Q & A with QB Drew Weatherford

Florida State quarterback Drew Weatherford met with the media Tuesday afternoon to discuss his lackluster performance against Clemson, the injury situation and the morale of the team. The flowing is a transcript of that conversation.

Q: How's the knee doing? Has the rest soothed it a little bit?

A: "Yeah, it was real sore right when I got off the bus on the ride to the airport after Clemson and I was limping pretty bad. But the last couple of days it has really gotten better."

Q: How is the left hand doing that has been bothering you?

A: "It's fine. I got it drained last week, which helped it out a lot and I actually didn't get hit on it (against Clemson). The swelling has really gone down. It's still a little bruised and sore but it's nothing too serious."

Q: Has wearing the glove on that hand affected you at all?

A: "I don't think about it. Once the ball is snapped I don't think about having the glove on. I don't think it's affecting me."

Q: It really seems that teams are learning how to stop your passing game. Can you talk about that a little bit?

A: "They are just doing a really good job of (being) able to rush three and four guys and drop guys into all different kind of zones. We really don't have any clear throwing lanes and their defensive ends and defensive tackles are aware of our screens and things like that. If they see any indication that we are going to run it?they'll have at least one or two guys not rush very hard looking for it. It's really hard to execute."

Q: You've mentioned that the square-ins are becoming more difficult now too?

A: "Yeah, definitely. They are dropping people into our square-in lanes. (It's) just all sorts of different things. They are showing us different looks at times. They show us that three safety look. At times they'll play real soft and at times their corners will play hard. There's really just not a lot of room to throw. There would be if we could sit in there and pick it apart and dissect it but we don't really have the time to go through all the reads. There's things open, it's just tough to get through everything."

Q: It seemed like after the series where (Lorenzo) Booker was doubled covered on a screen and then he dropped a screen, the offense just shut down from that point. Can you talk about that?

A: "We stopped moving the ball and I didn't play very well. After I threw that first pick I think our whole offense just kind of?I don't know?stopped playing. We kind of lost confidence."

Q: Daryl Dickey has said that one of the things you need to work on is to stop hurrying and rushing when you don't necessarily have to. Is that something that you see as an area you need to get better at too?

A: "Yeah, that's something that I am still trying to figure out. I really didn't have a problem with it early in the season ? they were giving me a lot of time. It's not necessarily that I am getting sacked a lot (now) but it's that I am getting hit a lot. I am making a play-fake and looking at my first receiver and throwing the ball as I am getting hit and I never really get in the flow of things and find out how much time I am going to have."

Q: On the interceptions, would you say that you rushed when you may have not needed to?

A: "The first one especially. They gave me a good pocket - I was able to step up and throw the ball. I guess it's just really the case of me not being in the rhythm of the game and not having the chance to kind of sit in the pocket the whole game and feel the defense out. I kind of rushed it. That was like one of my first reads and I just threw it just trying to get the ball out of my hands and trying to make something happen."

Q: After watching the game film, do you maybe see things that were open now?

A: "Not really. There were things open in the first half especially but when things were open I was getting hit. Those corner routes were open all day but we just didn't have time to run 15-yard routes. Willie (Reid) should have had four catches in the first quarter. I just had to throw it way before he was coming out of his break because there was someone coming free. There was stuff open on the edges; nothing was open over the middle. Because we had been throwing so much stuff over the middle and they take it away."

Q: What is the overall mood of the team now?

A: "Everybody is pretty upset. Everyone is really happy that we've got a bye. We need it. We are real beat up both mentally and physically. Emotionally, I think we are all real drained right now. We are going to be excited to play Florida. It will really be an emotional game and having this break will really help out a lot."

Q: When you go to class, do you get the feeling that everyone is kind of down right now?

A: "I don't really know. I try to block it out. It kind of motivates me and I am sure the rest of the guys, to do something about it. I am very aware of how upset people are and things like that. When we do lose and don't play, I try to use that as a positive motivating factor to work hard and be ready for Florida. If we beat Florida, everybody will be thrilled."

Q: Do people come up to you and say anything about the losses?

A: "No they don't."

Q: How are you aware that they are all down than?

