Making A Splash

<b>Willie Reid</b> is not flashy. He's not boisterous. He‘s not intimidating. Yet, Reid just might be one of Florida State's best-kept secrets -- if not one of its most important weapons. Reid hopes to make a bigger impact on game day as the seventh-ranked Seminoles (5-1, 4-0) chug into the season's second half. FSU is on the road Saturday in a crucial Atlantic Coast Conference showdown at Virginia (4-2, 3-1), a team that some predicted could win the league title.

Kickoff is 7:45 p.m. and the game will be televised by ESPN.

While the Seminoles have won the last seven games against the Cavs and lead the series 10-1, nothing ever seems to come easy for FSU in Charlottesville, Va.

And now that weather seems to be such an issue with the Seminoles, who struggled in last Saturday's wet conditions against Miami, it's expected to be clear and cool Saturday night with temperatures dipping into the low 40s, according to the city's local forecast.

Of course, this has been a week of venting for FSU supporters, with much of the criticism being directed at quarterback Chris Rix and offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden.

Rix suffered four turnovers in the 22-14 defeat to the Hurricanes, while Bowden's game plan sputtered in the rain.

Reid was one of the lone bright spots, hauling in a juggling, 18-yard touchdown pass from Rix in the third quarter. The score pulled FSU within 22-7 and appeared to give the Seminoles a needed boost of momentum.

"We know we need to make a lot more big plays (Saturday)," Reid told TheTerritory following Thursday's practice. "That falls on our shoulders, my shoulders, Chris Rix's shoulders and Jeff Bowden's shoulders."

FSU's shoulders certainly slumped against the second-ranked Hurricanes.

After forcing a UM fumble on its ensuing possession following Reid's circus catch, the Seminoles drove 79 yards in 18 plays. Faced with first-and-goal from the UM 5, FSU was held on downs. The Seminoles scored a meaningless touchdown on the game's final play when Rix connected on a 17-yard pass to Chris Davis.

FSU is in a familiar spot, having to rebound from a UM defeat to keep pace with the nation's elite.

In an interview with TheTerritory and other media members Monday, Jeff Bowden admitted he needed to get Reid into the game more.

The versatile Reid, who subbed as tailback earlier in the season following injuries to Leon Washington and Lorenzo Booker, said the Seminoles have tweaked their substitution plan for Saturday.

Reid and Chauncey Stovall back P.K. Sam at split end.

Sam is the Seminoles' leading receiver with 30 receptions for 418 yards and two scores. Sam had a game-high nine catches for 93 yards against UM to overtake Craphonso Thorpe as FSU's top outside threat.

"We've come up with a common ground about the rotation," Reid said.

"P.K. is the starter and we know he has to get his reps. But Chauncey and I will try to get in a little more when we can. We've been given more freedom to sub ourselves now -- that's what has changed. We had a little bit of that at the beginning of the year, then the coaches took over."

Reid still believes the Seminnoles' passing game can take over a game. FSU will get that chance against the Cavs.

"We had some trouble with the conditions (last Saturday). They were bad but that's no excuse," said Reid, the Seminoles' second-leading rusher behind Greg Jones with 159 yards.

"We have to get better throwing the deep ball. Virginia's scheme, though, should give us opportunities in the middle of the field. They play a cover two, with the safeties rotating deep and the corners playing up hard and trying to jam you. The middle, short sideline (routes) should be open.

"But it's all about making plays and taking advantage of your opportunities. We have to go out and get the job done."


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