Eric Winston Q&A

Eric Winston is a sophomore offensive lineman from Midland, Texas. He made the switch from tight end to tackle this year and has been doing a good job making the transition. Winston took time to go in depth on his thoughts about the game against Virginia Tech, the national media perception of the team, and the team's current attitude.

What have you noticed with the team's attitude and intensity over the past few days after the game?

A lot of people are mellow. A lot of people are angry. We haven't had to do this very often around here and that's a good thing. A lot of people don't know how to deal with it in certain ways. We have to come out and get the ‘w'. It's as simple as that. We can harp on the loss and all of the bad things that we did, but the bottom line is that we have to fix them so we can go out there and win a game.

Do people have their heads down?

No, no one has their heads down. Maybe if we were 6-3, I think some people would have their heads down. We are still 7-1 and have a long ways to go. We still have four or five weeks left in the season. There are a lot of things that can still happen. There's a lot of things that can happen around here and one of them is to go 4-0 to close out the year. That's our main concern right now and that's what it's all about.

Is there a concern that the team won't be able to bounce back and play well against Tennessee?

Of course there is a concern, there is always a concern. With just one loss that does not make you out of it anymore. We have to come out and play good. We have to finish the season hard. Even in the locker room we spent five minutes talking about it. Then Coker told us to start focusing on Tennessee, lets get back and start watching some film. I'll tell you what, I think we have done a good job so far recuperating, looking at the film seeing what we did wrong. I think it was pretty obvious what we did bad in that game. We have to get ready for Tennessee, it is a big game.

Are you worried at all about Brock Berlin's confidence?

I'm not worried about Brock at all. Brock is going to be fine. He realizes what happened. I feel bad for the kid. He was trying to get the ball out of bounds one time. Heck I thought he was open he threw the other interception. What are you going to do sometimes. The guy had a ten-yard running head start and made a great play on the ball. The other time he was just trying to do his job. He was trying to avoid four guys coming at him and get the ball out of bounds. It didn't quite get there. It wasn't his fault, I guarantee that. The line didn't play up to par. The line should have played a lot better. Guys were in his face all night. Look at his first half numbers with guys in his face he was dodging them and making great throws. We got to help out a little bit more. He's had to endure a lot this year playing under some shadows. He is trying and playing as hard as he can. I'll tell you what, I'll take him any day of the week. He is a competitor, he fights hard, he wants to win and I love him to death for it.

How frustrating is it to lose a guy to an injury due to a cheap shot by Virginia Tech players?

It is very frustrating especially to how important of a guy that Santonio is. I don't know what Orien's play looked like at the beginning of the game. He hasn't said much about it. I guarantee you that Orien won't say much about it because he is a class act kind of guy. He's not going to pout about it or mope about it. He is just going to go on. It just shows you that sometimes it's easier to lose with class than to win with class. I think that was a glaring taste of it on Saturday night.

What are your thoughts on the cheap shot by Jake Grove on Santonio?

Class act isn't he? What are you going to say about that? Some guys just don't know how to deal. I don't know what to say. I'm not sure what he was thinking. I'm sure he was thinking that it was something that he had to do at the time. Up 21 points or whatever and still doing stuff like that. Look at DeAngelo Hall, he is going to take a swing at Antrel Rolle when he is not even in the play. I make a tackle after an interception and a guy takes a swing at me. I wish more stuff would have happened. I was hoping they would put me back in the game, they took me out, probably a good thing too. I probably wouldn't be playing against Tennessee. It just shows you what they are. First big win for them and they don't know how to handle it. What are you going to do? You can't do anything about it now. We just have to move on and get ready for Tennessee.

The announcers and the national media placed a lot of that blame of things getting out of hand on Miami, your thoughts?

Everybody wants to put the blame on UM. The national media, everyone. You look around like I called back home and friends called me around the country. There is not one unhappy place that we lost except for maybe South Florida. Everybody wants to win, but everyone hates a winner. That's what the bottom line is around the nation. Everybody wants to put the whole Miami thing like we are a bunch of thugs. When you started looking at the facts; the graduation rates around here, the type of people we have produced the last five to ten years, you will see a whole different opinion on us. I guess that is more of you guys (the local media) job. You guys (the local media) are supposed to be the local supporters around here. Bring us back up. The national media wants to slam us and the national opinion wants to do that. I think there should be some talk about the type of character the guys that come out of here have. People should talk about the Ed Reed's and the kind of good guys that come out of here. You never see a lot of young guys with a lot of problems when they go to the pros or if they don't go to the pros. You see a lot of good guys and a lot of good things from people after football here.

Coach Coker said that last year was a tough game against Tennessee, what are your thoughts on last year's game?

Yeah last year was a hard-hitting affair. There was a lot of head smashing going on, on that field. They are a tough team with big, strong guys that like to hit and fill holes. We are going to have our hands full on Saturday, no doubt about it. They are a pretty good team and a lot of people don't realize that. They are ranked pretty high in the polls and they only have two losses. That's a pretty good team and we are going to have to play pretty good to win the game. We did a good job of running the ball and establishing ourselves. We have to do that again. The first quarter we did a good job running the ball against Virginia Tech but we had to get away from a bit the way the game was going. Against Tennessee, we have to come off the ball and establish ourselves as an offensive line to get JG, JP and Tyrone going.

Do you expect the Tennessee defense to do similar things that Virginia Tech did in regards to the blitz packages they threw at you guys?

It's hard to do what Virginia Tech did. It's hard for Tennessee to do what Virginia Tech did considering it's a different style of defense. I'm sure they are going to do a lot of defensive stunts along the line to try and slow us down. I'm sure they will bring some guys as well.

Is it better for the team to come back after the loss and face a ranked team as opposed so that the focus is there?

It's probably better than facing a lower-tier team than a ranked team, I guess. In other respect you might not want to face a good team so fast. They are a good team. If we come out and have a strong performance than it will work for us. If we don't, we are going to be right back where we left off. The bottom line is coming out and playing.

There are six one-loss teams remaining, how do you separate yourself from the pack?

Well that is why they have the BCS standings. You have to have strong performances. We have to come out and have strong performances. If we do I think we'll be all right. The thing is even with the loss I think we are sitting okay. I don't know if need that many teams to lose. The way that the computers are set up and everything is set up it is based on opinion, point margin and who else knows. I certainly don't. There are definitely some things that could happen that would better our chances. Overall I like where we are sitting and the bottom line is that we just have to win now.

Christopher Stock is a Staff Columnist for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@grassy.com

Canes Time Top Stories