Sunday, February 18, 2018
Colleges

FSU's Winston dances around questions about off-field issues

TALLAHASSEE — If the Sunday morning line slithering around the Tucker Center was any indication, Jameis Winston's popularity has reached a Springsteen stratosphere in the Panhandle.

More than three hours before FSU staged its annual fan day, dozens had congregated outside the center. By the event's noon start, the line wrapped around the auditorium. Inside, police tape was used to cordon off the line for Winston's autograph.

Earlier in the day, facing a more subdued audience of reporters, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner mostly deflected questions about his off-field headlines (sexual assault allegations, shoplifting citation) and their effect.

When asked how he planned to improve on and off the field, Winston said: "I'm gonna be myself. I'm gonna continue to be myself."

He was similarly vague when asked the most difficult part of how his life has changed in the past year.

"I don't think there has been a difficult part, doing what I do and keeping a smile on my face," he said. "Obviously I was blessed to have a baseball season to look forward to and I have been in my books studying. I don't have time to think about bad things, I'm always looking forward. Focusing on the positive, not the negative."

RAMSEY BOOTED: Starting DB Jalen Ramsey was kicked out of practice after the sophomore was involved in several physical plays, the last ending in Winston being knocked to the ground.

Coach Jimbo Fisher said Ramsey was warned and called it a lack of leadership and character. "He was told not to do something and he defied me," Fisher said. "We'll judge from there. He'll decide if he wants to play at Florida State."

HOW'D THEY DO IT? During his media-day Q-and-A with reporters, Fisher said he spent part of his offseason studying coaches — including Bear Bryant and John McKay — who won multiple national titles.

Fisher, of course, also remains in touch with Alabama's Nick Saban, his former boss at LSU.

"They didn't try to re-create the wheel … but they stayed hungry and they kept a chip on their shoulder and they played with an attitude and they played with a purpose," Fisher said.

"If you're not passionate about what you do, I think it's hard to be great at it because generally there are so many people in our business who are passionate, and human nature is to relax."

BARON BREAKTHROUGH? Based on at least one account, former St. Petersburg Catholic standout Ryan Green has fully recovered from shoulder surgery that sidelined him for part of spring drills. Green, who also missed most of his senior year at SPC with a shoulder problem, had 33 carries for 163 yards last season. "He's a worker," said fellow TB Karlos Williams, the projected starter. "Me and him worked out every day this summer. Fast kid, strong guy, confidence level is through the roof. He's ready to touch that ball, he's ready to play football this year."

AUDIBLE: "I'm done riding motorcycles." — Senior TE Nick O'Leary, involved in two motorcycle accidents in 11 months.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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