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Rose Bowl notes: Jameis Winston steers clear of social media

Florida State QB Jameis Winston won the 2013 Heisman Trophy but has earned wrong kind of fame off the field

Jameis Winston has followed a simple rule regarding fallout from continual off-the-field incidents during his Florida State career.

Stay away from social media.

"I just usually go on Instagram and look at pictures," he said. "I rarely just hop on Twitter or anything."

The talented but controversial quarterback discussed his public image at a Sunday news conference in advance of Thursday's Rose Bowl matchup against Oregon.

In the last two years, Winston has been caught shoplifting crab legs from a supermarket and shouting vulgarities in the student union. He has faced an investigation for possible NCAA rules violations and, more seriously, a sexual assault allegation.

Prosecutors found insufficient evidence to press charges in the latter case and Winston denied any wrongdoing — and last week, the school cleared him following a university code-of-conduct hearing. He has apologized for other misdeeds.

The accumulation of bad behavior has made him a lightning rod for criticism.

"What people think about me is none of my business," he told reporters Sunday. "I really don't know what the word around the street is."

Coach Jimbo Fisher and teammates have remained supportive. And Winston has learned to limit his public exposure.

"I've just got to sit in because people will tweet about you walking down the street backwards," he said. "You've just got to chill."

—David Wharton

Lookalike

Oregon linebacker Derrick Malone says Winston reminds him of another quarterback the Ducks played at the Rose Bowl this year.

"I like to compare him to Brett Hundley from UCLA," Malone said. "The entire team, I will say they're like Michigan State."

This would seem to bode well for Oregon's chances in the Rose Bowl. UCLA has not defeated Oregon since the 2007 season and the Ducks won this year's game, 42-30, in Pasadena. They led 42-10 in the fourth quarter before surrendering three late touchdowns.

Oregon also defeated Michigan State in September in Eugene, outscoring the Spartans 28-3 in the second half en route to a 46-27 win.

Hall passes

The Rose Bowl will welcome three new members to its Hall of Fame in a Tuesday luncheon at the Pasadena Convention Center. Former UCLA coach Dick Vermeil, former Penn State tailback Ki-Jana Carter and legendary Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne will be inducted.

Vermeil led UCLA to an upset of top-ranked Ohio State in the 1976 game, and Carter helped Penn State to a 38-20 win over Oregon in 1995. Vermeil will be presented by Terry Donahue, an assistant under Vermeil at UCLA who succeeded him as head coach before the 1976 season and led the Bruins for 20 years on his way to the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.

Rockne also owns a special place in Rose Bowl lore, coaching his "Four Horsemen" to victory in the 1925 game over a Stanford team coached by Pop Warner.

—Chris Dufresne

Grounded 'Noles

With a Heisman Trophy winner throwing passes, the Florida State running game doesn't get much attention.

The Seminoles rank only 101st in the nation with average of 134 yards rushing per game. But they have scored 26 rushing touchdowns and Oregon isn't taking anything for granted.

Ducks defensive coordinator Don Pellum praised Florida State linemen for doing "a tremendous job in the zone scheme of locking onto people and moving people and creating space for their backs."

Speedy freshman Dalvin Cook has served as the home-run hitter, getting to the edge and getting downfield for 905 yards. Senior Karlos Williams is the go-to guy in short-yardage and goal-line situations, scoring a team-high 10 touchdowns.

"I've taken on the role of being that 6-2, 230-pound back," he said. "I'll pound the ball, pound the ball and put it in the end zone."

Florida State's ground game could become a factor against an Oregon defense that ranks 49th nationally against the rush, surrendering an average of 154 yards. The Ducks will have to make adjustments.

"We haven't played a lot of two-back teams in our conference," Pellum said. "So some of their styles of attack are different."

—David Wharton

david.wharton@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATimesWharton

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

Twitter: @DufresneLATimes

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