Winston Journal #6

Eric Winston checks back with CanesTime.com for his sixth journal entry. He offers his thoughts on the summer workouts and the upcoming season.

UPDATE

Everything is going great right now with my knee. I am probably close to 100 percent as I am going to be here for a while. We are doing a lot of maximum weights and things like that. I am getting within 20 pounds of everything I was doing before the injury and I am close as I am going to get about being ready.

I am very excited about everything that is going on with our team. I wished we started practicing tomorrow. I am just so happy with the way everyone is working and the way the team has came together. The start the season can't come soon enough because we are going to have a good one. We have realized that it is on us now about how good we want to be and how hard we are going to work to get ready. There is a lot in front of us, we just have to go get it.

What excites me the most about our team is just the hard work and selflessness that everyone puts in. Before we had one or two guys that were into themselves. This year it seems that we have a good distribution of chiefs and Indians. We have good leaders at each position.

SENIOR LEADERSHIP

It is important to have enough leaders on your team because to be honest when things get tough guys tend to stray. There is going to be tough times this year. We are going to be in close games and have tough practices. Those are the times the seniors can come in and tell the younger guys to stop complaining. That is just going to be a big difference heading into this season.

Personally I lead by the way the older guys led when I first arrived on the team. The younger guys learn from us and I think if we do well with leading, then the young guys coming up will be like us when they are older. Obviously some guys have leadership qualities and some guys don't. But everyone has something to offer and as long as everyone has that attitude, then you will always have a strong team.

2005 TEAM SIMILAR TO 2002

This team reminds me a lot of the 2002 team when I first got here. There was just an even distribution of guys on both sides of the ball. Another thing we had a proven front seven and a weak defensive back unit. We lost a couple guys from the offensive line, but we had Ken Dorsey back although we didn't have any running back returning. We had Willis McGahee, but everyone said he wasn't going to get it done. So all we had was Andre Johnson out there. Then Roscoe Parrish stepped up and had a great year, Willis should have won the Heisman Trophy, Dorsey was Dorsey, the offensive line came together just fine, and the defensive backs were first in the country in pass defense.

This year I think we are more loaded on defense this year than that year, especially depth-wise. This year we don't have a leader like Dorsey, but I think Kyle Wright and Kirby Freeman have great ability and the leadership that Dorsey always had. And I don't know how there is going to be a better receiver unit in the country than what we have. We have Lance Leggett, Sinorice, Darnell Jenkins, and Ryan Moore—those are four outstanding guys, and that is not even mentioning Akieem Jolla or Khalil Jones.

That is four or five guys that could start for any team and we have them all on our team. We are going to be able to spread them out and do a lot of things with them. Then we have six guys back who have started on the offensive line before. That is a lot of depth and that is not including Andrew Bain or Anthony Wollschlager. That is why I really like this team. We have so many guys working hard and you can't help, but to be excited about them.

You have Orien Harris and Thomas Carroll along the defensive line. You have Leon Williams and Roger McIntosh at the linebackers. And then you have a Greg Threat and Kelly Jennings at defensive back. Along the offensive line you have myself along with Rashad Butler. At wide receiver you have a guy like Sinorice Moss.

Those are all guys that have been here a while, played a ton of football, and that everyone respects them. The biggest thing is the younger guys are following those guys. Too many times you get guys who think they're the leaders and then all of a sudden you have guys going three different ways. It seems like everyone is on the same page, doing the same things, and have the same goal in mind. That is important especially when you are heading into the season.

FSU PREPARATION STILL WEEKS AWAY

We realize that Florida State is our season opener, but right now we worry about ourselves. We are worried about getting better and being the best we can be. We are not sitting around thinking about anyone else because we hold ourselves higher than anyone else. We'll start getting ready about 10 days before the game just like every other team. Even though it is a big game it is just one road block along the way.

We can't put all of our eggs in one basket for the Florida State game. Win or lose we still have to play out the season. Even if we lose that game and win the rest, we would be 12-1 and probably be at the goal where we want to be at. If we win that game, we can't think the season is over and that we accomplished our goal. Of course it is a big game and of course it is Florida State, but we have to want to win that game just as much as we want to win all of the other games. You can't put extra emphasis on that game because it sets the wrong type of precedent for us.

PLAYING WITH ENERGY

Our team energy has been controlled well. There is always a time to work and a time to play. Especially on defense it is a lot easier to play that energy because on offense you always want to have an even keel. Those guys work hard and definitely have a good time doing it. We all need to be having fun playing especially during the grind in August. You see the competitiveness coming back and that is what we have to have. You have to have guys hate to lose and will do anything not to lose. If you get a bunch of those guys on the field you can have a heck of a team.

Eric Winston is working with Christopher Stock on his journal entries. If you have any topics you would like Eric to discuss, send an email to stock@canestime.com

Canes Time Top Stories