August 26, 1999 - by
Warrick Returns for Shot at National Title

Aug. 26, 1999

By BRENT KALLESTAD
Associated Press Writer


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Peter Warrick could have ended up as the answer to a trivia question.

Which Florida State receiver was once roommates with Randy Moss?

Fate intervened, however, and it seems as if both players have benefited.

After rooming with Warrick as a redshirt freshman, Moss moved to
Marshall, eventually overcoming his troubles to become an NFL star. That left the receiving stage at Florida State wide open for Warrick, who returns to the Seminoles this year as one of the top players in college football.

The two have remained friends. They talk regularly on the telephone. The
conversations will become more interesting when the season begins.

“I’ve told him, ‘I’m going to call you every Saturday night and let you
know what I did,”‘ Warrick says. “I’m going to tell him, ‘I want you to do
better than that on Sunday.”‘

Warrick could have joined Moss in the NFL this season. Many people
expected
the Florida State senior to forgo his final year for a sure spot in the
draft’s
first round.

Much like Peyton Manning did two seasons ago, Warrick decided to stay in
school. He wanted another chance at the national title that eluded the
Seminoles by one victory last season. Perhaps the prospect of winning the
Heisman Trophy was a factor, too.

There could have been other reasons.

“I really think Peter likes Tallahassee, Florida, and he likes it at
FSU,”
coach Bobby Bowden says. “I don’t think it’s like he can’t wait to get to New
York or Philadelphia. Maybe that doesn’t excite him right now.”

As much as the decision had to do with football, it had to do with
becoming
an adult. Raised by his mother and aunt, Warrick never had much of a father
figure growing up. Enter Bowden and the sage advice he dispenses in his
down-home, folksy way.

“Sometimes I think, `Gosh, I wonder how it would be if my daddy was
there,”‘ Warrick says. “Coach Bobby is like a father away from home. I grew
up without my father. I can talk to Bobby in any way. He’ll tell me, ‘I think
you need to do this, you need to do that.’ I try to listen and follow what he
tells me.”

Bowden ranks Warrick up there with the most talented players he’s ever
coached, a list that includes Derrick Brooks, Warrick Dunn and Andre
Wadsworth.

“He’s a dangerous football player,” Bowden says. “I think you better get
two or three guys on him or you’re not going to get him. He’s just got a
God-given talent to evade people.”

And there are plenty of football-related goals for Warrick to chase. He’s
close to many Florida State and Atlantic Coast Conference records.

He has already scored 25 touchdowns in college. Last year, he caught 61
passes for 1,232 yards and 11 touchdowns, and returned 15 punts for 208 yards.
He also rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown.

He needs 77 catches for 1,016 yards and six touchdowns to set career
records
in all of those categories at Florida State, and he is 796 yards shy of the
ACC
receiving yardage record held by North Carolina State’s Torry Holt.

Finding the end zone has always seemed easy for Warrick, a muscular
6-foot,
200-pound speedster known his whole life as P-Dub, for the W in his last name.

“The first time I touched the ball, the first time being out there, I ran
the kickoff all the way back,” says Warrick, recalling his football debut as a
10-year-old.

He led Southeast High in Bradenton to consecutive state titles,
accounting
for 39 touchdowns in those two years. Although he played quarterback his
senior
year there was never a question about where he’d line up at Florida State.

Choosing the Seminoles was easy for Warrick, whose high school team
had the
same nickname. His favorite player was former Florida State great Deion
Sanders.

Warrick met Sanders this summer, but isn’t making any bold statements
about
going head-to-head with the perennial All-Pro cornerback one day.

“I ain’t ready for that yet,” Warrick said, laughing. “I came back one
more year so I could get ready for that.”

He might also be getting ready for the Heisman. Warrick and
Wisconsin’s Ron
Dayne enter the season as the top candidates.

“That’s something that will either come or it won’t,” Bowden says. “I
don’t think that’s why he stayed. But our team will be on TV every Saturday.
Plenty of people will see him. If he’s got it, they’ll see it and they’ll vote
for him.”

It was a TV appearance of another nature that may have formed the most
opinions of Warrick to this point, none of them flattering.

In last year’s 23-16 loss to Tennessee in the Fiesta Bowl, the
receiver had
just one catch for 7 yards. In the second half, TV cameras caught him on the
sideline, animated and obviously frustrated.

“I know on TV they were trying to make it seem like I was mad because I
wasn’t getting the ball,” he says. “It probably looked like that, but it
wasn’t like that at all. I was mad because I felt we weren’t playing together
as a team.”

He’ll have plenty of time to get it right this year. His decision to
stay in
college one more year was one his former roommate, Moss, completely agreed
with.

“He was telling me it’s a business up there, like a 9-to-5 job,” Warrick
said. “He’s glad I stayed. Now he’s saying, ‘first pick, first round, Peter
Warrick.’ He’s going to go crazy.”

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