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Backup QB needs to see self on film

Ever since he arrived at Florida State, freshman quarterback Drew Weatherford has devoted more of his time to cuing up film than Steven Spielberg.

"It's probably because I've never done it before," said the former Land O'Lakes star who, thanks to Chris Rix's ankle injury, has moved to No. 2 on the depth chart. "We didn't do that in high school at all."

But he had heard all about Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning's film room habits and has tried to emulate last season's NFL co-MVP, much to the FSU coaches' delight.

"The thing that he's done is he spends an extraordinary amount of time in the film room outside of meetings," offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden said. "He comes in on his own and he may watch a game two times after we've played it just to watch to see what Chris is doing or what Wyatt ( Sexton) is doing. So he's taken it upon himself to push his learning curve a little up."

Weatherford said the studying has helped him absorb his own offense and recognize an opponent's tendencies more quickly as well as feel more at ease on the practice field.

Knowledge is power and carries a G rating _ for everyone.

Still, will it be enough if, or when, Weatherford plays?

"He can only get so far with that," Bowden said. "He's going to have to start getting some team reps. If it gets down to that (and he enters a game), we'll have to see what happens."

NOTHING YET TO CROW ABOUT: Senior receiver Craphonso Thorpe isn't having the kind of season he hoped for following his grueling recovery from a broken right leg that ended his 2003 season Nov. 15 against North Carolina State.

With opponents zeroing in on the speedster and blitzing frequently, giving FSU fewer chances to let deep patterns develop, Thorpe has been limited to 12 catches (a team high) for 110 yards, an average of 9.2 yards per catch. He averaged 19.5 yards on 51 catches a year ago.

His frustration is palpable, although he's not publicly complaining.

"He's just got to be patient," said Bowden, who doubles as the receivers coach. "You're three games into the year; you've just got to play hard. Good things will happen if he'll keep playing hard. If he gets impatient, he'll have a rough year."

MONDAY MORNING QB: Even with a 19-point lead in the waning minutes Saturday, FSU left its first-string offensive line on the field.

That group includes senior center David Castillo, who missed the opener with an injured chest and didn't start against Alabama-Birmingham; guard Bobby Meeks, who didn't start against Miami due to a sprained right ankle, and guard Cory Niblock, who had been the backup to Matt Meinrod before Meinrod sustained a season-ending knee injury against UAB.

"We were lucky we didn't get anybody hurt," coach Bobby Bowden said. "It would have been hard to explain."

If the situation presents itself again, you can bet Bowden will be hustling the second unit onto the field PDQ.

LONG-TERM APPROACH: Women's soccer coach Patrick Baker is going to sit central midfielder Camie Bybee for a couple of weeks so the senior can recover from a sprained ankle.

"She's hobbled and has admirably played through some pain, but it's just going to do us no good to keep trying to get her to play and then recover," Baker said.

Who takes over in that critical playmaking position, beginning Friday at Duke? Sophomore Rachel McDowell has started there five times this season (as well as on the outside), but Baker planned to look at a number of options.

THIRD TIME THE CHARM: The women's soccer team will play at Miami on Oct. 26, an ACC game that has had to be rescheduled twice due to hurricanes.

FAST START, INDIVIDUALLY: Senior middle blocker Amanda Santos is second in the ACC in hitting percentage (.439) and ninth in blocks (1.25/game). She just needs more help from teammates. The volleyball team (7-5) has lost two straight and is 0-2 in the league with ACC home matches against Duke and Wake Forest on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Times staff writer Brian Landman covers Florida State. Reach him at (813) 226-3347 or landmansptimes.com.

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