Back To Full Strength

When <b>Fabian Walker</b> reflects on his arm strength and throwing motion last season, a wince spreads across this face. His deep throws lacked accuracy. Even short to medium timing routes, once considered Walker's trademark, were spotty at times. Well, Walker is back at full strength, giving the Seminoles a quality backup behind starter Chris Rix. And let's not forget Wyatt Sexton, who continues to impress with his development. "Each of us, we stick together," Walker said.

When Fabian Walker reflects on his arm strength and throwing motion last season, a wince spreads across this face.

His deep throws lacked accuracy. Even short to medium timing routes, once considered Walker's trademark, were spotty at times.

"Last year, I was maybe 70 percent at the most," said Walker, who played the entire season with pain in his right throwing shoulder. He underwent arthroscopy surgery last January.

"If I am not 100 percent right now, I am almost there. My arm is feeling so good."

Walker, a redshirt junior from Americus, Ga., was a fixture at Florida State's summer conditioning workouts that ended last week.

He enters preseason drills Tuesday as the backup behind starter Chris Rix. Third-teamer Wyatt Sexton, who enjoyed a solid spring during Walker's absence, provides the Seminoles quality depth.

"Each of us, we stick together," Walker said.

"We are all pushed each other each and every day this summer. Those two guys worked hard just like I did. Each of us is trying to make progress in the areas we are lacking in. We have some depth there -- that's the good thing about the position."

Of course, Walker became only the second Seminole quarterback under coach Bobby Bowden to make his first career start in a bowl game, joining Eric Thomas (1983 Peach Bowl). Walker was on the short end of a defeat to the Georgia Bulldogs last January in place of the suspended Rix.

Walker suffered three turnovers – two interceptions and a fumble – was sacked three times and finished 7-of-12 for 69 yards and one touchdown in just under three quarters. He had a long completion of just 20 yards. Even so, Bowden said Walker would have gone into spring drills as the team's starter if the Seminoles has beaten Georgia.

While Rix holds that role, Walker wants to be ready if called upon. He has toned his body from last season and says he's in a better frame of mind as well. There's also no more doubts about his arm motion or strength.

"The thing about last year was my arm ached after every practice and I had to make sure I iced it down," Walker said.

"The thing about right now, I can do a lot of throwing without any pain. It just feels so much better. That's what I've been gradually trying to work my way back into, throwing the long ball. Everything has gone real well. I am at a weight I am very satisfied with (215). I feel light on my feet. My arms feels good."

Walker's journey to FSU is well-documented.

He originally signed with the Seminoles in 1999 but was not qualified. He earned the entrance standards that fall and enrolled in January of 2000. However, the ACC ruled that Walker needed to earn an associate of arts degree before re-enrolling at FSU. That accomplished, Walker enrolled once again in 2001 and was redshirted.

Healthy again, Walker is looking to compete and contribute. He says all three quarterbacks have made noticeable strides.

"Wyatt has been around football all of his life," Walker said. "It's a second-nature for him. He just needs to get out there in terms of reps and just playing. He's gong to be fine.

"Chris also has done well. I think it's coming back, the respect for him. He has done the things everyone accepts of him during the off-season. He has shown he's going to be a leader and everyone is looking for him to come out and play well this year.

"But, in my position, I just want to be there if something doesn't go right, they have the same kind of confidence in me."

Walker also urges fans to keep the faith in the program, which is looking to rebound from two down years.

"Lot of people are doubting us," Walker said. "You know as I well as I know the potential is there, the talent is there. Everyone has been working very hard. I am really excited about this year."


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