Winston Journal - Jan. 2006

Eric Winston is preparing for the NFL Draft at the Senior Bowl. He took time to discuss the Peach Bowl, coaching changes, and his projected draft status in a recent journal entry.

I'm baaack! I must say I've missed writing these journals for the last month. A lot has happened since I last wrote so I will try to catch everyone up with what has happened and what will happen in the next month. Where to start?

Well, I guess I must start with the debacle in Atlanta at the Peach Bowl. We got our butts beat to put it bluntly. We obviously played poorly and it showed by the embarrassing score.

I'm not going to get into what exactly happened, mainly because it will just irritate me just thinking about it. I will leave it at that.

After the game something shocking happened, though. Four of our assistant coaches were fired including my position coach, offensive line coach Art Kehoe. I have talked about coach Kehoe previously in my journals so everyone knows how much I liked him.

I was really stunned they let him go. He has been a fixture at Miami for so long you just never even think that there is a chance he won't be there the next year.

Obviously, I am not happy that coach Kehoe was let go but I am not upset at our head coach, Larry Coker.

People ask me all the time, ‘You must hate Coker now?" and I don't. He was put in a bad situation that he felt like he needed to fix and this was his way of doing it. He had to make some tough decisions and I respect him for making them — even if I don't agree with it. Enough of the downer news, let's get to some good news.

I will be playing in the Senior Bowl this week. I flew to Mobile, Ala., on Sunday and practice everyday this week and play a game on Saturday afternoon Jan. 28.

If people don't know how big the Senior Bowl can be for players, let me give you an idea. Former North Carolina State and current San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers before the Senior Bowl was a second round draft pick. But after the week — and the game in which he completely dominated — he was picked fourth overall. He basically made himself at least $20 million dollars. Not bad.

Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, who played at Auburn and is now in Tampa Bay, was projected as a mid to late first-round running back. He went to Mobile, did everything coach Jon Gruden of the Tampa Bay Bucs asked of him, and they liked him so much they took him fifth overall. Another big jump in money. The Senior Bowl separates itself by having NFL coaches coaching each team and this particular game is widely considered the country's elite college football all-star game.

As you can imagine, having all these great players around will attract some scouts. I am told every head coach, general manager, and their subordinates will be there. If that doesn't make you nervous enough, sprinkle some owners in on top to make it an important week. I am told that I am a mid to late first-round pick. (I hope that is accurate because if I go in the second, it is either because I played awful this next week or I never was that high in the first place).

With a good Senior Bowl week and good testing at the combine, I hope to jump up several places.

I try to take it one day at a time and I don't like looking that far ahead but it is hard not to. First thing's first, though, and that's to play well at the Senior Bowl and hope the scouts really like me.

I have also decided to have Drew Rosenhaus as my agent. He was the one guy I met with I felt would do the best for me.

I know a lot of people have opinions about him due to the Terrell Owens situation, but trust me nobody knows what really went on with that. On top of that, I wanted to have a guy that lived and breathed his job, not a guy that does it for a paycheck. I felt like he best fit the mold. I will be back in two weeks with a full summary of the Senior Bowl and a preview of the combine. If anyone would like to check it out on TV, it's supposed to be on ESPN every day.

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