Florida State University

Former Florida State Seminole LeRoy Butler: Get facts, then punish Jameis Winston

LeRoy Butler would like to have seen his alma mater take a more measured approach in the way it meted out Jameis Winston’s punishment.

Butler, a former All-American at Florida State and All-Pro with the Green Bay Packers, said that FSU should have waited until it had all the facts regarding Winston’s reported on-campus outburst before issuing a suspension.

Florida State on Wednesday announced a first-half suspension after Winston shouted an obscene phrase near the student union on Tuesday.

The administration then announced late Friday that “based upon the results of [its] continuing investigation,” Winston’s suspension had been upgraded to a full game.

“I wish it would not be a rush to judge all the time,” Butler said. “Sit back, study the evidence, talk to some witnesses and make a decision. To make a decision and then change it is what the NFL is going through.”

Butler, who still lives in Green Bay, was in Tallahassee for “Sod Talk,” a new pregame event designed to bring noteworthy former players back to talk about the games memorialized in FSU’s sod cemetery.

Butler made it clear that he took no issue with the severity of Winston’s punishment, only the way it came about over the course of three days.

“The most important thing is getting it right,” Butler said. “If you getting it right was for him to be suspended for the half, then do that and live with the consequences. But to just change it at the 11th hour, to me, shows some inconsistencies.”

A RARE DEFICIT

When Clemson took a 10-3 lead midway through the second quarter, it dealt FSU its first regular-season deficit in nearly a year.

Not since last season’s Boston College game on Sept.28, 2013, had the Seminoles trailed in the regular season.

They did play from behind for a significant stretch of the BCS Championship Game in January.

That stretch without trailing ran for 655 minutes 53 seconds of game time.

RUN GAME SPUTTERS

FSU hoped Saturday to lean heavily on its senior-laden offensive line and senior running back Karlos Williams to control the clock and scale back some of the pressure on inexperienced quarterback Sean Maguire.

But in the first half FSU ran the ball just 11 times for minus-22 yards.

A significant part of that was because of Maguire’s sacks, but ballcarriers Williams, Mario Pender and Rashad Greene combined for minus-1 yard on five carries.

WILSON MAKES MARK

Columbus High graduate Jesus Wilson said in the week leading up to the Clemson game that he couldn’t stop thinking about making plays on college football’s big stage.

Wilson, a sophomore who was suspended for FSU’s season opener against Oklahoma State, was one of the Seminoles’ few bright spots on offense in the first half, catching two passes for 50 yards.

STRIKING BACK

The matchup between FSU left tackle Cam Erving and Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley had been a focal point of the build-up for Saturday’s game, especially after Erving shut Beasley out of the sack column in last year’s victory at Clemson.

But Beasley got a measure of atonement Saturday with two first-half sacks, one of which snatched momentum from FSU following Greene’s 28-yard punt return inside the Clemson 40-yard line.

HOLDING HIS OWN

Despite being the subject of constant criticism for much of his career, FSU punter Cason Beatty acquitted himself well in the first half by posting punts of 50 and 43 yards.

He also dropped a 31-yarder at the Clemson 12-yard line.

Beatty’s success, though, also revealed FSU’s offensive struggles. He punted six times in the first half.

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