"This week we will go just like we have been (going)," Bowden said following the Seminoles' 60-minute practice Saturday.. "It would be mighty hard to judge a quarterback, and unfair, playing in the weather like we played last week against a pretty good football team defensively."
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 in a hard and steady downpour. Senior quarterback Dave Ragone led the Cardinals to the stunning victory. His 1-yard touchdown pass to Damien Dorsey tied it at 20-20 for Louisville with 11:37 left.
Henry Miller ran 25 yards for the game-winning 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 on an errrant pass the Rix said slipped from his hand.
Bowden simply felt the difference between the Seminoles and Cardinals was the experience difference in each team's quarterback. The Seminoles, fourth nationally in scoring defense entering the game, had only 335 total yards. Rix, a sophomore, was 14-of-33 for 173 yards with an interception. Rix believes he will be a better quarterback because of the experience.
"A couple of times they had things covered well and I didn't want to force things in there and have the turnovers," Rix said. "So I tred to make something happen. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. Obviously, we started out slow but when we opened it up, I thought I played better. I am not concerned. I will learn from it. I'll take what they say as coaches.
"That's all that matters – what the coaches say."
FSU quarterbacks coach Daryl Dickey said it would have been unfair to replace Rix with backup Adrian McPherson due to the weather.
"That was a very, very tough situation," Dickey said. "That would not have been fair to anybody else to be inserted into that. The chances of success would have been very minimal. I think we made all the right decisions in staying with who we needed to stay with and gave us the best opportunity to win the game."
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. On Friday, Bowden said he had "not lost confidence in Chris and I have not lost patience with him." While teammates voiced their concern, they also reminded themselves that Rix is still young.
"We had that at points last year," senior offensive lineman Brett Williams said about quarterback concerns. "People were asking that. As an offensive line, we have to block whoever is back there. We are behind Rix, or A.D, or whoever they put back there. W just want to win games. That's all that matters to us. Whatever the coaches feel the best, we are with it. But I think Rix will step up."
Dickey said Rix and the Seminoles don't have time to hang their heads.
"(This) ain't no time to feel sorry yourself," Dickey said. "If you feel sorry for yourself too long, Clemson will get on their hind end too.. We have to move on. We have to find a way to get better and move on, eliminate mistakes and get better as a football team."
Added offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden:
"To reassess (the quarterback situation) now under those circumstances, I can't do that, " Bowden said. "I couldn't do that. They had a Heisman candidate who was 15 for 27 and he's a veteran senior playing in adverse conditions. We just didn't have that luxury. The question is would anybody else have done any better under those circumstances. Is it the best we can do? No, we can get better."
Bowden also was not concerned over players questioning Rix's decision-making in the pocket. Players held a team meeting prior to Saturday's practice in an effort to make sure everyone remained on the same page.
"There's frustration and you are looking for something," Bowden said. "It's obvious that he's still taking off at times too much and not going through his progressions. We have got to just continue to coach and get him better at that. I don't think it's a lack of trusting his protection, I think it was the weather. You have to think you are going to learn from that experience."
""We didn't execute as well as could have on both sides of the ball," Rx said. "We could have scored more and probably could have held them more. Now we have to have a great game against Clemson next week and we can be right back in it if we beat Miami in two weeks."