Taking Charge

For the second year in a row, veteran quarterback Chris Rix was named the offensive MVP after FSU's spring drills. And for the second straight year, his numbers in the Garnet and Gold game didn't lend credence to the honor. But numbers sometimes fail to tell the entire story. Rix, who completed just five of 14 passes for 77 yards, was forced to direct a shorthanded offense that was missing four of its top projected pass catchers. Those who did suit out had a case of the drops.

Florida State quarterback Chris Rix enjoyed a productive spring. "The thing that is deceiving is that we didn't have [Craphonso] Thorpe," coach Bobby Bowden said following Saturday's spring game.

"We didn't have Willie Reid we didn't have Chris Davis. And Stovall sat out. They are going to make a lot of catches that these younger walk-ons are dropping."

What Rix did bring to the table this spring has been more important in the eyes of his coaches – leadership, maturity and the respect of his teammates haven't been a given during the signal caller's embattled tenure in Tallahassee. One key critic considers the corner turned.

"Chris Rix has matured and I think he is where he ought be," Bowden said.

"He has gone through the normal growing process you'd expect. Now he's a senior. He acts like a senior and plays like a senior and I think the kids recognize that." Offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden agreed, hinting that intangibles may have factored into Rix holding off Lorenzo Booker and his impressive spring for MVP honors.

"Lorenzo would have been a close one," he said. "But without Chris, we're just different."

And after all he has been through, Rix finds it refreshing to garner praise of that caliber. Rix, who enters his senior season as the only four-year starter at quarterback Bowden has had in his career, has one last chance to accomplish goals that have eluded him. Among them: beat Miami and return FSU to the national championship picture.

"I'm excited about the opportunity that I have," he said. "I'm grateful to my teammates and Coach Bowden still believe in me and I'm still here. It's just like life. We all go through struggles. We have done some great things and there are still things we need to work on."

Rix said that he will spend the entire summer in Tallahassee to partake in conditioning sessions and lead passing drills with his receivers.

The hard work can begin to pay dividends Sept. 6 in Miami, a date that has been circled on his calendar since FSU's 16-14 loss to the Hurricanes in Miami. The chance for redemption has defined his off-season.

"That was our motivation, really our fire," Rix said.

"It was like, ‘hey our very next game we have another chance to beat them'. That has provided a hunger and a passion. We have the material and we have the talent and now it's a matter of us wanting it. We've shown glimpse of that in the past. This year if we lay it on the line and pay the price, we'll be rewarded at the end of the season."

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