SoCal, talk to us about Eric Winston
I know that he's coming back from a serious knee injury and that he's an awesome pass blocking LT. But how is he in run blocking? Should we be concerned about his future because of the injury? Is he worth a top 10 pick?
Give us the dirt man.
He is an adequate blocker in the run game but can do better. He is a superb pass blocker. I think he will get better in the run game department. He has been working very hard in the weight room to get stronger and stronger so he should have a fine year this year. Eric has prototype size and extremely quick feet. He is a great athlete for a lineman as a former TE. I think his play this year will warrant a top 10 pick. Right now, the Blesto Scouting Service has him ranked as the no. 1 overall prospect although i have to admit thats too high, but you can see by that ranking that the scouts are really enamored with his abilities. Our OL coach Art Kehoe says he is the best he has coached, even better than McKinnie.
Here is a somewhat dated (a couple months old) journal entry of his on his rehab.
Eric Winston Journal #4
By Christopher Stock
Date: Mar 22, 2005
Eric Winston checks back with CanesTime for his fourth journal entry, which he updates on a monthly basis. Once again he lets readers know how his rehab process is coming along and gives his thoughts on the team’s first week of spring practice. Also, he offers his opinion on his sleeper team that will make the Final Four.
PREVIOUS ERIC WINSTON JOURNALS
#1 – December 6 | #2 – January 21 | #3 – February 21
I just got back from spring break and it went pretty well. I went to Dallas to see a friend of mine at North Texas and then to see some of my friends from AAU basketball. After Dallas I headed back to Midland for the last five days to spend time with my family. I have a pretty big family—a total of four brothers, a step dad, a mom, and dad. I have pretty much grown up with them throughout my life. I don’t get to see them very often, except the brother I live with, so it is nice when I do get to spend time with them.
While I was home I relaxed quite a bit, but I did keep up with my rehab. My knee feels really good right now and I feel like I’m making steady improvements. Every day is a little better. I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and I really think I will be ready to play this year. I don’t think I ever doubted that I would be ready, but it was always the uncertainty of not knowing for sure. Everyone would always tell me that I would be ready and I would keep telling myself that, but it is a lot easier to realize it now that I am moving along so well.
I am starting to do a lot of running outside and small things with the team such as high knees and karaoke--slowly, not full-speed. But it is good for me that I am not just running forward and that I am running side-to-side. Another part of my rehab that I have been very involved with recently is the use of the pool.
I have been using the pool twice a week for about an hour at a time. I used to swim a lot when I was younger, but this is the first time I have ever used the pool for performance training. While in the pool I bet I move a total distance of a ½ mile in a lot of different movements. I have gradually gotten better and the work in the pool is not easy—it is a heck of a workout.
Everything is feeling good and I’m excited with my progress. When I am in the pool I do not waste much time in between sets. I want to utilize my time in there to keep improving. I have been lucky so far with my rehab and knock on wood, I haven’t had any setbacks or anything to worry about.
Right now my weight fluctuates between 309-315 pounds depending on the day. In the first month after surgery I lost 30 pounds including a lot of muscle mass in my leg. Gaining weight is one thing that I have never tried to do. Even when I was moved to tackle it just came naturally. I just started eating regularly and filled out my frame.
Before spring break we maxed out in the weight room. I maxed out at 340 pounds on the bench press, which was good for me. Bench has always been something that I have had to work hard at for some reason. I am the strongest I have ever been in my upper body. With a good summer I hope to be in the 360-370 range. I did not max out on squat or clean, but I have maxed out at 515 squat and 370 in the power clean.
Although I did not max out in squat I have done a lot of high volume repetitions to build the muscles. I will do four sets of eight at 245 pounds, which is really good for me.
FIRST WEEK OF PRACTICE
Last week was our first week of spring practices and I was happy with it. It is good to have a week like that and then to have a week off. We had just three practices, one hitting, but it gives coaches something to evaluate on where we need to go. It also gives players a chance to step back to see where they are at and what they need to improve upon.
