Winston Journal #8

Senior offensive lineman Eric Winston offers his thoughts following Monday's season opener.

When you are at a University like Miami, you always have great expectations for the season and one thing is for sure, make sure you beat Florida State. Not everything goes as planned. Hopefully many of you watched the game, cheering the ¹Canes on as we embarked on our 2005 journey, that journey however got off to a slow start.

We lost 10-7 Monday night in a game we should have won.My thoughts are still a little confused. I mean, how can you lose a game in which you have almost double the offense the other team has and more than double the first downs.

Well I'll give you the answer--three missed field goals and one costly turnover.

Going into the game I felt as long as we didn't give them any easy scoring opportunities that they would have a real tough time scoring on our defense.

I was definitely right about that, they had maybe two or three plays over 10 to 15 yards. With the defense playing so well I knew that all we needed to do was score one more time (down 10-7) and we would be fine.

With 12 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and backed up to our 3-yardline we began to drive.

This was one of those drives that was just destined to win the game. We converted four third downs and many guys stepped up and made plays. The drive turned out to be the longest drive I have ever been on. It took 16 plays for us to make our way down to their 2-yard line and almost 10 minutes! On the 17th play we tried to jam it in the endzone with a run that didn't get there, then we tried a play-action pass that ended up getting our quarterback sacked. Almost the worst possible outcome of that play. The 19th play was also unsucessful but at least we could now kick the field goal and tie the game.

Like the two previous field goal attempts this one failed also and with no timeouts we could not stop the clock to get the ball back.

After the game, everyone wanted to know what went wrong, how did we lose?

Still stunned the only answer I could come up with was 'It's a funny shaped ball.'

Even I admit it¹s a pretty corny statement but it¹s kind of the truth. We messed up a play (field goal) three times in one game, this is a play we practice everyday at the beginning of every practice that has gone without a hitch ever since two a days have started! On top of that we had a punt blocked--a play we practice right after field goal.

If all of that was not bad enough we drove 96 yards against one of the best defenses in the country and did not score a point!

Like I said, it's a funny shaped ball.

Looking forward, I think we have plenty to strive for. The ultimate goal of winning the National Championship is not completely lost, we will just need a little help at the right times. We still get to play for a chance to win the ACC championship and a BCS bowl game, whether it's the Rose Bowl or not.

Personally, I thought I played pretty good. The first two drives I didn't do so well and allowed a couple of hurries, but after that I settled in and played like I wanted to.

We have off this Saturday and play next Saturday at Clemson, another tough road game. Hopefully when I talk to you in two weeks it will be after a conference victory.

Eric Winston is working with Christopher Stock who is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com

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