Friday, January 3, 2014
Notes: Winston says UT wasn't interested
By Chris Low and Heather Dinich
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- The hits just keep coming for Texas, which can’t seem to find a coach to replace Mack Brown.
Well, here’s some good news: If the Longhorns hire Jimbo Fisher, they’ll get a two-for-one deal, scoring the Heisman Trophy winner, too.
The odds of that happening don’t look good, of course, especially because Fisher recently signed a new contract with Florida State. And Texas already had its chance at quarterback Jameis Winston.
“Through the whole recruiting process, I said to my coach, ‘We got to get Texas on the phone,’ ” Winston said.
Winston even tried to get Brown on the phone himself.
“I tried to call him a couple times because I really like Texas,” he said.
It’s probably better it didn’t work out. After all, Winston said he was an Oklahoma fan.
SWINGING FOR THE STARS
Who says Winston can’t play both baseball and football at the next level?
“You can do anything you put your mind to,” the two-sport star said. “A lot of people are going to say, ‘No way, he’s a quarterback.’ Bo Jackson was a running back. The one thing I always seem to do is gain the trust of my teammates. Even being in the NFL, if I can convince those guys I can be your quarterback, I can go play baseball for the Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees. I can’t talk about that, because I’m living in the moment right now.”
On Tuesday, he’ll be ready to talk baseball again.
“Right now I got one thing on my mind, win the national championship on Monday. Tuesday comes, I’ll be ready for it then. I’m pretty sure [Florida State baseball] coach Mike Martin, he’ll talk to me about it then. I know he’s not saying nothing about baseball to me right now.”
Prior to this season, Auburn's Chris Davis had not returned any punts or kicks during his college career, but it wasn't because he didn't try.
"I'd been asking. I never got the opportunity," said Davis, who led the SEC in punt return average this season and also returned the missed field goal against Alabama 109 yards for a touchdown.
Asked what reason the previous coaching staff at Auburn gave him for not giving him a shot to return kicks, Davis said, "They didn’t have an answer for me."
Auburn's current special teams coach, Scott Fountain, was the director of player personnel on the previous staff and made it known when the new regime arrived that Davis was plenty capable as a return man. Davis had excelled as a return specialist in high school.
The rest, as they say, is history.
"I’d mention it every year. I’d go back and catch punts and kicks at the beginning of the season, but I never got the opportunity," Davis said. "I thank Coach Fountain and Coach [Gus] Malzahn for the opportunity."
NOT BACKING DOWN
Florida State's receivers, led by 6-foot-5, 234-pound sophomore Kelvin Benjamin, are big, physical and explosive.
Benjamin has 14 touchdown catches entering Monday's Vizio BCS National Championship, which presents quite a challenge for an Auburn pass defense that ranked last in the SEC this season.
But the Tigers are adamant they're not going to all of a sudden change it up.
"We’ve mixed it up, but man[-to-man coverage] is our base," Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said. "We’re going to play man. LSU had great receivers. Georgia had good receivers. Missouri’s got bigger receivers than Florida State’s got. We’ve seen all types. We’ve seen some of the best. At all times, we haven’t stopped them, but you can’t just give up on something.
"I think a lot of people have been intimidated out of man coverage against them early in the game because they can’t score on them. If we score on them and hold the ball on them a little bit, we’ll have a chance to be more aggressive. If we don’t, we’re going to have a hard time."
Florida State junior running back Devonta Freeman said he turned his papers into the NFL draft evaluation board but hasn’t heard back from it yet. Freeman said when he does, he will talk to Fisher about possibly entering the draft.