The trio each made significant contributions in the Seminoles' 48-17 victory over Duke Saturday night at Doak Campbell Stadium, combining to throw for 404 yards. Each player also appears comfortable in their roles, especially McPherson, who only two weeks ago was determined to sit out the season.
Quarterbacks coach Daryl Dickey was pleased with the trio's effort, though he stressed strides must continue to be made as more difficult games approach beginning Thursday at Louisville.
"Just have to continue to grow. We can't relax a bit," Dickey said.
"We have to keep putting the pressure on ourselves every day on the practice field. They are making each other better with the competition and I tell them every day, they don't have time to relax. We have to keep the pressure on because the best is yet to come, I think. We're a long ways away from getting there but we will get there."
For the first time since 1999, the Seminoles played three quarterbacks in one game The trio each took snaps in the first half, when FSU unvieled its "Kentucky Derby" offense for the first time since that 1999 season. The scheme features the second-team offense for one play to start a series.
Both McPherson and Walker rotated series in the first half behind Rix, who enjoyed his finest performance of the season. Rix, who played into the Seminoles' opening series of the second half, completed 16 of 22 passes for 244 yards and two scores before giving way to McPherson.
McPherson, who just two weeks ago appeared headed to a medical hardship, was nine of 15 for 125 yards and two scores. Walker, who made his first collegiate appearance against at Maryland last week, was four-of-seven for 35 yards.
"It wasn't the best opponent, not to take anything away from Duke," Dickey said. "But it was an opportunity for us to learn, to grow, to get experience and get reps. And that was good. I think they all took big steps today. It was a big step for everybody today."
The trio combined to throw to 10 different receivers for 404 yards and four touchdowns. The Seminoles led 45-3 at one point in the fourth quarter after the game was tied at 3-3 early in the second quarter. The Blue Devils, who have improved dramatically under coordinator Ted Roof, were determined to stop the run, which they did – FSU had 113 rushing yards on 32 attempts.
However, that approach enabled the Seminoles' passing game, and the quarterbacks, to turn in a number of big plays.
"Did some good things. All three guys did some really good things," Dickey said.
" I was glad to get them in there and get them some reps. They had a commitment to stop the run and force us to execute the passing game and we were able to do that for the most part. We still have a long ways to go. There were some things that we weren't very happy with and we discuss those every time a guy a comes off the field, we have a conversation going and we get what we can corrected and hopefully it won't happen again. There were things that could have been better but there were some things tonight that were awful good."
Dickey also said McPherson carried a solid week of practice, not to mention a better mental approach, into the game. During the week, offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden stressed his backup quarterbacks – namely McPherson – were gaining ground on Rix.
"Adrian had by far his best week of practice and I think he put all the mental things behind him and got himself ready to play," Dickey said. "Went out and had fun on the practice field agian and went out and had fun in the ballgame and prepared himself to do that, so that was good."
And playing all three can be good, too, Dickey said.
"We spend so much time together," Dickey said. "They should pull for each other. Pull for our team, because that's the important thing, the team being successful. They like to compete. They go out and compete against each other but also enjoy it and have a good time out there on the practice field. It's healthy right now.
"I don't think one is significantly ahead of the other as far as mentally at this point and time. I really don't. I think they all handled it well, sure enough."