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Four Seminoles Named Post-Season Award Finalists

By: FSU Sports Information Email
By: FSU Sports Information Email

Tallahassee, FL - Four Florida State football players were officially named finalists for five different post-season awards Monday.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston has been named one of three finalists for both the Maxwell Award and the Davey O'Brien Award (the former given to the nation's best player and the latter to the top quarterback), and senior cornerback Lamarcus Joyner is one of three in contention for the Jim Thorpe Award given annually to the nation's best defensive back.

Junior Nick O'Leary is one of three finalists for the John Mackey Award presented to the country's best tight end and redshirt freshman Roberto Aguayo is in the mix for the Lou Groza Award bestowed upon college football's premier kicker.

Winston is in the midst of a record-breaking, Heisman-Trophy caliber season in his first year playing for the Noles. Winston heads into Saturday's rivalry game at Florida with a nation's-best passer-rating of 194.5 and is one touchdown pass shy of tying Chris Weinke's 2000 school record for most touchdown tosses in a single season (33). He already owns the Atlantic Coast Conference record for touchdowns thrown in a season by a freshman and is closing in on the conference's rookie record for passing yardage.

Winston is joined by Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron on the Maxwell and Davey O'Brien lists of finalists.

Joyner, who has already been named one of five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy given to the top defensive player in college football, is in contention for the Thorpe Award because he's been a ball-hawking, havoc-wreaking playmaker for the FSU secondary all season. No defensive back has more sacks than Joyner's Seminoles-best five and he's also added 6 1/2 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, an interception and a team second-best 55 total tackles through 11 games.

Other Jim Thorpe Award finalists include Michigan State's Draqueze Dennard and Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert.

O'Leary has a chance to go down as the greatest tight end in Florida State history as his seven touchdown catches this season have pushed his career total to a school-record 11 among players at his position. O'Leary currently has 27 catches for 457 yards and has seen his ability to be an impact blocker increase dramatically in his third season. Other John Mackey Award finalists include North Carolina's Eric Ebron and Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

As for Aguayo, the strong-legged kicker has been sensational as Dustin Hopkins' replacement. Aguayo is 15-of-16 on field-goal attempts this season and currently owns the national record for consecutive extra points made in a single season with a streak that is at 80 in a row and counting. Texas' Anthony Fera and USF's Marvin Kloss are also finalists.

Winners of the Maxwell, Davey O'Brien, Thorpe and Lou Groza awards will be announced live on ESPN's broadcast of The Home Depot College Football Awards Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. ET from the Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney's BoardWalk in Orlando, Fla. The John Mackey Award winner will be announced Dec. 11 and then presented the following night at the awards show.

For more information on each award:
The John Mackey Award - http://www.johnmackeyaward.com/
The Lou Groza Award - http://www.lougrozaaward.com/13finalists
The Jim Thorpe Award - http://www.jimthorpeassoc.org/thorpe-award/
Davey O’Brien Award - http://blog.daveyobrien.org/2013/11/25/davey-obrien-award-finalists-announced/
Maxwell Award - http://maxwellfootballclub.org/news/2013-maxwell-and-bednarik-award-finalists-announced

Brooks Accepts Senior Bowl Invite
Senior safety Terrence Brooks accepted an invitation to the 2014 Reese’s Senior Bowl on Monday. Brooks was one of the first 22 players who accepted invites to the postseason game that will be played at 3 p.m. CT on Jan. 25 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.

Brooks, a two-year starter for the undefeated and No. 2-ranked Seminoles (11-0), has 43 tackles, four tackles for loss, four pass breakups, two interceptions and two forced fumbles this season.

Senior Bowl Accepted Invites: http://www.seniorbowl.com/accepted-invites.php

ACC Championship Game Time Announced, Tickets on Sale
On Monday, the ACC announced the 2013 Dr. Pepper ACC Championship Game will be at 8 p.m. and air on ABC. The FSU ticket office is making a limited number of tickets available for the title game. Seats in the upper deck are now available to the public for $40. Previously, tickets were only available to Seminole Boosters. To order your tickets log on to Seminoles.com or call 1-888-378-6653 (NOLE).

Head Coach Jimbo Fisher Press Conference Transcript – Nov. 25, 2013

Opening Statement:
“Again, I’m proud of our guys and the way we played in the Idaho game. I thought we made some progress in some areas. We got a lot of young players a lot of reps. I’m really proud of the way our young guys on both sides of the ball are learning (how) to compete. You can see a difference in the game from the first time they did that with extensive time to the next and you really see their growth and development – which I think is very critical for our season and our future – how those guys are getting out on the field when the fans are in the stands and the clock is on and the lights and scoreboard, it’s totally different. You see a comfort zone with those guys, now you’re starting to see them execute (and) play up to their capabilities. Some of those young guys, the talent they have really developed. I’m really proud of the way they did that. I thought all three phases we played well. Got to continue to still grow – (there are) still issues that we are always looking to continue to correct and get better at, which our guys know. But, I like where we’re at as a team. I like our attitude. I like our demeanor and how we handle business and go to work every day and practice every day. Again, very proud of our young guys and the way they’re developing and taking advantage of these opportunities to get better. They’re not wasting these opportunities to get better, making me feel very comfortable about the future of our program and where we’re going, and watching these guys perform. From that we’re good. I’m looking forward to a great game this week. Florida, to me this is one of the great rivalries in college football. One of the reasons (why) you come to Florida State. Very big game, always a very difficult place to play there in Gainesville. One of the most difficult in the country. They’ll be ready to play. I know they will bring their ‘A’ game and we’ll have to bring ours. Like I say, it’s the next game on our schedule, so it’s the biggest game we have. That’s what it is. It’s a rivalry game, it’s a game you love to play in on both sides and it will be a great contest.”

