Searching For Consistency

<b>Chris Rix</b> took advantage of his second chance against Florida last season, rushing for 83 yards and throwing two touchdown passes to <b>Anquan Boldin</b> as the Seminoles pounded the Gators 31-14 at Doak Campbell Stadium. Many fans wanted to believe Rix's performance would be the turning point in his career. While his passing stats weren't overwhelming -- 13 of 29 for 194 yards -- Rix avoided the mistakes that cost FSU in early games and eventually landed him on the bench.

Of course, a year has passed and Rix continues to search for consistency.

While Rix has thrown for a career-high 2,755 yards and 19 touchdowns heading into next weekend‘s Florida showdown at The Swamp, he also has suffered 12 interceptions, including seven in the Seminoles' last four games.

Benched in the fourth quarter at Clemson two weeks ago, Rix nearly found himself on the sidelines in the second half of last Saturday's emotional double-overtime win over North Carolina State.

A slow start was compounded by an ill-advised pass that was returned 43 yard for a touchdown by 285-pound Wolfpack tacklet Alan Halloway, who then brushed off the quarterback on his way to the end zone.

FSU coach Bobby Bowden admitted he wanted to make a quarterback change but was talked out of the move by his offensive staff. Rix rebounded from a 5 of 15 start to finish 15 of 32 for 183 yards and three touchdowns.

FSU offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden blamed himself and his staff for some of Rix's struggles.

"I did not feel. ..on the interception, we put a throw-back play in that I didn't feel like we coached good enough to put the blame on him," Bowden said Thursday in a news conference with the media.

"I didn't feel like the fact there was pressure in his face was his fault. Now, maybe a little wiser decision would have been to eat the ball and take the sack. But a wiser decision would have been coach the play better and do it right because we had a huge play set up if he had not had pressure. I was not putting that one play on him.

"And the second thing was we gave them one (turnover), they turned around and gave us one. All things were equal and we were starting the game all over again. Basically, it wasn't time in my opinion to panic over that situation."

Bowden said his message to Rix this has been oft-repeated this season.

"I ask of every week of him to not to go out and try to win the game himself," Bowden said.

"I think early on in his career I think that's the way he felt. Just try to emphasize use the talent around you because he has a whole bunch of it. And when he does that, he's usually fine."

Bowden also repeated the obvious, saying Rix needed to protect against turnovers against the Gators. FSU returns to practice tonight before breaking for a long weekend.

"The second thing, I think is going to be a critical point in this game is protecting the football, turnovers," Bowden said.

"That might be one of the biggest keys in the ballgame, protecting the ball. Not to say you aren't going to go out there and have one. You go out there and turn the ball over three times -- see what it did to N.C. State, four turnovers and it was still tight. We certainly can't do that. So I am just going to ask him to protect the ball and use the skill around him."

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