Weatherford tabbed to start for FSU


FSU coach Bobby Bowden will probably start reshirt freshman quarterback Drew Weatherford in Monday's game vs Miami.

Published: Thursday, September 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, September 1, 2005 at 1:24 a.m.
TALLAHASSEE - Florida State will start redshirt freshman quarterback Drew Weatherford, who sprained an ankle on his lone college play last fall, in Monday's season opener against Miami.
Weatherford, who is from Tampa, bested another redshirt freshman, Xavier Lee of Daytona Beach.
''It looked from about the third scrimmage on that Drew would be the guy you'd start,'' coach Bobby Bowden said Wednesday. ''He has all the tools to be an outstanding quarterback.''
The 20-year-old Weatherford called the starting assignment a dream come true.
''I've been wanting to play here since I was a kid,'' Weatherford said.
Bowden said he considered Weatherford the starter and Lee, possibly, the closer.
''We've got 11 or 12 more ball games,'' Bowden said. ''You can't go out there with just one starter.''
The veteran coach said he expected Weatherford and Lee would compete throughout the season for playing time.
''I want both of 'em practicing with a number one mentality,'' Bowden said.
''They will continue this competition,'' he said. ''This is not a season-ending contest.''
Miami coach Larry Coker said Wednesday his team prepared to face either quarterback in the nationally televised Labor Day game.
''I think it's a good possibility we'll see both,'' Coker said.
Miami will also go with a first-time starter in redshirt sophomore Kyle Wright.
Both coaches agreed that Monday's outcome is likely to be decided by whoever makes the fewest mistakes.
''I've been steady, consistent,'' Weatherford said about his practices and scrimmages during August. ''I think that's what they want.''
The 6-2, 220-pound freshman threw for 401 yards in one scrimmage, connecting with a dozen different receivers.
Weatherford, 20, was sidelined last year after hurting his right ankle against North Carolina in the fourth game of the season and he had surgery on it this spring.
However, Bowden said Lee's arm is now fine and he too is ready to play against Miami.
Weatherford chuckles when he recalls his previous venture onto the playing field.
''I just kind of strapped up, went out there and got hurt,'' he said.
The Seminoles were left without an experienced quarterback this season when junior Wyatt Sexton was diagnosed with Lyme disease this summer and ordered to rest to aid his recovery.
Sexton started seven games a year ago. Chris Rix, who began the 2004 season as a fourth-year starter, graduated. Rix had a horrendous game against the Hurricanes his freshman year, throwing four interceptions and losing two fumbles in addition to being sacked seven times in a 49-27 midseason loss.
The last time Bowden initiated a quarterback against Miami was 20 years ago when freshman Chip Ferguson made his first collegiate appearance in a 35-27 loss to the Hurricanes. Ferguson completed 14 of 28 passes for 158 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The Associated Press Florida State quarterback Drew Weatherford will start against Miami in Monday's opener.
''It looked from about the third scrimmage on that Drew would be the guy you'd start."

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