Florida State Spring Game

It is not Florida State’s job to watch Winston 24/7, but his dad says it is


If Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was not in a bright enough the spotlight already, the stage is now all his entering the 2014 college football season. The buzz and media attention following Johnny Manziel has shifted to NFL circles in Cleveland. Winston is now without question the most buzzworthy player in the sport of college football, for better or worse. Given all that Winston has been through, be it of his own actions or not, the hope is he has and will continue to grow through it.

Winston’s father, Antonor Winston, tells USA Today his son is supposed to have more security around him to make sure he is safe and able to stay out of trouble.

“He’s supposed to have somebody around him 24/7,” Antonor Winston told USA Today. “He a Heisman Trophy winner so (he’s) definitely not supposed to be by (himself).”

Winston is still a young college kid, most people understand that. But Winston is not a typical college kid and must have an understanding of his place as a member of the Florida State community. The university itself can only go so far to provide his protection. Despite his father’s remarks to USA Today, it is not Florida State’s responsibility to be monitoring and providing security for Winston 24 hours a day. That comment about 24/7 coverage may have been an exaggeration and may not have been supposed to be taken literally.

Is it fair that Winston gets placed under a different level of scrutiny and media coverage? In an ideal world, of course it is not, but this is not an ideal world now is it? Nobody is suggesting Winston should not go out, have some fun and enjoy his college years. If anything he probably needs to cut loose more than some others, but he cannot rely on the school to be on the lookout for him and provide cover when his own actions can be under his control.

USA Today frames the story centering on the interview with Winston’s father as though Winston was failed by his family and Florida State. There may be a small bit of truth somewhere in that angle, but even at the age of 20 years old, Winston is the first person who will be held accountable for his actions, both good and bad. What he does with the spotlight will go far in establishing his future NFL stock as well.

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

Steve Sarkisian
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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
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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.