Whether you expected it or just hoped it to be so, Jameis Winston ran away with the show during Saturday's Spring Game. He threw the only two touchdowns against the first team defense, and if you thought there was a buzz about the quarterback situation before Saturday, well, you haven't seen anything yet.
Jameis Winston first stepped onto the field for the start of the second quarter and he didn't disappoint. Winston dropped back on his first snap and found David Tyrrell deep down the right side for a 58-yard touchdown. Jimbo Fisher talked about how difficult it is to come off the bench and immediately make a throw like that. He said it's all about making the right read, and that's just what Winston did.
"We had four verticals on and he read the inside vertical," Fisher said. "It was a number two outside read, he had a nice little seam and dropped it in a nice spot."
Lamarcus Joyner talked about being beat on that first touchdown pass by Winston.
"He caught me lollygagging around," Joyner said. "He's a smart kid. I wasn't worried about the guy I was covering and he recognized that and took advantage of that like he's supposed to."
Winston didn't slow down after his first throw. He continued to impress against the first team defense. Winston went 12-for-15 with 205 yards and two touchdowns. It was evident that all of the hype surrounding his name and his talent was for a reason. Was he perfect? No. But you can't expect a redshirt freshman to be perfect, that's just not realistic. However, fans did get a glimpse at a redshirt freshman that stands tall in the pocket, makes reads, and throws an accurate ball with velocity. Oh, and did I mention he's effective with the run? Due to the nature of the Spring Game, fans weren't able to witness his ability outside of the pocket, but his teammates are all too aware of that ability.
"Jameis is one of those guys that gets outside of the pocket and makes you chase him," Karlos Williams said. "He's going to make you run and you're going to get tired. And just when you're tired, he kills you with his arm."
Christian Jones also weighed in on Jameis' ability to get out of the pocket.
"Winston is just so athletic," Jones said. "Every time he drops back to pass he's a threat - he's a threat to run, too. He's just a play maker. He's a shifty guy. EJ had the same ability, but he prided himself on being more of a pocket passer. Winston's going to run and make you run as a defense."
Winston's not the first talented freshman to come around, but he's just different than anything in recent memory. It's his demeanor that separates him from the pack. In a quarterback competition against a fourth year guy like Clint Trickett, you'd think the redshirt freshman would lack in the leadership department, but that couldn't be further from the truth. It's easy to see in the way he carries himself. Whether it's his determination, dedication, or willingness to put the burden on his shoulders, he seems to be that guy. Winston is first on the field to congratulate the offensive line when they score a touchdown with another quarterback, he's the one shaking every player's hand after a bad practice, and he even cuts post-game interviews short so he can run over to join his baseball team. With the immense pressure that he must carry around being a college student and a two-sport athlete, it's clear to see he thrives under that pressure.
"He's one of those guys where the harder you press him, the harder he plays. He's walked by me saying, 'what, you can't get on me enough, coach?," Jimbo Fisher said. "He's a guy that thrives under the pressure."
With the Spring Game in the books, Winston can appreciate how far he has come, and more importantly, he knows where he needs to improve. Once he's done batting 7th in the lineup during FSU's third game against Duke, he can actually sit back and reflect on the day he's had.
"It was fun getting out there," Winston said. "I knew I could trust my offensive line and they just told me to get out there and do it. That's what I did. I have to get better - better on my reads and play recognition. I'm not completely comfortable with the way I'm playing right now so I'm gonna continue to work."