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August 28, 2004

Wide receivers dominate scrimmage

The 2004 Orange Bowl was definitely a forgettable night for the Seminole wide receivers. Outside of a one big play, a 52-yard gain by Chauncey Stovall in the first quarter, the unit was held to four catches for 37 yards. With anemic numbers like that it's no wonder FSU's offense struggled against the Hurricanes. If Friday night's scrimmage is any indication, the 'Nole wideouts should dramatically improve on their Orange Bowl performance when they face Miami on September 6th.

When the dust settled in the scrimmage the wide receivers accounted for 17 catches, 258 yards and three touchdowns. For the most part, the unit caught the ball at will against the scout team defense, made good runs after the catch and blocked well on running plays.

"We are excited to showcase what we can do," Dominic Robinson said. "Obviously there aren't enough balls to go around with Lorenzo (Booker) and Leon (Washington) back there. You wonder 'who's going to be the one' because we all aren't going to catch five balls and go for 100 yards in a game, especially not in a Miami game. But we are excited because we know that this is what we need to win games. We've got the depth so if anybody gets hurt we won't have any drop-off."

The leading receiver of the scrimmage was Chris Davis who racked up 4 catches for 103 yards. That included a 62-yard touchdown pass from Chris Rix. That touchdown and his exceptional effort have been commonplace in practice the last couple weeks.

"He did again tonight," Offensive coordinator and wide receiver Jeff Bowden said. "When we hit him on a deep one tonight he reminded me of another good one we had here (Peter Warrick) because he went up high and came down on his feet and scored with the ball. You just cross your fingers he will stay healthy because he's playing like he's never been hurt."

The former prep All-American signed with FSU in 2002 and came in with enormous hype based primarily on the amazing highlight film he had coming out of St. Petersburg Catholic High School. However, before he ever set foot on campus, he tore his ACL and was forced to take a medical redshirt season. He saw his first action last season but played with a knee brace, and then suffered an ankle sprain late in the season. For the first time this month, he has been totally healthy and the coaches are seeing the same amazing abilities they saw on that highlight video.

"I think we are seeing now the same moves we saw in high school," head coach Bobby Bowden said. "I hope he can stay healthy because he could be very valuable to our football team."

Even though Davis racked up the most receiving yards, Dominic Robinson scored two touchdowns. The senior wideout caught a 31-yarder from Wyatt Sexton and followed that up by catching a 3-yard strike from Chris Rix in the back of the endzone. The throw from Rix was a frozen rope and considering how short the pass was, it took soft hands for Robinson to haul it in.

"That's stuff when you watch film you are like 'wow' it kind of shocks you the way he stuck that in there," Robinson said. "That's fun, that's football, good football.

Chauncey Stovall and Craphonso Thorpe chipped in three catches each, but it was a freshman receiver that caught the attention of the offensive coaches. Despite lining up with the scout team against the first and second team defense, DeCody Fagg had three receptions for 70 yards.

"He stood out on the other team," Jeff Bowden said. "He's making me notice him. He's going to be fighting somebody for one of those positions down the line. I hope he will keep working and fighting for some time because he'll get it if he can keep this up."

When statistics were no longer being kept, Fagg added another incredible catch against the third-team defense. On the play he out-fought a defender on a jumpball and scored a touchdown.

If Friday night is any indication, Chris Rix should have plenty of weapons at his disposal this season. The most difficult thing may be choosing his favorite target.

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