The reporter kept pressing him.
"How was the offense today?
"You guys did really well, what was clicking for you?
"How do you feel about the offense?"
Each time, Jameis Winston shrugged him off, smiled and then gave credit to the squad that made the biggest impression Saturday: the defense.
“The defense was clicking. They kept giving us the ball, and when you keep giving our offense the ball, something’s going to happen," said the redshirt freshman, self-aware beyond his years. "We pressed all practice like, ‘Guys, let’s start off fast.’ We even started practice faster just so we could get out rolling.
"The defense kept giving us the ball. There weren’t any long drives that we were used to. Those guys [on defense] played an outstanding game and when you play an outstanding defensive game, defense wins championships.”
Winston is a freak of an athlete. I know that, he knows that, the team knows that and now, everybody on the schedule knows that. But in the case of other quarterback superstars (see: Robert Griffin III, Johnny Manziel), if you don't have a defense, things won't go past the point of simple highlights.
With a defense holding you down on the other side of the ball, that's when the fun starts. That's when championships become a real possibility.
Florida State's defense is aware that if it wants to be the team to go to both the first and the last BCS national championships, it goes through them.
“[They were] saying a lot of people depend on Jameis to win the games,” senior linebacker Telvin Smith said. “We feel like we hold our own. So we just had to go out there and play Florida State football, the way this defense is supposed to.”
If the Maryland game is an indication of things to come and not just a flash in the pan, Florida State suddenly has the potential for a great season—one that many thought 2012 would be.
Like Winston made a point to say Saturday; defense wins championships.
Looks like Florida State has theirs.
All quotes and paraphrases were obtained either firsthand or via phone unless otherwise noted.