TALLAHASSEE — Jameis Winston is a funny guy, which might be bad news for anyone thinking all the yuk-yuks are on Florida State University this season.
Winston is likely to be the starting quarterback, a footnote that leads to a daunting fun-fact: For the first time since 2005, FSU will begin the season without a quarterback who has started a college football game.
It's impossible to predict how Winston will fare next month in front of 11 guys who want to play want to play Whac-A-Mole with his body. But he seems quite adroit at working on all phases of his game.
He graded out fabulously in a meet-and-greet session with the media storm during FSU's media day Sunday morning. When asked about his "bedside manner" — Winston aspires to be a doctor some day _— he smiled before answering the question posed by a white, middle-aged reporter.
"I can make you comfortable in a black church," he said, drawing chuckles. "I'm always going to make someone feel comfortable because if you make someone feel comfortable, it settles them down. They're not thinking; their mind's not racing."
Please ignore the pseudo-competition that FSU coach Jimbo Fisher is trying to create in people's heads. Jacob Coker will be the back-up quarterback unless Winston has some sort of crazy meltdown between now and the season opener at Pittsburgh Sept. 2.
File it under not going to happen.
Winston is the main reason worry-wart FSU fans are uncertain whether the 'Noles can match, or even top, a 12-2 record in 2012. But he's also the reason they may do just that.
"He's very clutch," veteran offensive lineman Bryan Stork said. "I'm very impressed with the way he competes."
Stork wasn't just saying that to make his teammate look good in the press. He actually scouted him on the baseball field to get a feel for his competitive juice. Winston played in 41 games for the FSU baseball team this season, seeing work as an outfielder, designated hitter and pitcher this season.
That was part of the recruiting deal he made with Fisher when Winston was recruited out of Hueytown, Ala.: He gets to play both sports for entire collegiate career.
Fisher had no problem with that, especially now, with EJ Manuel now taking snaps for the Buffalo Bills as a first-round pick.
Winston did all of his game-day work on the sidelines in 2012, cheering on Manuel and his other teammates. But you can tell he doesn't have stage fright.
"Pressure?" he said. "It's just a word. . . . Like they say, it takes a whole nation to raise one kid. I got this whole team to raise me and hopefully be a great quarterback one day."
Fisher has been trying to minimize the hype by limiting his availability to the media. Prior to Sunday, Winston had only been available twice during the spring — before practice began and then briefly after the spring game during which Winston completed 12 of 15 passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns.
Good luck with that moving forward; though Fisher should have nothing to worry about.
That's another thing Winston is very adroit at — keeping a perspective on matters. He was asked how he could avoid "Manziel Disease" — a new epidemic sweeping the nation. Symptoms include a great kid turning into a boorish, out-of-control jerk in the span of a few weeks.
"Manziel disease?" Winston said. "If I get Manziel disease, I want every one of you all to get your mikes and start tapping me on the head. It's good to see things like that because he's a great guy. He's like me. He's funny, he's outgoing but sometimes when all eyes are on you, you can't do certain things."
Expect Winston to do a lot of things. Good things that will bring plenty of good yuks-yuks for FSU fans.
No worries. The kid is all right.