On Track

Florida State's quarterback position appears to be in excellent hands. <b>Chris Rix</b> has enjoyed a productive summer and, as always, is in superb, physical shape with the start of two-a-days quickly approaching. Of course, fans also are excited about the potential of incoming freshmen <b>Drew Weatherford</b> and <b>Xavier Lee.</b> Not to be forgotten, however, is redshirt sophomore <b>Wyatt Sexton,</b> who also has worked extremely hard this offseason and will be ready when needed.

Senior Chris Rix has one final opportunity to prove to Florida State fans and the country he's a complete quarterback.

Many believe Rix possesses the best raw talent of any quarterback in Seminole history, including Heisman Trophy winners Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke.

Of course, the oft-criticized Rix must prove himself on the field and make better decisions with the football under pressure.

FSU coach Bobby Bowden, for one, believes Rix will end his collegiate career with a bang.

"He has been up and down, I'll grant you. But I think each year he has gotten a little bit better," Bowden said recently.

"Last year, he was a redshirt junior and we won 10 ball games. What did Casey Weldon and Brad Johnson and them do when they were redshirt juniors? They won 10 ball games. I think Chris is right on schedule with the rest of them. Now he is fixing to go into his senior year, and I am hoping he can really put it together.

"I kind of think he will."

While Clemson's Charlie Whitehurst has drawn rave reviews and, by the chatter at the league's media day last week, is thought to be the Atlantic Coast Conference's top returning quarterback, Rix should not be forgotten.

The ACC's top three rated passers in 2003 - North Carolina State's Philip Rivers, Maryland's Scott McBrien and Virginia's Matt Schaub - are gone.

Additionally, Rix's 60 career touchdown pass total is the fourth-highest total in ACC history. As he does each year, Rix is in superb shape as the Seminoles wind down summer conditioning drills in preparation for the start of two-a-days.

While FSU fans are certainly excited abou the potential of incoming freshman quarterbacks Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee -- the pair has impressed new teammates with their maturity and physical skills - redshirt sophomore Wyatt Sexton also has been working extremely hard in preparation for the upcoming season.

He enters preseason practice second on the depth chart behind Rix. FSU ends its conditioning drills on Tuesday. Players will be given a quick reprieve before reporting a week from Sunday for the start of camp.

"It's been going very well," Sexton said of summer workouts.

"I've been working on my arm strength and watching film. I'm actually gonna start looking at Phillip Rivers and watching how he works the pocket so I can learn from him."

Sexton says he continues to learn about the intricacies of the collegiate passing game.

"It's a little different at the college level," Sexton said.

"You really gotta plant and then step up into the pocket with some force and that's something you gotta get used to. I'm still ironing that out."

Sexton also said he's recovered from a spring arm injury -- he initially hurt himself bowling -- and feels far more comfortable in the Seminoles' offense.

"My arm was probably about 65 percent during the spring because of my injury," Sexon said.

"So just working the plays and been able to see what it looks like really helped me a lot and I feel real confident going into the fall. I have a good feeling about what's going on with this offense

"They (coaches) said that we're going to try some new plays from some other teams, so I'm looking forward to looking at those and go over those in practice."

Brett Malone of TheTerritory contributed to this report.


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