On if he’s delegated more to his staff this year:
“A little bit. Yes, probably so. Where we’re at as a team too, not only with our coaches, but our players too. They’ve been in the system longer and got more experience in all the different avenues and what we’re able to do. From our staff point, this staff has done a tremendous job in my opinion of allowing me to (have) more free time to do other things.”

On redshirt freshman backup quarterback Sean Maguire’s play after the film:
“I thought he played really well. The only mistake he had was the interception in the end zone and we had a wrong route by somebody, but he still has to account for that and not throw the ball in there, but I like how he responded right back and the next series, he threw the ball well and made plays. His command of the offense and his reason for doing things, I was extremely happy with. Understanding the why’s ‘why I did this, why I did that, why I checked this, why I got the ball here,’ and he threw the ball with confidence. What I like about what he’s doing is he’s throwing the ball with conviction.”

On starting quarterback Jameis Winston and Maguire giving each other tips:
“They definitely do. They talk all the time. That’s the thing I love about this team, not just the quarterback position, but the running back position, you see the older guys, offense, defense, really interacting with those young guys. Not scared that this guys is going to take my job. There’s none of that. There’s ‘This helps you, I want you to play well,’ there’s a real friendship there and they talk and communicate often.”

On if it’s tough as a coach to endure what Florida head coach Will Muschamp has this season due to injuries:
“Knock on wood. Sometimes they come in bunches, sometimes they don’t. Injuries change your football team. That’s why I keep talking about our youth development. You’ve got to keep trying and developing those guys as much as you can when you get opportunities because you don’t know when those things are going to occur and they’re unforeseen things that are out there. You have plans for them but those plans have to work and when you have the number that they (Florida) have, I can understand. It’s very difficult.”

On Winston’s best trait:
“His conviction and commitment to being great. He puts the time in. He comes and puts the time in the film, he puts the time in the weight room, he puts the time on the practice field and he’s very self-critical of how plays and what he does and how he carries himself. He’s a total team guy, he’s not above the team, he’s one of them. He’s committed to winning and that’s his top common goal for the university and for the team to be good. He looks at it (like) he has to be good so that can happen. Not, I’m being good so I can be great. That’s one of the true reasons guys follow him, because they understand who he is. Three or four times in the year he’s gone out and blocked out of craziness and we’ve all yelled at him. But hey, that helps my player. Guys follow guys like that and he’s a total team guy that way.”

On Winston’s Heisman Trophy chances following the Idaho game:
“I don’t know. That’s up to the voters and everybody else out there. To me it’s another performance that’s consistent and does what he has to do and that’ something if he wins it, it’s great we want that for him, but if it comes within the context of him winning and being successful and I think that what he is truly about.”

On if he knew that junior nose guard Timmy Jernigan would be so valuable when he signed:
“We thought he would. We thought he had a chance to be a very special player. We really did. You’ve always heard me say, those guys that put their hand in the dirt really change the game, offensively and defensively. We thought when you have those guys on defense that can control that middle, it makes everyone around you so much better. He’s a great player and he makes two other guys great because he takes the double teams and stuff you have to do to block him and account for him. We felt that he had the chance to be one of those special guys. Now, he had to go do it and he’s done a tremendous amount of work on his body and what he’s done and even as good as he was, he hasn’t come in relying on his ability. He’s got better and better, and (he’s) a great team guy.”

On the pressure of being undefeated:
“And getting asked about it – the thing is, it’s like anything in life, when you become outcome-oriented you start worrying about the outcome and where you’re going to be – that’s where you get in trouble. We say, ‘stay in the moment, stay in the process.’ We say it, and it’s the truth. We can’t worry about the outcome. What we have to do is worry about playing well this weekend in Gainesville and if we do that, then the outcomes come. When you’re asked about it and you’re 18-22 years old, they can create distractions. It’s how much you believe in the system we have and what’s going on and can you compartmentalize all the other things and the questions that are going on about that. It is very tough. If it wasn’t tough, people would do it all the time.”

On senior cornerback Lamarcus Joyner saying that freshman defensive back Jalen Ramsey reminds him of himself as a freshman:
“Comes in, says ‘I want to play, yes sir I know we’ve got great players, that’s fine I know they’re great, I’m going to do what I do,’ and comes every day to work and is smart. Very similar type guy. (Freshman safety) Nate Andrews and a lot of guys in that freshman group are like that. To that level, I say that. There’s not a lot of Joyner’s falling off trees out there.”

On junior running back Devonta Freeman closing in on 1,000 rushing yards:
“To me, if it’s in the context of winning and being successful, then it’s a great accomplishment. If it’s not in that context of being successful, it’s a great individual accomplishment. Still, 1,000 yards is 1,000 yards and that means a lot. That’s a plateau that’s been set in this sport. If he gets it, I’m happy for him. That means the other thing, we were able to run the football, which I’m all for.”

On moving up significantly in turnover margin this season:
“We’re creating more turnovers and we’re taking care of the ball better on our side too and we’re experienced on offense. You can say that you lost your quarterback (EJ Manuel), but we were a sophomore offense last year when you really look at it. You have guys that really know what to do and up front, not having as many missed assignments causing any hits in the backfield or collisions that cause turnovers and I think we’re doing such a tremendous job of creating them on defense and the habit of what we’re doing on defense is allowing us to create those turnovers, which is tremendous.”


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