I thought the offensive line did a good job of coming off the ball and opening holes. They know where they need to go from now on. All of the running backs, Charlie Jones, George Timmons, and Derron Thomas, did a good job of hitting the holes. They are all competing hard. They had their mistakes, but everyone did. What I liked was that they were pressing the holes and not dancing around in the back. You want a guy that hits the hole well especially holes early on. And the quarterbacks are competing like everyone thought they would. I thought the receivers really stepped it up last week and are comprised primarily of juniors and seniors.
Hopefully today we will pick it back up and have a good rest of the spring.
It has started to hit me that this is my last year. It feels like I just got here. It is funny being considered a senior. I was just talking with Sinorice Moss the other day, since our lockers are across from each other, and we both feel like we just got here and that is has been a fun ride. I think guys like Sinorice are going to be great leaders for our team this year.
I also think Orien Harris is going to be a leader along with Roger McIntosh. Greg Threat is a great leader by example guy and Kelly Jennings is going to be a good leader too. There is not going to be a lack of leaders. Sometimes people will say there are too many ‘chiefs’ on the team, but I don’t think that will be a problem. Everybody is on the same page and we are really pushing ourselves. When you have good guys like we have, we are going to be just fine.
One thing that we want to establish this year is a good team atmosphere. Last year I thought we got along well, but we want to have an even closer group this year. We don’t have to have everyone hanging out with everyone all of the time away from the field, but it is the little things that count. I have already noticed a better attitude around the team this year. Everyone is doing a good job of going out of their way to help each other out and look out for one another. For example, the other day Devin Hester saw me on campus and gave me a ride to the Hecht Center even though it was out of his way to where he was going.
This is becoming a closer group as a lot of the guys live in the same apartment complex or will hang out in the locker room more. It is those little things that make a big difference. And to be honest, I haven’t always seen that around here. It was something that Orien and I talked about last year and wanted to change, but we have to keep building on it. Any type of relationship either builds or goes backwards, it won’t stay the same. And it is definitely something we want to keep building around here.
Like a majority of sports fans I have been watching the NCAA basketball tournament. After watching a number of games I have a team that will make it to the Final Four—Texas Tech. Yes, that is right and here’s why. They play like a team comprised of selfless players. All they care about is winning. They have a couple of good athletes, but most of them are just hard-workers that all play for each other. They will force you to make mistakes and then capitalize on them. They play great as a team. I have had the opportunity to meet Bobby Knight a couple of times in person and although he can be a hard guy to play for, in the end nobody will love you more.
I love watching them play. Texas Tech to the Final Four!
Eric Winston is working with CanesTime Senior Writer & Assistant Editor Christopher Stock on his journal entries. If you have any questions, comments, or topics of interest for Eric you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you think he'd be a good fit for the Broncos system?
I think Miami will put out a very good class this year for the draft. Since we are likely to have 7 or 8 picks in the first four rounds, and i have about 8-11 Miami players in mind going in the first four rounds next year I wouldnt be surprised if we came away with one of them (just hope its the right one! :pray: ).
new update on winston. Injury issues are looking good, he seems to be ahead of schedule.
Winston Journal #5
Eric Winston By Christopher Stock
Date: Jun 28, 2005
Eric Winston checks back with CanesTime for another journal entry. Once again he lets readers know how his rehab process is coming along and gives his thoughts on the team’s summer workouts.
Hello Hurricane Fans,
I can’t believe how good my knee feels. This is our fourth week of summer workouts and I can’t believe how good it feels. I remember the beginning stages after I got hurt and how sore it was. I don’t know what happened since then—I just did what I was supposed to do during rehab to get back on the field. I just can’t say enough about the trainers and everyone that has been with me the whole way.
I have been doing all of the workouts throughout the summer. I went slow through some stuff in the beginning and right now I’m doing everything. Early this week I did over 400 pounds in squat reps. I have also done all of the agility drills they have asked us to do throughout the summer. I’m even doing all of the position stuff. Honestly, I didn’t think it would feel like this until at least July.
