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Spring Practice Stories: Florida State Picks Its Poison

Dramatic improvement from Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee! says new Florida State offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher:

"I didn't see any glaring stupid game-management things - things that would get you beat in a ballgame," Fisher said of his two experienced quarterbacks in Saturday's scrimmage.

That's a leap, indeed, considering the victory-crushing traits on excruciating display in both Lee and, more frequently, Weatherford last year, when he slightly regressed from an inconsistent but promising freshman season that ended with a rather stunning ACC championship. To wit:

Drew Weatherford vs .500 BCS Opponents
Games Comp. % Yards Per Game TD INT Pts. Per Game FSU W-L
2005 8 52.9 217.6 7 13 18.1 3-5
2006 6 51.6 193.5 3 9 18.3 2-4

Enough to wish for a staggeringly deluded, Lyme-diseased Wyatt Sexton (though not for a completely healthy Chris Rix), who would presumably be warming up to be a senior starter if not for that fateful Bonnaroo tick two summers ago, the result of which has been cursed lobs from Weatherford, followed by impatient cries for glove-shredding speedster Lee, and finally heartbroken whispers for Weatherford's return, or death; after Weatherford threw his second interception, and the duo's fourth, in the 30-0 home loss to Wake Forest, the collective gasp actually formed into a visible "Whimper," letters spilling out and hovering in the air like those murmured by the animated young O-Ren Ishii as she watched her parents being murdered from under the bed in Kill Bill, spelling out unprecedented disaster over Doak Campbell Stadium.


At least Jeff Bowden can relate to that analogy.
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But although he hasn't been able to stay on the field and will do things like throw three interceptions against Duke, it was Lee who delivered FSU's best quarterbacking performance last season (286 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT in the 27-24 loss at Maryland), who took almost every snap of the team's best-looking regular season win (33-0 over Virginia) and who's getting the better press after the first week of practice this Spring. It's also certainly Lee, should Papa Bowden or Jimbo Fisher take any step in such a direction, who fits better than any quarterback outside of Pat White the run-first role White usually played behind new FSU line coach Rick Trickett's crater-opening fronts in West Virginia. Lee has the physical upside heading into his junior season and hasn't yet followed his closest predecessor by janking a credit card to pay off gambling debts to a bookie alum or the only quarterback rated ahead of him out of high school by accepting illicit cash for no reason. Lee's cool there.

But Florida State has gone for years, with the brief, distant exception of Charlie Ward, exclusively with immobile white pocket guys with sketchy pro futures (the one sort-of NFL success, Brad Johnson, backed up Casey Weldon in college). Weatherford fits right into that mold, with the Rix-inspired wrinkle of being untenably interception-prone. So when Bobby Bowden says after the first scrimmage, contradicting widespread belief, "We're not blind. We saw who made the biggest plays today, and it was Lee," that's probably sort of an indicator. If the offense were to look very different than it has the past six years, would that be a bad thing?

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Since he came up incidentally, as a Saints fan who watched this live, SMQ believes any excuse to link to this shot of Adrian McPherson is an appropriate one.