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Passing closes up for Rix

By Times staff writers

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 1, 2002


TALLAHASSEE -- If you thought Florida State sophomore quarterback Chris Rix looked antsy in the pocket against Virginia Saturday, you weren't alone.

TALLAHASSEE -- If you thought Florida State sophomore quarterback Chris Rix looked antsy in the pocket against Virginia Saturday, you weren't alone.

His coaches did, too.

"That was because Virginia chose to cover receivers rather than rush the passer," coach Bobby Bowden said. "So every time he looked out there, there's people double covered there, double covered here, and you've got to find the right guy.

"I think that's the hardest task for a quarterback, when they double cover everybody. But that allows you to run. I doubt if he had as hot a day as he normally has, but it was okay."

Rix finished 10 of 18 for 117 yards, the second fewest of his career, threw no touchdowns for the first time and was intercepted twice, both costing FSU scoring chances. He rushed 11 times for 58 yards and a touchdown.

"When you drop eight guys, you get a mindset, "Hey. The percentages are low that something's going to be there and you want to get some yards, you want to keep the chains moving,' " Rix said, adding he has to work on his patience, let the play develop more.

"I've got to learn from that," he said.

FRESHMAN UNCERTAINTY: FSU freshman linebacker Buster Davis, a USA Today first-team prep All-American last season at Daytona Beach Mainland, was not at the game, and Bowden said Davis is having reservations about being a Seminole. Bowden will talk to Davis' parents today.

INJURY REPORT: Senior receiver Robert Morgan bruised a rib and will be X-rayed to check for a possible fracture. Senior middle linebacker Jerel Hudson re-injured his left ankle, and backup sophomore linebacker Marcello Church, a former Lakewood High star, strained his right hamstring.

FAMOUS SPECTATOR: Former Seminole and Bucs tailback Warrick Dunn, inducted into the FSU Hall of Fame on Friday along with Doug Mientkiewicz (baseball), Leander McKenzie (track) and Shamalene Wilson-Broner (softball), attended with members of his family.

"I've been gone for five years and you wouldn't think it would happen in five years," he said. "It's kind of shocking. But I'm happy. I'm happy that the alumni think highly enough of me to elect me so soon."

Dunn was part of memorable wins, including the 1993 national championship against Nebraska and a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown against Florida in the 1996 regular-season finale. Perhaps the most lasting memory was FSU's 33-28 loss at Virginia in 1995, its first ACC loss. He fell inches short of the goal line on the game's final play.

"We were the first to do that and you constantly hear that," he said. "You have ESPN Classic constantly replaying the game and guys saying, "Did you get in?' Of course I got in. It was a home call."

FSU FIRST: Sophomore offensive tackle Alex Barron made his first career start in place of injured Ray Willis. But Barron's start forced a line dance. Senior Brett Williams moved from split tackle to tight tackle. Besides helping open holes for Greg Jones and the rest of the backs, Barron recovered a fumble.

-- BRIAN LANDMAN, JASON SCHNEIDER

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