in interceptions and is 3rd in scoring defense.  Don’t worry about the rushing defense either, as they have only allowed 4 total rushing touchdowns this season and are 22nd in the country in rushing defense.  Now correct me if I’m wrong, but I haven’t seen Jameis Winston buckle up his chinstrap and go crack heads with the defense.   

            The offensive weapons that surround Winston are extremely talented in their own right.  If he were unable to go, I’d imagine that Jimbo Fisher would pull back on the reins and call basic plays that would put his plethora of playmakers in space.  The offensive line would be key in order to protect the new starter at quarterback and more importantly open up holes for the running backs to run through.  I say “more importantly” because I imagine that the running backs would see a lot of carries in a Winston-less offense. 

            This team is being compared with the 1993 and 1999 Florida State championship teams, and many believe it is the most talented team in the programs’ history.  Sure, Winston is a huge reason for the teams’ success, but you don’t get dubbed the best team in school history because of one player and their miraculous season.  If Winston can’t go, what is the fate of this team?  Will we always look back on the 2013 season and say “what could have been?”   

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