Wednesday's Premium Notebook

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden ended over a week of speculation Wednesday morning by officially naming Drew Weatherford the starting quarterback for the Seminoles' season opener Monday against Miami.

It became evident that Weatherford owned the upper hand in the competition for the position after throwing for over 400 yards in an Aug. 22 scrimmage while competitor Xavier Lee was forced to sit with a sore elbow.

Bowden stressed the decision is not a permanent one.

"They will continue this competition," Bowden told reporters in the ACC Coaches' teleconference. "This is not a season-ending (move). I presented this to (Weatherford and Lee) like baseball pitchers – we can't go out there with just a starter; we need a finisher. Right now one is our starter and one is our finisher."

"The approach I want Lee to take is, ‘he didn't beat me out, he's just ahead of me right now.'"

Lee's sore elbow – sustained on a pump fake – has since healed. The Daytona Beach native received some snaps with the first team on Tuesday, though Weatherford was the recipient of the majority the reps with the first team.

Quarterbacks coach Daryl Dickey informed Weatherford of the decision in a position meeting before the news was announced to the team.

"It's nice to get it out of the way not only for me but for the rest of the team," Weatherford said. "I'm glad it won't be talked out anymore. We know who the guys is going to be and I think that's good for the team."

At one point last season, Weatherford was FSU's No. 2 quarterback after Chris Rix sustained an ankle injury. The Land O' Lakes native played one snap in relief of Wyatt Sexton against North Carolina, rolling his ankle on a bootleg run. The NCAA granted Weatherford a medical hardship, allowing a redshirt that was Bowden's original plan.

Lee did not play during his first season at FSU.

"I'm not too surprised. I expected it," Lee said. "In a way it's frustrating but I can't control it."

"We were positive that we were going to keep them dead even to start out with," Bowden said. "We wanted to give them equal reps along the way and we did. You have to remember that Lee missed about six practices when he couldn't throw the ball and that really hurt him. However, it looked from about the third scrimmage on that Drew would be the guy you would start."

Moving the Game

After just two seasons at its current season-opening spot, the FSU-Miami rivalry could get kicked back to its traditional mid-season spot next fall for a variety of reasons. This season's game could be the only 'Noles-‘Canes tilt to bring ABC's Labor Day night designs into reality since the 2004 edition was postponed to a Friday night start due to Hurricane Frances.

Administrators at both schools want the date reevaluated now that FSU and UM meetings carry conference implications. ABC loses rights to its Monday night slot – otherwise used for NFL games – in the fall.

Player reactions around the FSU camp are mixed.

"I think we should have a cupcake first game," guard Matt Meinrod said. "Most teams start out with a lower ranked team to get all the kinks out before they hit the meat of their schedule. There are too many things that happen in the first game that would prevent a true winner from being determined."

Weatherford disagrees.

"I think it's a great thing for college football and it's a great thing for both schools," he said. Getting ready for Miami will help us prepare for everybody. We work that much harder and we're that much more focused because we know we are going play a powerhouse for the first game of the season. I hope they keep it this way forever.

Brotherly Love

There's a good chance when reserve C Dumaka Atkins glances in the direction of Miami's players, he will catch a pair of familiar eyes. They'll belong to his older brother, Baraka, a starting defensive tackle for the Hurricanes.

But family ties won't have any affect on Dumaka's competitive spirit.

"Florida State is my team so I got to go for mine first," Dumaka Atkins said. "My brother, I wish him the best of luck in anything he does."

The two have never played against each other in any sport, at any level. In fact, for a long time they shared the same bedroom.

"We've always been together," Dumaka said.

What affect will watching the two siblings compete have on his parents? Dumaka knows who they will cheer for.

"Dumaka Atkins and Baraka Atkins," he said.


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