Up Close with Adrian

It's Adrian McPherson's turn to lead Florida State's offense. In this candid interview with the media Wednesday, McPherson talks about his opportunity, his relationship with Chris Rix, the chatter about him wanting to transfer and what he expects from the Demon Deacons. "They (coaches) told me that I am the guy. I think it helps me out a little bit because I don't have to look over my shoulder. But it's something I can't worry about. I just have to go out there and play," McPherson said.

Talk about the opportunity to start this weekend and trying to help Florida State back on the winning track.

"It's a great opportunity. It's the reason I came here, to get a chance to get on the field. Looking forward to getting out there. I have a lot of great players around me, so I am just going to try to get those guys the ball and just let them make plays."

It seems this change has raised a lot of controversy. Are you above that? Is the team going to stand together or will there still be issues you are going to have to deal with in terms of who gets to start at quarterback?

"I think it's something I have to look past. The coaches told me I am going Saturday, so it's something I have to prepare to do. I can't really focus on what everybody else is saying or what everybody else is thinking. My job right now is to try to come to Carolina (at Wake Forest) and try to get a win on Saturday."

Did you naturally ascend to become a leader when playing sports or was it something that didn't come naturally right away?

"I think it was something natural. Playing basketball helped me out a lot because I played point guard. It's definitely something you have to do on the court. You have to be a leader and know what everybody is supposed to be doing. So that helps me in football, playing quarterback, just trying to be a leader on the field."

Do you remember the last game you started and what's this like now as you prepare yourself to be a starter again?

"The last time I (started) was probably in December of 2000, a semifinal (playoff) game. It's nothing really different. Being a backup you have to prepare just like you are going to start because you never know what's going to happen. Just getting out there, the offense that we run is similar to the offense that I ran in high school (Bradenton Southeast), so, I mean, it's not really a big difference. I think the preparation as far as being a starter and being a backup is pretty much the same."

Have you noticed any difference emotionally. Does thing bring back memories?

"Most definitely, that's the reason I came here. Like I said, getting a chance to get on the field. I am definitely looking forward to it and I am definitely pretty excited about it. I think the difference between now and high school is now I have a lot more players around me to make me look good. In high school, maybe I had to make a perfect throw. Now, I can just throw the ball in an area and the guys will make plays for me."

Have the coaches talked to you about your playing time? Do you feel like you will have to watch over your shoulder if you have a bad series or two?

"I don't think so. They told me that I am the guy. They are going to take it as long as they have to with me. I think it helps me out a little bit because I don't have to look over my shoulder. But it's something I can't worry about. I just have to go out there and play. I think when you look over your shoulder that's when you tend to make mistakes. So, going into the game Saturday, I am just going to go out and play football."

What is your relationship with Chris? Is there any (friction) between you guys right now?

"No. We talk. I was in the same situation...you could get upset but it's a decision they've made. We still talk. I know it's pretty tough on him right now but it's just something that we have to try to get through."

It's no secret that a lot of your teammates wanted to see you get a chance for a long time. Has it been an awkward situation for you?

"Sometimes, because he (Rix) knew that sometimes. And it kind of brings animosity between the team and it's definitely something that we didn't need and we don't need. I think maybe it affected him a little bit because I can understand what he's going through. But, at the same time, it's something we have to get through and become closer as a ballclub."

Has been good that everyone has voiced their opinion? Can you turn that into positive energy?

"I think it was good in a way, but I think we maybe went about it in a wrong way, because of all the talk in the locker room and what go into the media. I don't think it should have went that far. But I think everybody should be able to voice their own opinion. It's okay but I think we went about it in the wrong way."

How close did you come to transferring, either to Louisville or anywhere else?

"I was never really ever thinking about it. A lot of people were trying to tell me what I should have done or what I need to do. When I was in high school, I didn't even start playing football until the 10th-grade. That was my first time getting on the field as a starter. When you come to college, people tend to gloat on what you did in high school and try to tell you what you need to do. So, I was never really looking at transferring. I just think it was people trying to tell me what I needed to do."

How did you manage to believe in yourself that you did indeed made the right decision to attend FSU?

"My parents. My parents helped me get through some tough times. Just told me that patience is the best virtue. I am going to be okay. Just wait my time. They mainly helped me get through it all. It was real rough on me at times, not playing since high school. My parents helped me get through it all."

There was speculation that you wanted to redshirt this year. That didn't work out. Was that one of those frustrating times?

"I would say so. Not really wanting to redshirt because I wanted to, but just try, I guess, to get a year's separation, learn a little more. When I found out I wasn't going to be able to follow through with the redshirt, right there I knew I had to buckle down and stay prepared and continue to work hard just in case anything happened."