A: "You can just tell the difference on campus when we win and when we lose. It's just a different feel. People will come up to me after we win and are like, 'Good game!' and this and that but then when we lose, everybody knows that I don't feel like talking about it."

Q: Lorenzo Booker said he was more concerned about the young guys than the older guys after losses like that. Is it something that concerns you as well, being one of those young guys?

A: "I would be if we didn't have older guys that had been through it and are good leaders. They have been through a lot of things since they have been here and the situation, sadly enough, is nothing new to them."

Q: Coach (Bobby) Bowden said the other day your freshman mistakes are things that he would have anticipated earlier in the season. What do you think it is at this point? Is it just the defensive schemes?

A: "I guess so, that must be what it is. I feel like I have learned so much from game to game yet I still continue to make mistakes. I don't know really what to attribute that to. I take part of the blame for making the decisions but it just doesn't seem like there is anything open out on the field. Without having a lot of time, it's just really hard to execute."

Q: Is there the sentiment among you freshmen that you maybe have already exceeded expectations this year?

A: "I don't think there is a sense of that at all. We had a lot of confidence on this team and we thought we were going to great things, especially after the first few games and of course beating Miami. We - like everyone else in this town - went from having very little expectations to expecting us to win the national championship. We believed that we could do it and it just didn't work out."

Q: You have kind of been to the top of the college football world and now it seems, near the bottom. Do you kind of feel like you have a lot on your shoulders?

A: "I don't know. It will help me a lot down the road going through all these different situations like beating Miami and Boston College and then losing to NC State at home and going to Clemson and getting your butt kicked. It really teaches you a lot and lets you know that no matter how good things are at one point, you lose the next ballgame and things could spiral."

Q: Can you give any perspective on how in college football you can be the hero one day and the goat the next?

A: "I was aware of that. Being a fan (and) watching TV at home and watching Florida State?(Chris) Weinke is a god and then he throws six picks and everyone wants to kill him. That's just kind of how it is and I expected it. I really don't let it affect me too much."

Q: How much do all of these injuries affect the mental state of the team?

A: "Of course it does in a negative way. It's really tough when you lose leaders like (Matt) Meinrod ? that was a big blow to our team. Especially when you are losing and you are getting hurt, it just seems like it's going bad and you can't seem to buy a break. When you are winning and people are getting hurt, it's really not as big of a deal as when you are losing. I feel like it really hurts the team morale and makes it feel like nothing will go right for you guys."

Q: How tough has it been not having Leon Washington in the last two games?

A: "It's kind of like losing Meinrod. The same kind of deal. He is a great leader on our team. (He's) not very vocal but just having him there is very comforting and it's nice having Lorenzo and Leon being able to go back and forth. Antone (Smith) is very, very talented but he ? like I am ? we are all very young and inexperienced. Just losing a veteran like that it really hurts."

Q: Can you talk about the loss of Cory Niblock for the remaining three ballgames?

A: "He's just one of our best linemen. He's not necessarily a guy that speaks up to me; he just gets the job done. He's done a really good job all season and without Meinrod in the lineup, he's probably the next most talented guy that we have. Just to lose that really hurts. But we are Florida State and even though we've lost a lot of guys, there's still guys that can step up."

Q: Do you feel like it's just this team's luck to lose a guy like that on the very last play of a blowout?

A: "I wouldn't have said that early in the season but at this point, yeah. It seems like it's about right."

Q: Have you ever been a part of team with so many injured starters?

A: "This is the most injuries that I have ever been a part of especially to starters on a team and people that really contribute. A lot of people are out. It's unbelievable. It really gives the young guys the opportunity to step up and do something, which will help us out in the future. When bad situations come around, there's always a lot of good things that can come out of it if you allow it."

Q: There are a lot of similarities of this year and last in that the season took a turn for the worse after you guys were rolling along. You didn't play, but how different is it this year?

A: "I know there's probably finger pointing going on in the media and I don't even know what's going on with that whole situation, but within the team there really isn't. I couldn't say that last year about this team at all. Just guys like Leon and Lorenzo, they are just so positive about everything. They have all the right in the world to be negative. They haven't gotten as many touches as they probably deserve this year and they still show up to practice everyday with a positive attitude ? not blaming anything on me or anyone else, just ready to get back out to work and get better."


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