It was just a two second shot on the television, nothing you’d notice if you looked away from the screen. With the victory in hand and his performance the difference, FSU quarterback Chris Rix, standing on his own sideline, turned and embraced teammate Alonzo Jackson. He whispered something in his ear, smiled and the two teammates shared a laugh.
Jackson, the ‘Noles emotional leader on defense, is the player who, after the Notre Dame game, was very vocal in the locker room about replacing Rix at quarterback with Adrian McPherson. So vocal in fact, that when the media was waiting at the locker room door, Jackson’s voice could be clearly heard, blaming Rix for the loss.
“Some people should worry about themselves and not everybody else,” was Rix’s only replay.
Funny how winning can make everything right in sports. Rix played nearly the perfect game. He threw the ball away when he needed to. He avoided the rush when it was in his face. He ran the ball at the right times. And he fired the ball in the end zone when his team needed it the most. Except for a short time in the third quarter that included a silly shovel pass across the line of scrimmage, Rix looked like a poised, polished and complete quarterback. Something similar to the player he was projected to be coming out of high school.
A raging immaturity and a “I can do it alone” attitude contributed to his downfall. Head Coach Bobby Bowden knew that Rix had lost the confidence and the ear of his teammates after the Notre Dame game and had no choice but to replace him. “He handled his demotion very well,” said Bowden when he opened the competition for the quarterback job after McPherson’s sub-par performance against N.C. State. Of course, Bowden was never faced with making a decision at quarterback. He dismissed McPherson from the team on Monday after it was apparent McPherson had committed a felony. Rix promised he’d be more ready than every, and he was.
Florida State appeared bigger, faster, and tougher than Florida at every position on the field. The surrounding “distractions” during the week had a galvanizing effect on the team, allowing them to circle the wagons and play perhaps their best game of the year (in a win). The Seminoles can now sit back and look at a season where they had a lot of coulda’s and shoulda’s but still with the satisfaction of an ACC Championship, a win over Florida, and a berth in a BCS bowl. Are those things enough to keep Bobby Bowden as the Seminoles Head Coach? Or enough to convince him he’s accomplished enough?