Was that a turning point for you this year? Did things change with what your role was going to be?

"I don't think so. It was the same role as last year as far as being a backup. The same way I prepared last year was the same way I prepared this year. I don't think the role was any different."

What kind of a look will you bring to the quarterback position?

"I think with me going out there my job is to just be a leader on the field. I know my offensive line is going to do a great job of protecting me. I know my receivers are going to run great routes and make great plays. My job, like I said, is to be a leader on the field and get the open guy the ball. I think my thing is I can run, but running is not what I want to do. I just like to find the open receiver and run as few (times) as possible."

What have you seen from Wake Forest's defense?

"They are a great defense. They run to the ball hard. They run a lot of different schemes to try to confuse you. I think you have to be precise in what you are doing out there. You have to know what you are doing. I think they have a real good defense and I have to continue to study for the game Saturday."

Chris had some problems getting other players to accept his leadership for whatever reasons. What is it about you that makes it more likely they will accept you (as a leader)?

"I can't really say I do anything different. I just try to be a leader. Talk to a lot of the guys all the time. I am around a lot of the guys all the time. Little younger than a lot of guys but I think when I step on the field I can of take over in the huddle and take over on the field. I think by seeing that they will follow my lead."

How many guys approached you after learning you were the starter and had things to say to you?

"Pretty much the whole team. They just told me to get in there and just do what I've always been doing. The offensive line told me they are going to protect me. Just do my job. I told them as long as they protect me I will get the guys the ball and they will make the plays."

After the Clemson game, did you have any feelings that you would be the starter on this team this year?

"I thought so. When I went in the Clemson game, I didn't complete any passes but I thought I made some real good decisions and threw a couple balls away. The coaches thought I did a pretty good job also. I kind of knew sooner or later I would get a chance to get back in there and make the most of my time when I got in there. Things I learned from the Clemson game is to just stay calm, stay focused and be patient. That's what I did when I went out there Saturday."

You didn't have any communication from the press box those final two drives Saturday. Was the communication easy from the sideline to huddle?

"The communication from the sideline to me on the field is what we always do. I guess coach Bowden gets the plays from the press box, so he really didn't have any communication upstairs. The last couple of drives, we were going no-huddle, fastbreak type of football. That's what I like to do. That's what I did in high school and that's what I know. With all the players around me, I knew we could possibly make something happen if I just made some great decisions and that's what I was trying to do Saturday."

What in your opinion has gone wrong this season?

"I can't really say. I think maybe after the first loss we were maybe too focused on what everybody else was doing instead of taking your of yourself and what you were supposed to be doing. I think the second loss (Miami) was a hard-fought game and things happen. I think everything happens for a reason. Even though we are not contending for a national championship we are still fighting for an ACC title and the guys are up about that. We still have a couple more conference games and we are definitely trying to win the conference and get a BCS bid."

Do you think fans and the media possibly overrated the talent level simply because it was Florida State?

"I don't think so. I think we have a great team. I think we have the best offensive line in the country. I think we have great, great receivers. It's unfortunate we are 5-3 right now but it's something we have to go forward on and build on. That's what we are trying to do now."

Best-case scenario, would you like this to be like your Southeast days?

"Most definitely. In high school I had some great times and it's something I am definitely trying to do here. You get out what you put in, so that's why I am studying film real hard just trying to dissect their defense so when I go out there Saturday I know exactly what I am doing."

Do you still want to play basketball? And have you heard from Leonard Hamilton?

"Yes. He has called but I haven't talked to him because I've been pretty busy this week."

Have you had a chance to meet Charlie Ward at all? Are there some things that you see in him and were influenced by?

"When I was younger, I really never watched football. I never took football seriously until my sophomore year in high school because I always played basketball. That's what I always wanted to do. When I started to play I started to like it a lot more than I thought. When I got here I started to look at some of the things that he did and I do see some similarities. Just trying to build on that."

What got you hooked on football?

"I think just in high school I would say how many people came to the games. Basketball wasn't real big in Bradenton, so it wasn't a big turnout. But in football it was something that everybody looked forward to going and watching on Friday."

Did you struggle at all to find a passion to play it?

"Not at all. It was something that I thought looked fun but never really played. Once I got out there I started loving the game and it was definitely something I was trying to pursue at the next level."

Do you believe FSU has to reestablish its rule in the conference these last four games?

"I don't think so. I think we have a great ballclub and I think everybody in the ACC thinks we are pretty good. We've been unfortunate a couple of games. Maybe in a way we have something to prove. I think some of the guys think that and we are going to try to go out there and show that on Saturday."


Nole Digest Top Stories