Oct. 8, 2001
Senior wide receiver Javon Walker has begun his second season as a Seminole with great determination and a high set of goals, both for himself and for the team. Javon took some time out to discuss with Sports Information student assistant Michael Morrell what this season, and simply being a Seminole, means to him.
Coming into your second year at Florida State, what is the biggest difference you have noticed from playing JUCO football?
The talent at this level is a little bit better. In junior college, you can get away with a lot of things, but in Division I, you have to be on your toes at all times. Everyone is a great athlete at this level of competition.
With the loss of wide receivers Robert Morgan and Anquan Boldin, what is the biggest thing in your mind that you and the rest of the receivers have to accomplish or prove this year?
We lost two great wideouts, and the only thing we can really do is go out and play to the best of our ability and try and make things happen even though these two guys aren’t here. We just need to try and play the season free from injury and try to do the best we can. We hope these guys can get back sooner or later depending on how they are doing.
As a senior, and only being here for two years, do you feel added pressure to show your abilities since you haven’t been around the program as long as some of the other receivers?
I don’t feel the added pressure, I just think I have a bigger role to play this year because of what happened to Robert (Morgan) and Anquan (Boldin). I know a lot of people are looking for me to step up this year, which I am looking forward to because last year I had the injury that kept me out of a lot of games. So this year, I am looking forward to coming in and helping this team win.
Going back to last year in your first game against BYU and your first game in Doak Campbell, what was it like for you as a player putting on the Garnet and Gold and all of the emotion?
Oh man! It was like a dream come true for me because I always wanted to play football at Florida State. Playing in the BYU game and putting on the uniform just gave me chills. Playing in front of 80,000 fans at Doak Campbell Stadium with Coach Bowden and having Coach Jeff Bowden as my receivers coach was a real big difference. Words just can’t describe how you feel when you are out there for the first time.
Jeff Bowden is the new offensive coordinator, but he is still your wide receivers coach. Do you see his offensive game plan changing and has he come to you for senior leadership?
He has come to us (the senior receivers) for leadership since there were three of us and now it’s just me and Atrews (Bell). I think he is going to do a great job. He is going to add more dimension to the offense, where we aren’t going to be just pass or just run. If we’ve got both combinations going, it’s just going to work out for both of us. There is a big difference already between Coach Bowden and Coach Richt since last year. Last year with the game plan, we would have to get consent from Coach Richt but now with Coach Bowden as offensive coordinator, he can take what we are capable of doing and put it in the game plan. I look forward to the season we are going to have with him as our offensive coordinator.
The wide receiver position seems to be getting thinner by the day. With Anquan Boldin and Robert Morgan going down with season-ending injuries, how have freshmen receivers Craphonso Thorpe and P.K. Sam stepped up to take on their roles in the program?
They’re picking up the offense really well. We just have to make sure that we help them take it day-by-day and game-by-game. The game against Duke was a real big test for them, but from what I have seen so far, they have both come along real well.
Who has been your greatest influence on and off the field and who helped you adjust the most to the system at Florida State?
My greatest influence off the field would have to be how the athletes here work when they are not around football. That’s just a great influence. You have a lot of players who are just satisfied with what goes on without really working. I was tremendously excited when I found out how hard the players here work in the off-season to get where they are today. On the field the greatest influence to me has been Coach Jeff Bowden. It’s been exciting seeing all of the confidence he has in me coming into this year and with all the injuries going down, putting a lot on my shoulders, which I like. It’s been a great confidence booster for me.
What personal goals have you set for your senior season?
First of all, the biggest thing is to stay healthy this whole year and play hard and do the best that I can to help this team win. We want to show the doubters out there who don’t think we have a chance this year that they are wrong.
Having played one season at Florida State, which team or teams do you look forward to playing the most?
I am looking forward to playing Miami and Florida just for the simple fact that with all the senior leadership and positive roles that they are putting on me, I am just looking to go in and have a more effective role against them. I want to really show the talent that I have. Even with the receivers we lost, we have people who can come in and play this year.