ACC Kickoff Meeting

While <b> Michael Boulware</b> acknowledges FSU's past struggles, he believes nine losses in two seasons hasn't hurt the 'Noles' confidence. Boulware says problems with team chemistry are resolved, pointing specifically to summer improvements made by <b> Chris Rix.</b> Boulware also believes coach <b>Bobby Bowden </b> remains energized even if critics question the program‘s direction. Click here for all the details. "I still think he's the rock he has been in the past," Boulware said of Bowden.

While Michael Boulware acknowledges Florida State's past struggles, he believes nine losses in two seasons hasn't hurt the Seminoles' confidence.

Boulware says problems with team chemistry are resolved, pointing specifically to summer improvements made by Chris Rix. Boulware also believes coach Bobby Bowden remains energized even if critics question the program‘s direction.

"I think coach Bowden hasn't changed," Boulware said Sunday during the ACC Kickoff Meeting with the media in Greensboro, Ga.

"I still think he's the rock he has been in the past. With each generation there's style changes. You have different personalities, so he might have to adjust. But as far as him and his coaches and the way they do things, it's still the same."

That should be good news for FSU fans everywhere as the Seminoles continue summer workouts for the start of two-a-day practices next month. Boulware and tailback Greg Jones participated in interviews with the media, and each made a good impression.

Neither player seemed concerned that many preseason football magazines continue to suggest the Seminoles will struggle this season. North Carolina State, Virginia and Maryland have been given the best chance at unseating the Seminoles, who clinched their 10th ACC regular-season title in 2002 despite distractions at every turn.

"We haven't earned the right to be voted in the top 10," Boulware said.

"I can definitely understand where they're coming from but it doesn't bother us. It only make us more hungry and therefore make us work harder.

"No matter where you go in America, each university is going to have it's share of problems. In the past, Florida State might have had a few problems but they still were able to produce on the field. And I want to… even though there's problems, I still want to be able to produce on the field."

RIX THE KEY

Of course, a main topic of conversation around FSU continues to be the maturation of Rix. Boulware believes the redshirt junior is making good decisions this summer and has embraced a leadership role.

"He's starting to do the little things right," Boulware said.

"Showing up early, being the last one on the field, making sure he's being involved in everything and the guys are really starting to build around him. We know he's gonna be the key factor in our season, but he's been coming along really well."

Boulware says there's no denying Rix's athletic ability. Rix has thrown for 4,418 career yards with 37 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. Boulware, for one, feels Rix learned a valuable lesson when he was suspended for the Seminoles' Sugar Bowl game against Georgia after failing to take two final exams.

"I think after that last incident as far as missing the bowl game, I think that hit home," Boulware said.

"Because no matter what Rix loves to play. He works really hard. You can't take that from him. He's a great athlete and when they took that from him, that was his last straw, he was ready to do whatever it takes. I think we've already got out all the bad blood and everything is starting to build around him now."

Boulware, who finished second on the team last season with 123 total tackles, including 63 solo, says he's also determined to finish his career on a positive note. Not to mention help FSU distance itself from past problems.

"It seems like ever since I started playing (at FSU) I've had to answer these type of questions," Boulware said of team struggles.

"So before I leave I want to make sure the guys behind me don't have to worry about that. So that's why we're going the extra mile, pushing each other, making sure this is the last time this happens."


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