Q & A with Drew Weatherford

Florida State quarterback Drew Weatherford spoke with the media Tuesday afternoon. The following is a transcript of the conversation.

Q: How have Sunday mornings been for you lately with you getting beat up so much in games?

A: "The hits add up a little bit as the season goes on. I kind of messed up my (left) shoulder a little bit against N.C. State and I kind of did the same thing against Florida. I don't know, I am used to it ? it doesn't really bother me that much."

Q: What did you do to the shoulder?

A: "I sprained my AC-joint."

Q: Is it okay?

A: "Yeah, it's fortunate that it's my left shoulder. I am just going to have to wear a pad all week and in the game."

Q: How did it happen against Florida?

A: "It was actually at the end of the first half. I just got tackled and my shoulder got drilled into the ground."

Q: Given the way the Gators were teeing off on you, how tough was it to last all four quarters?

A: "I don't know. In high school I played both ways and I am no more sore in college football than I was waking up on Saturday after a Friday night game."

Q: Against Florida, was that the most you have been hit in a game all year?

A: "Yeah, it was probably was."

Q: Are you really having significantly less time to get back there and throw the ball than you were eight or so weeks ago?

A: "I feel like there is a significant difference just due to injury and people not having that much experience out there. As an offensive line, you are a unit and you kind of feed off each other and you get to know people's strengths and weaknesses. When you have new people coming in every week and playing, it's really hard to play together. Four guys can be doing their job and one guy thinks this guy is going to do that and he doesn't, than that just completely ruins the protection."

Q: What can the coaches do to get you more time? Are they going to get you to roll out more?

A: "Just some quick passing game. Our passing game has been so vertical all year long and we don't have much of an intermediate passing game. It's either a screen here or 10 or 15 yards down the field. We've just got to take five, six yards at a time?throw little speed outs and stop routes and things like that and slowly move down the field."

Q: Isn't that what you did at the beginning of the season?

A: "Well, we spread it out when we did that. But when we go into our base packages, most of our throwing is pretty much down the field. When we do spread it out, a lot of it is a quick game and that's the kind of stuff that I am talking about. We are just going to have to incorporate that into other packages that we have."

Q: How much of that is it critical to have some rhythm and timing?

A: "I don't know. I feel like myself and the receivers have great timing. As an offense, I feel like we will run the ball and the hole will be there and it will just close too quick or he'll see it at the last moment and just little things here and there that are really hindering us from being explosive like we were at the beginning of the season."

Q: It seems like you all got away from spreading it out when teams started to drop so many players into coverage. Is that how it has been?

A: "I feel like N.C. State did a really good job against when we spread it out when we went four-wide and that kind of scared us away from it. It seemed like they were all over everything that we were doing. A lot of that was because they were playing man-to-man and just giving us havoc. When teams play man-to-man, it takes a little longer to throw the ball and that's what we are struggling with."

Q: In the fourth quarter against Florida, it seemed like you got more time when you spread it out. Did you see a big difference?

A: "The routes were a lot shorter. I was getting the ball out and getting hit after I would throw but that's going to happen."

Q: So, you are saying that you could do more of that to get extra time this weekend?

A: "Right. We could use something like that but we don't even have to spread it out. We could be in a base formation and just shorter stuff. We'll take our shorts down the field, of course, but there's a lot things like rolling out (that we can do).

Q: Are you comfortable throwing on the run?

A: "I love throwing on the run. We actually had a couple of plays in that game that we were hoping to run but when you get in the heat of the game in situations and things like that it never came up."

Q: Throwing on the run is not a good idea against teams that drop so many players though, right?

A: "Typically when you do roll out, you can't throw back across your body, which I have done this year and thrown an interception. That's the cardinal rule of the quarterback ? you can't be rolling out one way and throw the other way. Typically, it's all out in front of you and you can run short stuff when you roll out. You can run a five-yard hitch and get me out of the pocket and throw it and we have done that several times. There's things that we can do to get it done."

Q: This team kind of has one last shot to put a positive note on this season with the ACC Championship game Saturday. Can you just talk about that a little bit?

A: "Everything is at stake. It's a chance for us to salvage our season and end on a good note. If we win, it would be a huge win for us. Not only for the bowl game but for the beginning of next season and it's really important that we go out and play well. Hopefully that will be good enough to win."

Q: How have you guys insulated yourselves from the negative energy that is surrounding the program right now? Are you able to block it out?

A: "Personally, I am but the media is so huge. It's on the internet, it's on TV, it's on radio and it's really hard for people to not hear it. It's on campus in the school newspaper and it's kind of hard to completely block yourself out from it but we are a team and I believe we will stick together. When we do come out on the practice field and bleed and sweat together, we realize how important we are to each other and we realize that the media won't affect that."

Q: As players, do you guys feel any pressure to perform so that fans will stop ragging on your coach?

A: "Yeah. We are the ones playing the game and it is unfortunate that he kind of has to take all that heat but it kind of comes with the territory just like being a quarterback. But we are the guys not getting it done. They are the ones calling the plays and it worked at the beginning of the season, we just aren't getting it done late in the season."

Q: Have you gotten any words of encouragement from outside of the program?

A: "Nobody comes up to me and says anything negative?to my face at least, maybe after I walk by. There is still people that are optimistic and there are a lot of loyal fans here at Florida State ? there really are. Those will be the people in Jacksonville cheering us on. It's not all negative and people are optimistic and feel that we have a bright future."

Q: This team could become the first Florida State squad to lose four games in a row. Do you think that guys think about that?

A: "I am sure that's in the back of some people's minds. Hopefully that's really not what it's all about for them. Hopefully they just want to play because they are competitors. I feel like most of the guys on the team?they don't care about the records or whether they are good or bad; they just want to go out and play hard and win and play for each other.

Q: What is your morale like after the losses? Being the quarterback, you are the guy that gets lots of the blame.

A: "I still love it. Even in the bad times I still love being out there and playing and competing. That's the thing I love about it the most; I don't necessarily love the fame of it or anything like that as much as do just getting out there and playing."

Q: What's been more difficult for you; the physical or mental aspect of all this?

A: The mental by far. I knew coming into the season it was going to be a mental thing. Being at the end the season that stills speaks true. It's a very mental game and it's a long season. It just takes a lot more mental strength to get through games and seasons than it did in high school."


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