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Quote:Rix focusing on right things for Seminoles
Posted on Thu, Aug. 19, 2004
By Randy Beard
Tallahassee DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER


Rest assured that any venomous e-mail Chris Rix receives this season still will receive a thoughtful response. Only, unlike in the past, the Florida State quarterback doesn't intend to waste time arguing his case.

His new react routine: read, smile, delete.

If his critics are lucky, Rix then will bow his head.

"I just pray that there is more to their life than football," said Rix. "Football is very important to me, but I know there is a lot more to my life than football."

Rix just hasn't always practiced what he preaches. There is enough evidence that playing quarterback at FSU has awakened demons inside him as recently as a year ago. But as he enters his senior season, more and more teammates now are coming forward to bear witness that Rix has shed those shackles of arrogance and emerged as a serious leader for the Seminoles.

Wide receiver Craphonso Thorpe believes the biggest difference is that Rix has learned to accept constructive criticism without suspecting an ulterior motive.

Center David Castillo is convinced that Rix took an even bigger step on the path to maturity when he realized that it wouldn't be viewed as a sign of weakness if he leaned on other skilled athletes to get the job done.

Much to head coach Bobby Bowden's delight, Rix has been demonstrating that he has grasped that concept by spreading the ball around to Thorpe, Willie Reid, Chauncey Stovall, Leon Washington and Lorenzo Booker in 11-on-11 drills.

"He's ready to move on and say: It's not the Chris Rix Seminoles, it's the Florida State Seminoles," Castillo said.

The simple truth? Rix is smart enough to know that he won't be FSU's first five-year starter at quarterback. If he's ever going to master his weekly assignments, it will have to be this season - starting Sept.6 at Miami.

Despite throwing for 60 touchdowns and passing for 7,500 yards, the brash Californian is still seeking to make a lasting impression as a college quarterback. One national title would take care of that, which is why he spent the offseason working to gain a little more muscle mass.

And perhaps a lot thicker skin.

"Some people are going to love me and some people are going to hate me. I'm going to get great e-mails and messages after games. I'm going to get pretty bad and severe ones after games," said Rix. "I can't let it affect myself.

"This next three to four months, I have to be the most focused I've ever been."

Rix was so focused on the negative vibes he was feeling two years ago that he gave serious thought to transferring. And he would have, if not for the support and encouragement he received from Bowden and a handful of teammates.

"If Chris can just do what he's supposed to do, he can be a very good quarterback this year," said Bowden.

Rix appreciates that vote of confidence.

"That's the reason why I'm still here today. I know (Coach Bowden) believes in me. He believes in this entire team ... That's (become) my No.1 goal, to get that man another national championship before he retires. The individual things will take care of themselves."


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