TALLAHASSEE — Drew Weatherford waits and wonders, why? Florida State's senior quarterback has thrown only two passes this season, a victim of coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher's youth movement.
"I really think that if someone was better than me I could admit it," said Weatherford, the third-stringer behind sophomores Christian Ponder and D'Vontrey Richardson. "To swallow your pride and line up behind a guy that you think you're better than every day is very, very difficult."
Fisher, for the first time, told the ex-Land O'Lakes High star Monday that he appreciated how he has handled the demotion.
"Sometimes when you're in a position you have to make certain decisions that … are tough decisions," Fisher said. "I know it's tough because he's a competitor. I feel for him."
Coach Bobby Bowden left the decision to Fisher, also the offensive coordinator.
"I think it was a pretty gutty call," Bowden said.
It's not as if Weatherford does not have credentials, ranking third in school history in passing yards and second in completions. He also led FSU to the ACC title in 2005, when he set the league freshman record with 3,208 yards.
"You're always looking for that year that really pays off for all that work," Weatherford said. "In my mind, I thought that was going to be this year."
But Weatherford has been in for only a few plays late in routs of two I-AA teams.
"There are certain things that Devo can do that I can't do when it comes to running, (and) Christian can do some things I can't do," Weatherford said. "But overall, neither of them are a better quarterback than I am right now.
"I completely disagree with (the coaches') decision. I respect their right to make the decision, but I deserve to be the starter."
Suspensions: FSU will be short-handed at receiver for the third consecutive week Saturday against Clemson. Bowden said freshmen Bert Reed and Jarmon Fortson were suspended for "not meeting their responsibilities." Details weren't disclosed.
Fortson has five catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. Reed, who has 15 catches for 226 yards and three touchdowns, also was suspended two weeks ago against Virginia Tech. Corey Surrency was suspended last week against Georgia Tech. All three are in their first season at FSU.
"They're still young, and they'll learn," Fisher said. "We'll keep teaching them and keep disciplining them and get to where we want to go."
Freshman LB Nigel Carr also was suspended for Saturday's game. He has two special teams tackles this season.
Florida: Assistant set to return to Vandy
GAINESVILLE — Saturday's trip to Nashville marks a homecoming for Florida RBs coach Kenny Carter, who held the same position at Vanderbilt in 2004-07. He admitted he still has strong ties.
"I've got tremendously strong friendships with many people there," Carter said. "But at the same time, I get to go back and if we do what we're supposed to do, we can solidify an opportunity to play for the conference championship."
Carter expects an exciting atmosphere at the SEC's smallest school, calling the 39,773-seat stadium "quaint."
USF: Leavitt puts focus on dropped passes
TAMPA — USF wrapped up practice for the week, and coach Jim Leavitt said it worked on something that plagued it against Cincinnati: dropped passes.
Offensive coordinator Greg Gregory said Wednesday that there were six in the 24-10 loss Oct. 30.
"You're not going to win that many games if you drop that many balls," Leavitt said.
Hit the trails: With the Bulls off, Leavitt said the staff will do some recruiting.
"We're going to be in some different places," he said. "We go all over the place. We're international."
One in: Even before that recruiting begins, USF picked up an oral commitment. OL Zack Chibane, a 6-foot-4, 285-pounder from Paramus, N.J., said he picked the Bulls after also drawing interest from Connecticut, Syracuse, Rutgers and Maryland. Temple, where his brother attends, offered him a scholarship.
"I really liked the area. I've been going down there all my life," said Chibane, who also plays defensive line but likely will be a guard for USF. "Once I met the coaches and saw the facilities, it really put it over the top."
Times correspondents Phil Kegler, Joe Rienzi and Ira Schoffel and Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report.