Passionate Plea

While Louisville salvaged a season on the brink with one of their biggest wins in school history, FSU was left searching for answers Friday. It appears quarterback Chris Rix's decisions to run with the football remain a concern with teammates. "He needs to sit in the pocket and wait for the plays to develop a little bit more. It's like we are running quarterback draws everytime he's back there," center Antoine Mirambeau said Friday.

While Louisville salvaged a season on the brink with one of its biggest wins in school history, the stunned Florida State Seminoles were left grasping for answers Friday.

And quarterback appears to remain a concern.

FSU (4-1) lost to an unranked team for the second time in two seasons when the Seminoles fell 26-20 in overtime at Louisville Thursday night. The Seminoles were the highest-ranked team to play in the 4-year-old Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

In a hard and steady downpour, Henry Miller ran 25 yards for a touchdown on the second play of overtime following Anthony Floyd's interception. Floyd picked FSU quarterback Chris Rix near the goal line on the Seminoles' first play.

The Seminoles, fourth nationally in scoring defense entering the game, had only 335 total yards. Rix was 14-of-33 for 173 yards with an interception.

While Rix looked superb at times -- the Seminoles led 20-13 after Rix, going 5-for-5, found Talman Gardner on a 21-yard TD pass in the final minute of the third quarter - he also continued to struggle with his decision-making in the pocket, namely running with the football.

"I just think he needs to utilize (teammates) better than he does," center Antoine Mirambeau said Friday afternoon.

"I don't think he's sitting in the pocket. ... he needs to sit in the pocket and wait for the plays to develop a little bit more. I see, as an offensive lineman, times where some of the guys will be open out there and he's just takes three steps and tucks the ball and runs. It's like we are running quarterback draws everytime he's back there. That kind of irritates us as offensive linemen, knowing we are doing are job but what's going on? Are the receivers not getting open? We don't know what's going on out there. I just think he should let the play develop a little bit more. Sit back in the pocket a little bit longer."

The Cardinals spilled onto the field after finishing one of the biggest wins in school history. Most of the rain-soaked crowd of 38,109 followed them and carried off the goal posts behind each end zone. The passionate Mirambeau, who measured his words carefully, credited Louisville for the victory. However, he says the Seminoles need to perform better, including Rix.

"The quarterback is the leader of the team," Mirambeau said. "He's supposed to come out there and take control. I personally think he still needs a lot of work. I thought last year he learned to utilize his offensive line, his pass protection, wait for the play to develop. If you are going to get sacked, get sacked in the pocket. Let us take the blame for it. Don't go outside the pocket. If you go outside the pocket it makes us seem we look bad out there, not giving him enough time. He's still young. He's only a sophomore. Blame it on that. Maybe he's still inexperienced."

Mirambeau also was quick to add there's no denying Rix's athletic ability.

"He can run the ball. They are going to expect him to run the ball because they know his ability to run the ball," Mirambeau said. "I don't what to say. I guess it's something he's going to have to deal with his coaches. Adjustments. They are going to have to make some adjustments, put more pressure on him to kind of sit back there and let play develops. I really don't know what's going on."

Dave Ragone's 1-yard touchdown pass to Damien Dorsey tied it at 20-20 for Louisville with 11:37 left. Neither team threatened to score again in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals won the coin toss, but chose to play defense first in overtime. Rix's pass, intended for Talman Gardner, fluttered and was off the mark, slipping from his hand as he threw it.

One play later, the Cards secured their biggest win in school history. And left the Seminoles picking up the pieces.

"I thought we were making some serious progress after the Duke game," Mirambeau said. "We passed for a lot of yards. The receivers and quarterback combination was looking good. I thought we were going to open both the running and passing games, but I don't know if it was the weather, or we didn't have that chemistry going. There's a lot of work to be done. We had that practice where it was raining, so we felt like we were prepared for the game.

"I don't know. ... I don't want to talk about it anymore. We have a lot to work to do."

Nole Digest Top Stories