By JASON SCHNEIDER
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 16, 2002
Some changes come with great fanfare, others with little notice.
Saturday, Fabian Walker quietly slipped into the role of backup quarterback.
When Chris Rix went down with a right elbow contusion with 6:30 left, Walker entered the game, not Adrian McPherson, who was Rix's backup last season and for the first two games of this season.
"We felt like, potentially, McPherson is our second-best quarterback," coach Bobby Bowden said. "But there were times in the past week of practice that he couldn't perform."
Walker spent most of his night handing off but hit Craphonso Thorpe for a 39-yard reception and exhibited skills that had coaches excited about him two years ago.
"I think it's pretty close, and Fabian Walker is going to be that backup guy," Bowden said. "Especially after he threw like he did (Saturday). He stepped in there and threw a pretty darn good pass. When he was here two years ago, he threw the ball as good as anyone we've ever had around here."
Walker committed to FSU in 1999 but did not qualify academically. He spent two years at Jones Junior College in Mississippi, was redshirted last season and has struggled to regain his form.
McPherson has had an ankle injury since defensive end Alonzo Jackson rolled him during a preseason scrimmage. With the injury and Rix's hold on the starting job, McPherson had hoped to redshirt, something that still might happen.
"I don't believe (McPherson) is ready to play," Bowden said. "We talked about putting him in the other night, but I don't think he feels good on his ankle. We've decided we're going to put in for a medical hardship for (McPherson) if he can't play."
McPherson pushed Rix for the starting job last season when Rix struggled early. But Rix earned the job for good with a 300-yard, five-touchdown game against Maryland.
OFFENSE SLOWS: A trend continued as the offense slowed in the second half and was outscored for the third consecutive game.
In the third and fourth quarters, the Seminoles have scored 31 while giving up 46. But Bowden said he is unconcerned.
"We'd like for it not to sputter, but do you know of anyone's that doesn't?" Bowden said. "That's kind of a common trend for an offense to sputter. You don't play 60 minutes of perfect football."
INJURY NEWS: Rix will not miss any practices and should be 100 percent for Duke on Saturday.
Fullback B.J. Dean sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee. He will miss some practice, but team doctors are unsure how much. Offensive tackle Ray Willis sprained his left shoulder and will miss an undetermined amount of practice. Both will be re-evaluated to determine their status for Saturday.