Jameis Winston

Baseball will cost Jameis Winston just one day of spring football


For those concerned that a stick & ball sport will have a negative impact on Jameis Winston‘s “real” sport, your fears have been allayed this afternoon.

At his pre-spring press conference Wednesday, head coach Jimbo Fisher said the reigning Heisman Trophy winner will miss just one of Florida State’s 15 spring practice sessions, which began this afternoon.  That lone absence will come this coming Saturday as the baseball Seminoles have a game scheduled against ACC rival Clemson.

Other than that, Winston will be on the field as FSU begins its first on-field work since claiming the 2013 BCS title this past January.

Winston is FSU’s closer as well as a designated hitter.  The 17-2 Seminoles are currently ranked first in the country by NCAA.com and second behind South Carolina by Baseball America.  For his part, Winston says he will enjoy pulling sports double-duty for the next handful of weeks.

“This is the funnest part of my life right now because I am so busy,” Winston said. “I love going back and forth between football and baseball. …

“Communication around FSU is great. I never have to worry about splitting my time between two sports. It runs smoothly.”

Last year around this time, Winston was embarking on what would initially be a four-man quarterback competition in spring practice, even as most viewed the former five-star prospect as the prohibitive favorite to win the job.  Interestingly, Fisher stated this afternoon that Winston will take the same number of reps he took last spring, which means the other players vying to become Winston’s understudy will get their fair share of snaps this spring.

The impetus behind Fisher’s decision for reps at the position is likely a product of the departure of Jacob Coker, Winston’s backup in 2013 who announced earlier this year he would be transferring to Alabama.  With precious little experience behind Winston, Fisher and his offensive coaching staff are no doubt looking to get as many practice reps as possible for the younger players.

While the volume of Winston’s reps may pale in comparison to other starters around the country, the quarterback says there are still things he wants to work on football-wise this spring.

“I always want to get better,” the redshirt sophomore said. “I need to get the ball up higher and work on my hips and if I can do that I’m going to throw rockets.”

In other pre-spring news, Fisher also confirmed yesterday’s report that running back Dalvin Cook will miss the whole of spring practice.  The touted five-star recruit suffered a torn labrum in what was described as a freak accident earlier this month.

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.