Immature. Self-absorbed. Punk. Jameis Winston isn’t that guy.
So says Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska I-back, Heisman Trophy candidate and longtime friend of Winston.
Abdullah’s Heisman campaign has risen as Winston’s stock has plummeted from his bumbling public image. Folks see Abdullah as the opposite of Winston.
Abdullah sees this Winston as the opposite of the guy he’s known since eighth grade, training together in Birmingham, Alabama.
“He’s a great guy,” Abdullah told me on Monday. “He’s a funny guy, he always brightens the mood. He’s strong in his faith and religion.
“Maybe he feels he needs to be this guy in the spotlight, make everybody laugh. But instead it’s negative.’
“I’m very surprised because if I’m not mistaken, he’s a straight-A student, pre-med. He’s always made the right decisions. He’s always been a natural leader. But he needs to exert that in more ways than football.”
Abdullah made the comments in a conversation we had after his weekly press conference (Associated Press writer Eric Olson got a similar interview Monday; great minds think alike). Abdullah’s spotlight may not be as bright as Winston’s, but it’s getting brighter with every Supermanesque performance. It’s a stage Abdullah understands.
“Jameis Winston is a Heisman winner; I’m not,” Abdullah said. “His predicament is different than anyone else.
“Great reward brings great responsibility, and he needs to mature and understand that every decision I make has dire consequences, not only to myself but my family, team, coaching staff and university. And before I act, I need to make sure I represent myself in the right way.”
That’s coming from the guy who hasn’t won the Heisman. Yet.
» So you think the Nebraska offense you saw against Miami — smash-mouth, physical, downhill running — is the new Nebraska offense? Not so fast, says the guy in charge.
“We’re going to take what (the defense) gives us,” Bo Pelini told me on Monday. “We didn’t go into that game saying we were going to run the ball. We thought there were some things in the passing game that we liked.
“But they gave us opportunities in the run game and you go with what’s working and how they’re playing you. Sometimes, they don’t give you the run, so we have to be able to do something else.”
But can’t you still run the ball when the box is loaded if you commit to it? After Saturday night’s success, and with a player like Abdullah, wouldn’t you repeat the Miami game plan every week?
“It depends on what’s there and what’s being effective,” Pelini said. “Do we want to run the football? Absolutely. Can you run when there’s nine in the box? Some, but it’s more conducive to taking shots (downfield).”
» Tim Miles reeled in his second top 100 recruit in the last month on Monday. That’s ahead of my schedule. Sure, Nebraska’s coming off an unexpected NCAA year and fourth-place finish in the Big Ten, with the new arena and excitement. But sometimes it takes a couple recruiting cycles for big-time kids to trust it. They want to see if it’s a one-time thing. I’m sure it didn’t hurt that Ed Morrow has two parents who were former Husker athletes. But that’s heady stuff for Miles this soon.
» A couple years ago I didn’t know there was such a thing as a Triple-A baseball national championship. Now I want the T-shirt and the hat. Amazing run by the Storm Chasers. When’s the parade down Dodge Street?
» I’m absolutely sick for Danny Woodhead, Elkhorn’s San Diego Charger. Woodhead suffered a broken fibula and a high ankle sprain on the first play of the Chargers-Bills game on Sunday.
The night before, Woodhead had given a passionate speech to his teammates about respecting and loving the game because you never know when it could be your last.
It’s easy to see why Woodhead is so popular. In a league of many knuckleheads, here’s a guy who gets it, who has squeezed so much out of his body and ability. In other news, the Chargers need another running back. It won’t be Darren Sproles. He’s selling his house in San Diego. Darn.
» What about Knile Davis? Oh, right. He’s with the Chiefs. And how. You want to write the Chiefs out of the playoffs, better do it in pencil.
» Would Jim Harbaugh go home to Michigan? And would Niners fans stop him?
» Florida State did the Playoff Committee a favor — or maybe that was Clemson that did them the favor. Shotgun on fourth-and-inches? Anyway, if FSU carries one loss into December, and that loss is without its star quarterback, that’s a dilemma for the committee. Now, they’re off the hook. Until the next dilemma.
» It’s Ryder Cup week and I’m in. But I love watching golf. Will you tune in? No Tiger. Phil hits more hospitality tents than fairways. The European team, which takes this thing very seriously, is heavily favored. United States golf, and golf on TV, needs Tom Watson’s team to pull an upset or push it to the final match on Sunday.
» One more and I’m outta here: There’s no shortage of Omaha folks planning trips to see Doug McDermott this season. The good folks at the Bluejay Bar and Grill have jumped to the front of the line with a bus trip to see McDermott — and yes, those Bulls — play Minnesota at the Target Center in Minneapolis on Nov. 1. The trip is $300 per person and includes bus trip, hotel in downtown Minnie and game ticket. For information, go to CreightonCrazies.com.
Would a Husker football fan stop by to see No. 3? We’ll find out the week of the Oct. 18 Nebraska-Northwestern game, when the Bulls have two home exhibition games, including Oct. 16 vs. Kyle Korver and the Hawks.
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Video: Tom Shatel on "The Bottom Line"
Video: Trevor Roach at Monday's press conference
Video: Bo Pelini at Monday's press conference
Video: Josh Mitchell at Monday's press conference
Video: Ameer Abdullah at Monday's press conference
Video: Tommy Armstrong at Monday's press conference
Video: Husker Monday Minute with Sam McKewon
Video: Former Husker Adam Carriker on "The Bottom Line"
Video: Former Husker Ron Kellogg on "The Bottom Line"