This summer has been a great time for our team. In the past when we had a real hard day we would talk about it amongst each other in the locker room and would be complaining about how tough it was. Now we are all talking about how we are glad that it is harder this summer. And it has been harder.
Typically, each summer gets easier because we know what is going on and what to expect. However, this summer we are doing more than we have in the past. We have done more runs on the hill and endurance runs than we have in the past. The workouts are longer, harder, and we are lifting more weights. We have done that on purpose. Coach Swasey wanted that and more importantly, we wanted to do that as a team.
Every day I see a bunch of guys that are working their tails off. The upperclassmen have been doing a great job of leading the team to push each other, but also everyone is taking it to themselves to improve. You have to have that as a team and it is good that we have guys that are willing and want to do whatever it takes in the summer to get where we want to be in the fall.
When you think about it, the season is right around the corner. It will be here before we know it. We are excited about it and if we keep working we will get to where we want to be. I’m just real encouraged of how everything is going with us this summer.
Along the offensive line I think we have a chance to be really, really good. I think as a team—we just have to stay healthy. We have had a lot of key injuries the last two years. Because of the injuries we have more depth on our offensive line. We have three outstanding guards in Tyler McMeans, Tony Tella, and Derrick Morse—and that is not to mention Andrew Bain who has been having a great summer. We have a lot of guys that we can plug into the lineup. As a unit when we have our ‘dummy’ pads that we hold we are crashing into them pretty hard. We are getting ready to go.
Kyle Wright has been doing well this summer during seven-on-sevens and so has Kirby Freeman. Both quarterbacks are as solid a 1-2 punch as there is in the ACC. I can’t imagine anybody else in the conference having two quality quarterbacks than what we do. It is very encouraging to have two solid quarterbacks because of whatever happens. It is fun seeing them both play and they both bring different things to the table.
One thing about our offense is that we have a bunch of guys back that expected to contribute. There is not going to be a lot of unknown’s on our team coming out of nowhere. I think a guy like James Bryant will step up and play hard when he gets his opportunities. I think Greg Olsen is going to be amazing this year, but he showed what he could do last year.
Ryan Moore is doing well this summer and he had a great spring. But there is no doubt about it that he has a lot to prove. He was a big-time recruit out of high school and after a good freshman year he didn’t put up the numbers last year. It is his time to show what he can do. I think he is working hard out there and I expect him to have a solid year for us.
Personally, I just want to win. If our team wins every game then our guys will be up for awards. I could care less about personal awards and I don’t think there is too many guys on the team that care more about personal achievements compared to team goals. You hate to say it, but it isn’t always like that. I am so happy that we have leaders in the right places, which I think it is a recipe for success.
After graduating in May, I am really concentrating on getting healthy this summer. I’m making sure I ice my knee when I need to and just have time to relax. This June has already gone fast. Once we get into July it will be time for practice to begin in August. Believe it or not, the season is just around the corner.
Eric Winston is working with CanesTime Senior Writer & Assistant Editor Christopher Stock on his journal entries. If you have any questions, comments, or topics of interest for Eric you can send an email to email@example.com
Eric is quite right about James Bryant and Greg Olsen. These guys will be very good this year. Bryant may be the nation's top FB. He has been amazing in the spring at the position in both the passing game and in blocking.
Latest Winston update.
Miami OT Winston ready to return from injury
Story Tools: Print Email
Posted: 5 hours ago
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) - He already was good. Really good. Experts touted him as a high first-round NFL draft pick this past spring.
A serious knee injury put those pro plans on hold. Now, Eric Winston is back to prove he's better than ever.
Miami's left tackle is healthy and cleared to participate when the Hurricanes open camp on Aug. 8, when he'll start his mission to regain - or exceed - the form that left scouts drooling and opponents leery.
