September 3, 2008 - by

Christian Ponder Named FSU’s Starting QB For The Western Carolina Game

Sept. 3, 2008




TALLAHASSEE, Fla.  – The news coming out of Tallahassee on Wednesday all surrounded the quarterback position. Head coach Bobby Bowden announced following practice that redshirt sophomore Christian Ponder would be FSU’s starting quarterback Saturday versus Western Carolina. It will be the first start for Ponder and should up the total of first time starters to 13 for Florida State on Saturday when you include special teams.

 

PRACTICE HIGHLIGHTS

  • FSU began practice by completing the final two periods of yesterday’s practice that was called due to lightning.  On the final play of the segment D’Vontrey Richardson threw a touchdown pass to Corey Surrency in the back corner of the endzone.  The drill was a one minute drill.
  • The team ran periods 1-15 of today’s practice as the offense and the defense against the Western Carolina scout teams.
  • Period 16 began with 7-on-7 drills with the quarterbacks (Christian Ponder and Richardson) alternating snaps.  Ponder completed 5-of-9 passes while Richardson completed 2-of-6 passes.  Linebacker Derek Nicholson recorded an interception.
  • Period 18 began 11-on-11 drills.  Ponder completed 2-of-5 passes with one going for a touchdown to Jarmon Fortson.  Richardson completed 3-of-4 with two touchdowns to Louis Givens.  Richardson also counted a rushing touchdown for himself.  On defense, Kendrick Stewart recorded a quarterback sack. 
  • The final two periods were one minute drills.  Ponder completed 3-of-4 passes and was sacked twice by linebacker Toddrick Verdell.  Richardson completed 2-of-6 passes when it came his turn to run the drill.

 

PRACTICE QUOTES

Head coach Bobby Bowden

On why Christian Ponder won the starting job:

“(Christian) Ponder will start the ballgame (against Western Carolina) and we will go from there.  His footwork is good and he is throwing good.  I think that is a big thing. It is so tight, it’s a tough decision. You couldn’t imagine how tough it was.”

 

Offensive Coordinator Jimbo Fisher

 On how close the decision was

 “I’ve said this before, I like all three quarterbacks.  It got down before, the fit of the type of team we have and what we need.  I’m not trying to say that [Ponder] won it by default, he played extremely well through the spring and fall.  He was very consistent, could run, could throw, did everything right, but I still feel like we have three very good quarterbacks, I really do.”

 

On how many quarterbacks will play against Western Carolina

“We’re going to play, but you can’t play yo-yo at quarterback.  D’Vontrey will play and Drew will get a little bit of time, we’ll see what we can do in the fit and see how it goes.  Drew may end up playing, I don’t know, we’ll see how it goes in the game.  Ponder is going to play and D’Vontrey has earned the right to earn some time and we’ll see how it goes.”

 

On how Ponder won the job

“Consistency and the ability to make plays with his legs.  He was very accurate with his throws, very good decision making process, most consistent and he’s also very athletic.  He makes plays with his legs and he makes plays with his arms.  I’ve always said I think Christian is a big-time player, I think the others are, but over the long period of time he was the most consistent with the most big plays.”

 

On how Drew Weatherford handled the news

“He handled it very well with class just how he always does.  That’s why I wanted to get to him beforehand and talk to him.  You hope your kids grow up to be like Drew, he handled it well and I explained to him the reasons why and some other things that we talked about and like I said we’re going to need Drew to win games this year.  We have to keep him in this thing and he was good.”

 

On the importance of gauging the progress of the two lesser experienced quarterbacks in the first two games of the season

“I think we need to find out what we’ve got period.  We need to find out what we’ve got in the first guy, we’ll find out the second then we’ll find out the third.  They’re games so we’ll see how it goes. I’m not going to try to say because it’s those two games and then the ACC.  We’re going to play these two games and we need to play well.”

 

On whether the quarterback position is still a fluid situation

“I think [Ponder] is the definitive guy and he’s the guy right now.  The other guys need to continue to push and he’s got to continue to play well.  Any job you get you have to continue to do well or someone replaces you, but I’m not a short leash guy.  I think it’s hard to play when you’re sitting there looking over your right shoulder and looking over your left shoulder.  He’ll play and if the other guys continue to improve we’ll see how things go.”

 

Quarterback Christian Ponder:

How he feels on being named the starting quarterback:

“It feels good. I’m relieved. It’s getting a little close to the game and now to finally hear it is great. It’s a dream come true for me. I have been waiting forever to get this job at Florida State. I’m excited that it finally happened. I can’t wait till Saturday.”

 

On if his hurt shoulder would stop him from getting the starting position:

“It did a little bit. I was afraid because the other guys are really good and pushing right behind me. The got a little bit ahead of me the days I wasn’t in practice. I was a little worried about it, but luckily I came back and did what I needed to do.”

 

What the coaches told him was the reason he got the position:

“I was consistent. All three of us deserved it. He said he was going to give the position to me and give me a chance. I’m going to run with it and do what I can.”

 

What he needs to do to keep this spot:

“I can’t look over my shoulder. I just need to do my best and just play.”

 

When he found out:

“I found out this morning. He met with the quarterbacks separately to let us know.”

 

On whether he will play the entire game:

“I think they are going to mix in the other guys in so they can get some playing time. They deserve it and they need to play. They have been looking good as well so they deserve it.”

 

How much has helped to be in his second year on offense:

“It’s helped a lot. I’ve gotten a lot more confident in knowing the plays and where the guys are going to be at. The whole thing is about building up confidence in yourself and knowing where the guys are going to be at in certain plays so I can get the ball to them.”

 

Expectations on himself:

“I have to prepare 100% and get ready for the game. I can’t be looking over my shoulder at the other guys. They are really good players so if I mess up, they are going to be right there ready to take my job. I just need to do everything I can to prepare myself.”

 

On the competition being so close and trying not to look over his shoulder:

“It is tough but you can’t think about it. I can’t focus on losing the job. I have to focus on what I need to do to keep it. It just comes with preparation and confidence in myself.  Those two other guys are going to support me. They are great guys and great players and they arte going to help me out as well.”

 

On Western Carolina coming up:

“We just need to be ourselves. Not worry about making mistakes and just play our game. We have a really good and explosive offense. The offense line is doing real well. Although they are young, they are doing really good. We need to just come out and make the plays we can make.”

 

DE Everette Brown

On Christian Ponder being named the starting quarterback

“He’s worked hard for it and he brings a couple of different intangibles to the table.  He’s mobile in the pocket. He doesn’t have much game experience but he’s well prepared.  He had a great spring and he’s had some great two-a-days so we’re behind him 100% and he’s ready.”

 

On the defense’s relationship with the offense

“We wanted to make the offense better.  We knew they were going to be young especially on the offensive line and different quarterbacks going in.  We just wanted to help the offense and make them better, but at the same time we get better because they’re going to have to line up on game day and we’re all on the same team.”

 

QB D’Vontrey Richardson

On what he saw in Ponder during the preseason

“He was making plays and being consistent everyday, he earned it, congratulations.”

 

On his own reaction

“I’m the same old guy.  I’m going to keep grinding and still try to get the starting job.”

 

On if the announcement will push him

“Whenever I was told I was kind of like ok, I have to grind a little bit harder.  I’m going to go home right now and I’m going to study some more and tomorrow I’ll study and be ready just in case I get out there on Saturday.”

 

On his preseason play

“I think I came a long way from where I was, but I still have to keep pushing, I’ve got a ways to go.”

 

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