No Quarterback Controversy

Florida State's decision not to request a medical hardship for backup quarterback Adrian McPherson is already paying dividends. McPherson's progress in practice this week suggests he has closed the gap on starter Chris Rix. Even so, FSU coach Bobby Bowden said Wednesday Rix remains the Seminoles' starter and he has not been disappointed in his quarterback's play. "You still have to remember he's only a sophomore. He's learning every game," Bowden said.

Florida State's decision not to request a medical hardship for backup quarterback Adrian McPherson is already paying dividends. McPherson's progress in practice this week suggests he has closed the gap on starter Chris Rix.

Even so, FSU coach Bobby Bowden said Wednesday Rix remains the Seminoles' starter and he has not been disappointed in his quarterback's play. Fifth-ranked FSU (3-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) is at home Saturday against Duke (1-2, 0-0 ACC).

"I will tell you this. Ol' McPherson did have a good day the other day (Tuesday)," Bowden said. "It looked like what we thought we saw in high school. He really had a good day. I think his mind is settled for the first time in three or four weeks. It's still Chris No.1. I can't put degrees on how far they are (apart)."

Following Tuesday's practice, FSU offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden cited his displeasure in the Seminoles' passing game and said McPherson and No. 3 quarterback Fabian Walker were "just a hair" behind Rix. Walker made his collegiate debut in last Saturday's game at Maryland in the fourth quarter.

Jeff Bowden blamed frustration for his comments, though he also admitted he would like to see how the quarterback race would pan out on a level playing surface.

"I do want to see the other guys in there," Bowden said. "Given the same kind of game experience, what kind of battle would you have? You don't know. We will find out. It's also accurate that Chris is still the clear No. 1 guy. I am not unhappy. I am probably just overeager for improvement instead of being patient with gradual improvement."

Bobby Bowden said he has been pleased with Rix's progress. However, FSU's passing game is ranked 62nd in the country with 211 yards per game. The Seminoles average nearly 480 yards of offense, including 268.3 on the ground. It is the first time since 1985 that FSU averages more yards rushing than passing.

Rix, only three games into his sophomore season, is already eighth among ACC sophomore passing yardage leaders with 3,288 yards in 14 career games.

"I am not disappointed," Bowden said. "The coach who is coaching him, or the offensive coaches, they want perfection. And when they don't get perfection, they are down. I look at the overall thing. I am very pleased with it. I wouldn't be pleased if he doesn't correct his mistakes. I would not be pleased. You still have to remember he's only a sophomore. He's learning every game."

The good-natured Bowden even acted surprised when informed of his son's comments concerning FSU's quarterback situation.

"It's according to which son said that. Which son made that brilliant statement?" Bowden said and laughed.

INJURIES: Injured players who will be held out of the Duke game include middle linebacker Jerel Hudson (ankle), reserve linebacker Marcello Church (fractured left hand), rover Claudius Osei, reserve defensive end Eric Moore (quadricep contusion) and fullback B.J. Dean (knee).


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