Sexton To Start

For at least their next two games, Florida State will have a new face under center Head coach Bobby Bowden announced Monday morning that redshirt sophomore Wyatt Sexton would start in place of fifth-year senior Chris Rix this Saturday against North Carolina and Oct. 9 at Syracuse as Rix recovers from a severe right ankle sprain.

The decision was an easy one – head trainer Randy Oravetz recommended that Rix be deactivated for two games in his weekly injury report.

"We had our staff meeting this morning Randy read our injury report and said that (Rix) had a high sprained ankle that had swollen up pretty big," Bowden said.

Sexton, who threw for 162 yards in FSU's 41-22 win over Clemson, will have a favorable two-game stretch in which to audition further. Surrendering over 459 yards of total offense per game, the UNC defense ranks 106th out of 117 Division-I teams. The Orange have been outscored 82-10 in losses at Purdue and Virginia.

Bowden estimated Rix's return for the week leading up to a pivotal conference game Oct. 16 against Virginia, but indicated the situation could easily change given the uncertain nature of high ankle sprains.

"He is looking at probably at least two weeks," Bowden said. "But does that mean he will be able to start practicing in two weeks or that he may be ready in two weeks?"

The injury will force true freshman Drew Weatherford into the backup quarterback role. Weatherford, a Land O' Lakes native that was invited to Nike's exclusive Elite 11 quarterback camp his senior year, received the nod over Xavier Lee because he has more experience playing under center. Lee, from Daytona Seabreeze, operated a shotgun passing attack in high school.

In Sexton, the Seminoles have a distinctly different persona leading them, contrasting the up-tempo and fiery Rix.

"He's the kind of guy who is very laid-back, calm," tackle and offensive captain Ray Willis said. "Nothing really seems to affect him. Still, you can really tell he loves the game."

Free safety Pat Wakins, who has competed on the gridiron with Sexton as a teammate and an opponent, also attests to his unflappable nature. Sexton's Leon High team wages annual high school battles with Watkins' Lincoln High squad for area bragging rights.

"He went into that game (Saturday) calm and cool, and just got better and better," Watkins said. "In practice, we go after him to see what kind of decisions he'll make. But nothing really seems to bother him. He's pretty mellow."

A strong two weeks from Sexton could possibly give Sexton a chance to assume the full-time job. Rix, who had never missed more than a few plays due to injury until last Saturday, has struggled with poor throws, missed reads and turnovers this season.

Would a mistake-free pair of games from Sexton signal the end of the Rix era at FSU?

"That's a good question," Bowden said. "But's not one we're going to worry about right now."

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