Oklahoma State defensive tackle James Castleman has faced a number of mobile quarterbacks over the past three seasons. All premiere athletes with the ability to scramble from the pocket, shed tackles and make plays with their arms as well as their legs.
Robert Griffin III at Baylor. Collin Klein at Kansas State. Trevone Boykin at TCU.
“I never sacked any of them,” Castleman said. “But I pushed the pile that led to it.”
When the Cowboys open the season against Florida State, Castleman, a senior, will line up across from one of the most prolific quarterback scramblers in all of college football this season in Jameis Winston.
“Of course I’d like to sack him,” Castleman said. “He’s a Heisman winner.”
Easier said than done. The Seminoles return four of five offensive line starters from last season’s national championship team, and each is considered to have pro potential.
Winston wasn’t bashful about his thoughts on his big guys up front in a July interview with the Tallahassee Democrat.
“Well, our offensive line is the best offensive line in the country,” the sophomore star proclaimed at the ACC Kickoff, “and I repeat that Florida State’s offensive line is the best offensive line in the country.”
OSU coach Mike Gundy raved about the Seminoles’ quarterback Monday night at the Tulsa Cowboy Caravan.
“If you aren’t gap responsible and you get out of place, (Winston) can take off and make plays,” Gundy said. “He’s big and strong. Players fall off of him and he can throw it down the field and make a play.”
The Cowboys have been game-planning to contain Winston since early summer. But there’s no secret formula to stopping a mobile quarterback.
“It’s about staying in your lanes,” Castleman said. “You want to get him off balance, and then if you get the chance, you’ve got to try and contain him.”
Less than 24 hours after Gundy received a happy birthday chorus from OSU fans at the Tulsa Caravan, he received another note of celebration.
This time it was a performance from the Cowboy marching band inside the Sherman E. Smith Training Facility near the end of practice on Tuesday.
“I guess that’s what happens when you’re the man around here,” wide receiver David Glidden said. “He gave them a little dance.”
Gundy has spent his last 10 birthdays as the Cowboys’ coach. Every one of them during fall camp. Not that all his players remember the exact date.
“I think I remember (Justin) Blackmon getting up on him dancing or something my freshman year, or something like that,” Glidden said. “But I really had no idea until today during practice somebody said something.”
Gundy turned 47, and by Glidden’s estimation, the coach isn’t likely to spend the night partying in celebration.
“From what I’ve seen, he’s probably going out chasing his kids around at the ball fields or something,” Glidden said. “He seems busy with that.”
SEMINOLES DOMINATE ALL-AMERICA TEAM
Florida State is the reigning national champion. And the Seminoles have plenty of players back to lead the charge for a second straight championship, including Winston.
An indicator of FSU’s depth is seen in the team’s representation on the various All-America lists. The latest, SI.com’s Preseason All-America team, features six Seminoles, with five on the first team.
Joining Winston on the first team were tight end Nick O’Leary, guard Tre’ Jackson, safety Jalen Ramsey and kicker Roberto Aguayo. Offensive tackle Cameron Irving made the second team.
The Seminoles, picked to win the ACC, placed nine on the preseason all-conference team: the above six, plus receiver Rashad Greene, running back Karlos Williams and defensive end Mario Edwards Jr.