"All I ever really wanted was a chance to get out on the field," Walker said. "It was very frustrating being behind two quarterbacks – all of us the same classification . It seemed like I never would get a chance to play here at Florida State. So, in the back of my mind I really thought about moving on and trying to go somewhere else."
With a solid performance in tonight's Sugar Bowl against childhood favorite Georgia (12-1), Walker should position himself to compete with Chris Rix for the starter's role in spring drills. Rix is expected to return to school after serving a one-game suspension for failing to take two final exams.
Walker and the Seminoles will surely face a stern test in the third-ranked Bulldogs (12-1), who led the SEC in scoring defense (15.3) and finished fourth in total defense (306.7). Georgia has all-star performers in defensive end David Pollack, named the SEC Player of the Year, and linebackers Boss Bailey and Tony Gilbert.
A spot that could prove vulnerable is Georgia's secondary, which returned just one starter – junior cornerback Bruce Thornton -- from last season. The unit ranked seventh in the SEC in pass defense (192.8 yards per game), surrendering 12 touchdown passes with 14 interceptions.
The Bulldogs say they are extremely concerned about the Seminoles' offense despite question marks at quarterback. Walker, from Americus, Ga., is making his first career start after entering the season third-string behind Rix and the dismissed Adrian McPherson. Receiver Anquan Boldin has shared snaps with Walker during practice.
"We feel like Florida State will do what Florida State does," Georgia defensive coordinator Bryan VanGorder said.
"They will do what they've done all year. I don't think you will see much change at all. We think their quarterback (Walker) is a good athlete. Obviously, we have very little film on him. We don't know the mentality of Fabian or his patience level. We'll have to feel things out in the game and see how it develops. He seems like a calm and poised quarterback."
Pollack says the Bulldogs can't afford to take Walker lightly simply because of the talent that surrounds him.
"I didn't know anything about him (from high school)," Pollack said. "I know he's talented because he's at Florida State. They're three or four deep at every position. He's worked in their system in practice all year long. He's played some snaps. He throws it well, from what I've seen."
FSU offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden also is curious to see how Walker reacts under game pressure. Walker, who also has been slowed by shoulder pain this season but says his throwing arm is fine, has attempted just eight career passes.
"To say the word fear, I'd have to say is the wrong word," Bowden said. "Curiosity, maybe, but he's always seemed to be a poised kid. The big adjustment for him will be the speed. I think he's ready and mentally he's on top of his assignments but to just plug a guy in and think you'll get the same performance isn't going to happen."
Walker expects the Bulldogs to blitz more than usual, though VanGorder says, "We go into every game with a large arsenal and how we'll attack an offense. Our base philosophy in what we do and what has been successful for us, won't change. At this point in time, we're not going to make any drastic changes."
Of course, the biggest change for the Seminoles is Walker, who is finally getting his chance as FSU's starter at quarterback.
"We have certain things that will help me out a lot," Walker said. "Hopefully, I 'll be ready to pick up the blitz. There's a lot to think about being a quarterback. You got to be able to think about what everybody is doing, got to know what everyone's assignments are. That's the one thing I've been focusing on.
"Their defense is very sound, probably the best I've seen. They get off the ball very well and I know they are going to bring a lot of pressure. It looks like all their defensive linemen could play in the NFL. But I have been preparing myself for this (start). I am really looking forward to going out there and finally getting a chance to play."
FSU coach Bobby Bowden doesn't expect Walker to play like a seasoned veteran.
"He has showed great perseverance," Bowden said. "He's patiently waited his time. He's a clam guy. The question is, can he execute?"
FSU will find out tonight.