"Experience is not going to really play a big role in me getting out there and playing," Walker said following Wednesday's first of two practices. "You are right. I haven't been in a big game or been early on in a game, but I am not going to feel any different. No kind of presure whatsoever. I am out there to get the ball in the hands of the playmakers surrounding me. That's what I am going to do."
Walker, of course, was thrust into the starting quarterback role at Florida State Tuesday, when it was announced that Chris Rix had been ruled ineligible for the bowl game for not taking a final exam. Walker entered the season as the team's No. 3 quarterback behind Rix and Adrian McPherson, who was dismissed from the team last month following his arrest.
Walker, meanwhile, has spent most of the season biding his time. He appeared in three games, completing five of eight passes for 74 yards. Walker also was plagued by a soreness (torn labrum) in his throwing shoulder but says he's fully recovered. There were many times this season when Walker figured he had been lost in the quarterback mix at FSU.
"Man, in my situation you have to be very patient. It's tough. Very tough," Walker said. "I was thankful I was able to make it through it. It was really hard for me early on during the season, just sitting and watching the other two guys get out there playing and knowing I was capable of playing. I didn't gripe about it. I didn't complain. Nothing. I just kept working hard, just trying to get my shoulder healthy and hoping things would work out for. And they did."
FSU coach Bobby Bowden said Walker "looked okay" during Wednesday's practice.
Bowden is also hopeful the Seminoles can continue the wide-open approach the ‘Noles employed in their season-ending victory over Florida. "We will try to do whatever we think it takes to move it," Bowden said.
"A lot of it is determined by how they (Bulldogs) want to play. If they want to bring everybody there and try to stop the run. ... if they are you simply have to throw the ball. He (Walker) is a quarterback who was very successful in high school, a quarterback who had a very good spring for us a couple years ago, a quarterback that is still working off some of the rust that he has gained the last couple of years by not playing."
After sitting behind Rix and McPherson most of the season, Walker knew his opportunity to step on the field increased following McPherson's dismissal last month. Then, without warning, Rix was ruled ineligible for the bowl and Walker finds himself behind center against an opponent he nearly selected over the Seminoles when coming out of junior college.
"No doubt, when that went down with A.D., I started realizing maybe a chance. ... before I was two snaps or injuries away from getting in, then it was just one injury away," Walker said.
"Things worked out for me. I hate what happened but it worked out for me. I am just really looking forward to going out there and playing. It's a dream come true to get a chance to even play in the game. Most importantly, I am getting a chance to play against Georgia – a team I really considered going to. It's all just falling in place kind of strange, but I am really excited about it."
Senior receiver Talman Gardner believes Walker is capable of making the most of his chance.
"He's doing okay, just a little rust – he's got to get into the rhythm with everything," Gardner said.
"He's the starting quarterback now. It's coming a little faster and he's picking up new material for the game. Overall, he's doing good. Fabian is a good quarterback – everyone knows that. Going into the Georgia game, we are looking at throwing the ball. That's Florida State. We are not going to change our game plan because the quarterback we have can do the job. I think he has a stronger arm than all of them (Rix and McPherson). He's doing good. I don't think he gets too rattled – he seems to be handling it well."