Roy Exum: Let’s Lighten Up On Jameis

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - by Roy Exum

Put me down as one who viewed Jameis Winston’s remarks following the National Championship victory with pure, unabashed delight early Tuesday morning. But, no, there were immediate detractors who pointed out his poor grammar, his emotional stumbles and his off-the top comments were hardly befitting a Heisman Trophy winner who just won the Most Valuable Player Award.

Please! Let’s all remember this is a kid who, on the night of his 20th birthday, had just guided his Seminole teammates 80 yards on just seven plays in 58 seconds to seal as exciting a comeback as has ever been seen in college football. He hadn’t even caught his breath before ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi cornered him before the awards presentation.

But Dee Dee Bonner, the mother of Alabama’s gifted A.J. McCarron, quickly tweeted, “Am I listening to English?” while The Tide quarterback’s glamour girlfriend Katherine Webb added her two cents, “Jameis Winston needs to learn sign language to communicate because listening to him attempt to speak English is just insulting.”

Oh heavens? You’ll remember that Winston beat out McCarron in the Heisman voting and – within a few minutes – both rants were removed. By the break of dawn Dee Dee (no grammarian herself) was back-pedaling faster than her son in any given first quarter. “Any1 that knows our family knows we R far from racist. My tweet was not in any way meant that way. I sincerely apologize if it offended any1.”

Winston’s comments were perfect. After a scandal-filled year, where a state attorney declines to press rape charges, the star quarterback told Rinaldi, "We are champions together," he gasped before being ushered to the dais to collect his MVP award and kiss the BCS trophy. "And through everything that we went through—through all the haters, through every single thing—we came out victorious."

What in the world is wrong with that? I was hoping Auburn would win, extending a Cinderella string, but the sports lover came out in me when FSU began to click after trailing 21-10 at the half. Winston was incredible on the last drive and did exactly what an All-American is expected to do. We all know he is hardly a Shakespeare on the stage but, after years of listening to college athletes, I thought the redshirt freshman did an awesome job.

* * *

AUBURN RUNNING back Tre Mason broke the SEC’s single-season rushing record late in the game when he darted 37 yards for a go-ahead touchdown with 1:19 remaining in the game to put Auburn ahead by 4.  Mason ran for 195 yards against the stout Seminole defense, carrying the ball 34 times and scoring again on a 12-yard reception. Mason, who had a startling 304 yards rushing on 46 carries in the SEC title game, closed the year with 1,861 yards, topping Jackson’s 1,786-yard performance in 1985 when he won the Heisman Trophy.

After the game, the crest-fallen Mason said. “I’m just upset with myself, I feel like I didn’t cap it off for the Auburn fans. My goal was to come in here and have the biggest turnaround in college football and win the national championship and I feel like … I want to apologize to them because I feel like I let them down.”

* * *

ESPN came out with its “Way Too Early Top 25” on Tuesday following Florida’s State victory and the SEC, which had its string of seven national titles snapped by the Seminoles, had eight teams on the early list.

ESPN promptly picked FSU as the No. 1 team for the 2014 regular season because Winston has a huge number of veteran players returning under Jimbo Fisher. Alabama is No. 2, followed by Oregon, Stanford, and Auburn.

Michigan State Is No. 6, followed by UCLA, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and LSU. Georgia is at No. 11 followed by Baylor, South Carolina, Southern Cal and Wisconsin. Texas A&M is No. 16, followed by North Carolina, Clemson, Washington, and Ole Miss. Iowa is No. 21 with Arizona State, Notre Dame, Central Florida and Florida closing out the list.

* * *

DID YOU KNOW Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, who was just voted as the college Coach of the Year, makes it a point to never say a cuss word. Athletic Director Jay Jacobs told reporters last week that he has “never heard him say a word that would be offensive to anyone, but the thing about it is, what he says, his words and his deeds match up. That develops respect and therefore develops trust.”

Malzahn constantly uses words like “crud,” “crap,” “darn” or “frigging” but, devoutly religious, won’t utter anything worse. And the players say that makes it even worse when he chews somebody out. “It’s way worse,” said center Reese Dismukes. “I would much rather be cussed out, 10 times out of 10, than be yelled at by Coach Malzahn.”

Roy Exum: My Garden In December

As the fallen leaves confirm today is the first of December, my monthly walk in life’s garden is more foggy than fun. In much-older times, good children would get a piece of candy on Christmas Day while bad ones would receive a lump of coal. So here are some things that deserve a helping of both: A PIECE OF CANDY to the amazingly few who can spy a nest of mistletoe high in area ... (click for more)

City Fathers Need To Formally Recognize The Late Bob Elmore - And Response (3)

Our city fathers have a long overdue opportunity to correct an oversight.  If the late Bob Elmore had been an elected official or a man of great wealth, with his contributions to Chattanooga, there would be buildings, bridges, or streets named in his honor.  Please read just some of Mr. Elmore’s accomplishments and see for yourself that some formal recognition should be ... (click for more)

Larry Schumacher Named Chief Executive Officer Of CHI Memorial

T he board of directors of CHI Memorial and Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) have chosen Larry Schumacher as the chief executive officer (CEO) of CHI Memorial effective Jan. 4, 2016 . Mr. Schumacher comes to CHI Memorial from Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) based in Springfield, Illinois where he served as system chief operating officer for the past eight years.  ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Under Flood Watch Through Wednesday

With a steady rain set to continue through Wednesday, Chattanooga is under a flood watch. Over four inches of rain are expected in some areas. Here is the advisory from the National Weather Service: ...LOCALIZED FLOODING POSSIBLE ACROSS EAST TENNESSEE AND SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING... .THE COMBINATION OF DEEP SUBTROPICAL MOISTURE AND A SLOW MOVING FRONTAL ... (click for more)

No 1 Connecticut Overwhelms Lady Mocs, 79-31

At least 6,104 basketball enthusiasts got to see what the best women’s college basketball team in the country looks like Monday night at McKenzie Arena. The three-time defending national champion Connecticut Huskies won for the fourth time this season and 41 st game in a row with an impressive 79-31 victory over the Chattanooga Lady Mocs before the seventh-largest crowd in ... (click for more)

Ryan Parker and Traneil Moore Are Mr Football Winners

Senior Ryan Parker of Baylor School and junior Traneil Moore of  East Ridge have been selected as Tennessee Titans Mr. Football winners for 2015. Parker is the D-II AA Lineman of the Year and Moore is the D-I 3A Back of the Year Ryan Parker - Baylor School ... senior linebacker/running back ... 2015 stats included 95 tackles, 30 tackles for loss, eight quarterback sacks, ... (click for more)