"If I would have not gotten hurt, I would have been top five in the draft, gotten a ton of money and I would have been some little kid with $20 million in my bank account and probably doing something stupid right now," the 6-foot-7, 310-pound Winston said. "Getting hurt kind of puts everything back in perspective."
Winston's 2004 season ended eight games early because of three torn ligaments in his left knee, an injury that probably played a major role in Miami's three-loss campaign - one in which the Hurricanes failed to reach a Bowl Championship Series game for the first time since 1999.
It happened early in the fourth quarter of Miami's 27-3 win at Georgia Tech last Oct. 2. A missed block on the right side of the line allowed Georgia Tech linebacker Chris Reis an unimpeded path to Miami quarterback Kyle Wright, who tumbled to the turf in Reis' grasp.
Winston fell backward over Wright and shredded his knee.
Season over, just like that.
The plane ride home from Atlanta - which should have been joyous, with the Hurricanes celebrating their first Atlantic Coast Conference road win - instead was one on which Miami president Donna Shalala spent time comforting Winston and telling him a fourth year in school could be a good thing.
"What happened with Eric took the wind out of the coaches' sails and the team's sails that day," Miami coach Larry Coker said. "We were pretty down as a staff and as a football team for quite a while. ... No doubt, we struggled offensively without him. With Eric, things might have been different."
With him, they were 4-0 and ranked No. 4 in the nation. Without him, they went 5-3, each loss coming by a touchdown or less - and in games in which they certainly could have benefited from having their best lineman, and perhaps their best leader, on the field instead of the sideline.
Inability to run the ball was a consistent thread in each of Miami's losses a year ago. The Hurricanes averaged just 2.8 yards per carry in defeats to Clemson, North Carolina and Virginia Tech. In the games in which Winston was in the lineup, Miami averaged 4.2 yards per carry.
"He's such a physical player. ... He makes those backs a lot better when he's in the ball game," said Mickey Andrews, Florida State's longtime defensive coordinator. "You can't let him get his hands on you. He's a great leader on top of it. That might be the most significant contribution to the team."
The leadership is visible on the field, in meeting rooms and in the weight room - but the best example Winston sets may be in the classroom. He was an international finance and marketing major who finished his degree in three years, yet isn't fixated on the millions that await him.
"Money can't buy happiness," he said. "To me, the only thing it buys is freedom. You can do whatever you want."
His goals are very simple, yet very lofty.
He wants to win a national championship - not a day passes, he says, that he doesn't spend time lamenting Miami's 31-24 double-overtime loss to Ohio State in the BCS title game following the 2002 season - and play well enough to go No. 1 overall in the draft.
"No two ways about it," Winston said. "I expect to be the top guy taken."
He pauses for a moment and shakes an index finger toward his knee.
"This thing's not going to hold me back," he added. "If I'm not there, it's not because of this. It's because I didn't play good enough. And whether or not that's going to be the case, it's not going to be because I haven't worked hard enough to do this."
Indeed, it wasn't unusual to see Winston arrive for workouts at 6:30 a.m. this summer, beginning a several-hour period of sprints, stair runs, weightlifting and other exercises. His comeback is so vigorous that Andreu Swasey, the team's strength and conditioning coach, often has to hold Winston back a bit.
"He's stronger than he was before," Swasey said. "With Eric and his determination and dedication, it's all been working. He believes in the program we have here, and the numbers and results show where he's at."
Winston came to Miami as a tight end, and backed up Kellen Winslow Jr.
He literally outgrew that position; to keep his weight under 280 pounds, he could only eat salads for dinner. Eventually, he realized his future was on the offensive line, so he volunteered to help fill some holes created by the graduation of several starters following the 2002 season.
Winston quickly blossomed into one of the nation's best, and vows to be better than ever in his final collegiate season.
"I started playing in full pads when I was in third grade, 9 years old," Winston said. "Every kid, this is where they want to get to. I've outlasted about 98 percent of them. Now it's time to finish them off. I've always had goals. I've never not gotten to them - and I've got two or three to finish off this year."
Appreciate the article. It will be interesting to follow him this year.
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