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McPherson wins over coach

By BRIAN LANDMAN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 4, 2002

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida State coach Bobby Bowden had been hearing from his assistants that quarterback Adrian McPherson not only possessed a strong arm and good running skills but made good, quick decisions.

"Somebody tells me a guy's pretty good, you've got to prove it to me," Bowden said. "So what did I do? I stuck him in nearly every game and not a one of them did he look better than Chris Rix. Until Notre Dame. ...

"For the first time under fire, he showed me what he could do and that's the reason I said, 'Oh, oh. It's time to take a look at this guy.' "

What the sophomore from Bradenton showed in his starting debut against Wake Forest, leading FSU to a 34-21 come-from-behind win, was just what the assistants had predicted.

And just what FSU needed.

For the most part, "AD" McPherson impressed his coaches, his teammates and the fans with his instinctive decisionmaking. He threw the ball to the right people in the right places. He ran at the right times. He bought time and threw at the right times. He threw it away or slid at the right times.

"You don't see that much," Bowden said Sunday. "That's what's encouraging. ... Again, Chris Rix, I want him to stay in the fight and keep battling and learn from this. What did I find out? I found out we've got two good quarterbacks."

JONES UPDATE: Until an MRI today tells them more, FSU officials are calling tailback Greg Jones' injury a right knee sprain. Jones, who was hit on the knee early in the game and put on a brace, left the game for good after he cut and "my knee just gave out."

"I thought the worst; it was the first time my knee ever felt like that," he said Sunday. "It gave out for no reason, so a lot of stuff was going through my head."

X DIDN'T MARK THE SPOT: Placekicker Xavier Beitia said his 2-for-5 performance on field goals against Wake Forest was just a "bad day; a really bad day."

He offered no excuses, saying he hit the ball well except on his first attempt, a miss from 47 yards. In fact, his miss from 45 early in the fourth quarter hit the left upright with such force it ricocheted back onto the field.

"Coach (Billy) Sexton put his arm around me and said, 'Son. Please make this one,' " Beitia said of his final attempt, a 28-yarder, that he did convert.

RETURNING TO THE FOLD: Bowden said he, defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews and suspended starting cornerback Stanford Samuels would meet this week to discuss Samuels' return. He violated an unspecified team rule and didn't make the trip to Wake Forest.

MORE INJURY NEWS: As with Jones, the Seminoles are holding their collective breath about offensive guard Montrae Holland, who is scheduled to have X-rays today on his right ankle.

Receivers Talman Gardner and Dominic Robinson sprained their left ankles, linebacker Michael Boulware has a quadriceps bruise, linebacker Kendyll Pope bruised a knee, offensive tackle Ray Willis reinjured his left shoulder and defensive end Alonzo Jackson strained a neck muscle.

TV SET: Saturday's game at Georgia Tech will be at 3:30 p.m. on Ch. 28. Depending on what happened last weekend, the broadcast network (and consequently even the kickoff time) were to be determined.

THE LAST WORD: "Our defense got better and better and better as the game went along. Now that was one of the big things I spotted." -- Bowden on his team shutting out Wake Forest in the second half, something it hadn't done in any game.

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