What to Expect from Jameis Winston in Week 1 Against Oklahoma State

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What to Expect from Jameis Winston in Week 1 Against Oklahoma State
USA Today

With a Heisman Trophy on his bookshelf, 14 wins under his belt and a crystal football in the athletic complex, it's safe to say Jameis Winston's first year as the starting quarterback for the Florida State Seminoles went pretty well.

Heading into the 2014 season, the question facing Winston now becomes, what will he do for an encore?

The 'Noles head to Arlington, Texas, on opening weekend to take on Oklahoma State in the Cowboys Classic in Jerry World, with all eyes on Winston and his quest to repeat as the champ and the Heisman Trophy winner.

So what should you expect from Winston against the 'Pokes?

 

Different Verse, Same as the First

Winston had no problems picking apart opposing defenses last year, throwing for 4,057 yards and 40 touchdowns as a freshman while, more times than not, taking a seat on the bench or putting it in cruise control late in games in which the 'Noles were up big.

It won't be smooth sailing this year, but he'll make it look easy in the opener.

Oklahoma State returns just one starter in its secondary—junior Kevin Peterson—who takes over as the leader after the departure of Justin Gilbert and his 12 career interceptions. Ashton Lampkin will join him in a more prominent role

Two new starters will also be present at safety, with Larry Stephens, Jordan Sterns, Deric Robertson and Tre Flowers providing options for head coach Mike Gundy.

Three fresh faces in the secondary going up against Winston, who still has his favorite receiver, Rashad Greene, from last year's squad?

Simply put, Oklahoma State's secondary resembles a hanging curveball to a Major League Baseball slugger. It's right there for the taking for Winston. Expect him to knock it out of the park.

Bob Leverone/Associated Press/Associated Press

 

Dual Threat? Not So Much

Winston has dual-threat capabilities, but he's much more of a pro-style passer than he is a true threat on the ground. He's fast in a straight line but isn't quick like Johnny Manziel, and it takes a little while for him to get going at full speed.

Those attributes won't be on display in the opener.

Florida State needs to develop some wide receivers behind Greene and establish Karlos Williams as an every-down back now that James Wilder and Devonta Freeman are gone, which means Winston's chances on the ground will be limited to scrambles and nothing more.

Will he rush for more than the 219 yards he had a year ago? Probably, but that will come later in the season after the new pieces of the offensive puzzle are in place and in a groove.

Bob Leverone/Associated Press/Associated Press

 

Control and Poise

The last time we saw Winston in game action, he was leading Florida State downfield in the closing seconds of the 2014 BCS National Championship Game to cap off the comeback win over Auburn.

Chuck Burton/Associated Press

Prior to that point, though, Winston was clearly rattled by an average-at-best Auburn defense and perhaps the big stage. Oklahoma State probably can't even boast a defense on that level, but the stage at Jerry World can be replicated.

Plus, Winston will have a target on his back from the Cowboys' front seven.

It won't be an issue for Winston.

Another offseason in the offense means more control for the redshirt sophomore and more knowledge of what's coming his way. 

Winston's head didn't spin much as a redshirt freshman, but he still had to learn the ropes. That experience will benefit him in 2014, when the pressure of repeating will be an added challenge to his new role as a veteran on the FSU roster.

 

Stat Projection

Considering the unfair bar that's set for reigning Heisman Trophy winners and the quarterback power elsewhere in college football, Winston will probably have to throw for 10,000 yards to earn another Heisman. He will, however, set a nice tone for his campaign in the opener with a big win over the Cowboys.

Final stat projection: a completion percentage of 68 percent, 310 passing yards, four passing touchdowns, zero interceptions, 10.1 yards per attempt and 10 rushing yards.

Not a bad encore.

 

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.

 


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