Jameis Winston Must Mature on and off the Field If Florida State Is to Repeat

Jon Reid@@JonReidCSMCorrespondent IINovember 21, 2014

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston passes in the first half an NCAA college football game against Miami, Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

The saga surrounding Jameis Winston and Florida State football has been well documented.

From shoplifting crab legs and crawfish and yelling obscenities in the school's student union—a stunt that earned him a one-game suspension, to questions regarding his ethics after point-shaving allegations and suggestions that he may have taken money to sign autographs—an act strictly forbidden by the NCAA.

Then there's the most severe accusation of all. That Winston allegedly sexual assaulted a woman in 2012—for which there will be a hearing on December 2.

His off-field antics nearly cost the team its undefeated season and, in all likelihood, its chance at taking part in the inaugural college football playoff when he was serving his aforementioned suspension against Clemson in the Seminoles' ACC opener.

Winston may be fortunate that the results of his sexual assault hearing may not have an effect on his ability to play the rest of the season—the college football season concludes on January 12 and the results of the hearing aren't due until January 13, per Rachel Axon of USA Today:

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Yet suffice it to say, any more misdeeds off the field are sure to be met with more severe consequences.

For FSU to continue its push for a second consecutive national championship, the sophomore quarterback from Alabama will have to mature and show more restraint off the gridiron.

But just as much as he has to be more disciplined off the field, his play whilst on the field must also improve in a hurry.

His play in the first halves of games this year has been extremely disappointing.

His decision-making has been off and his numbers reflect his poor play in the opening frames—he's already surpassed his interception total from a year ago in just nine gamesper Brendan Sonnone of the Orlando Sentinel:

The fact that his second-half numbers look so much better and the Seminoles have used the final two quarters to stage five incredible comebacks in just 10 games is no coincidence either.

Without Winston playing well the team struggles to maintain possession or establish the run.

Without moving the ball, the defense is forced to stay on the field longer, tiring them out and making it less difficult for the opposition to score.

As instrumental as someone like freshman running back Dalvin Cook has been at times in the last few games, this club's national title hopes begin and end with Winston.

For Florida State to qualify for the new postseason and make some noise once it gets there, Winston must regain his Heisman Trophy form from a year ago.

Jameis Winston Stats Year-by-Year
YearGames PlayedYardsCompletion PercentageTDINT
2013144,05766.94010
201492,84465.81812
www.sports-reference.com

That requires him to focus on playing four consistent quarters of football every Saturday.

Enough with the off-field antics, or postgame jabs at opposing fans:

Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

It's time for Jameis Winston to grow up and lead his team like he did in 2013.

Jon Reid is a correspondent for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @JonReidCSM.

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