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October 22, 2010

Weinke's World - Mailbag Edition

IMG Madden Football Academy
Sponsored by IMG Madden Football Academy

Thanks to everyone for submitting questions. I'm sincerely appreciative of how supportive the Warchant community has been since I've started writing here. On to the mailbag:

Were you superstitious as a player? If so, what were some of the things you would do the night before a big game? -Noiler

Chris: Most players are superstitious in some way, but mine weren't necessarily the night before the game. On game days, I had the exact same routine. It started four hours before the game with the same pre-game meal of two chicken breasts, noodles with no sauce, banana and two bottles of water. Then, I'd sit in the same seat on the bus from the hotel to the stadium.

In the locker room, I would take my uniform and set it out. Put my pads in my pants and lay them in my locker. Fold socks and put them on floor on the right side of the locker. Put on mesh shorts and t-shirt and go to the training room for ankle-taping and talk to Randy Oravetz, the head trainer, for about 15 minutes. Go back to the locker and go through the whole game plan by myself. Get dressed with no shoulder pads, just pants and jersey. Go on the field two hours before kickoff to get loose for about 20 minutes, then go back to the locker room and wait for Coach Bowden to address the team.

When a QB steps back just before the ball is snapped and starts shouting and pointing is he changing the play or what? - fsusox

Chris:
In some cases, they are changing the play. In most cases, when you see a QB pointing, it's calling out the middle linebacker for protection reasons, or they are pointing out a possible safety or corner blitz. I would use finger signals for my receivers all of the time. To not give away tendencies, I would signal to my receivers even during running plays.

Chris, when you were hit in the Virginia game did you know you hurt severely right after impact? I read that you were fairly close to death at one point during your recovery. Was that true? - WAR PAINT

Chris:
Right after I was hit, I initially thought it was my shoulder because I had severe pain. I had no idea there was anything wrong with my neck. I only realized it was a neck injury once we went into the locker room at halftime. The trainers went to lift up my arms, and it felt like someone stuck a knife into the back of my neck.

I wasn't close to death, but I did suffer a spinal fluid leak that kept me in bed for six weeks. I wasn't able to be exposed to light. Imagine the worst headache you've ever had x100. I could rarely have the TV on. At that point, I didn't think I would ever be able to function normally again.

What or when was Bobby's best pregame speech? Second, I have a good friend that tells me you and him were good friends during your time in Tally. He played baseball. His name is Scott Hudson. Is he telling me the truth? Just curious. I'd like to rag him if not true. - Ocilla

Chris:
It was during halftime of the Maryland game during the 2000 season. We weren't playing very well, and we made some mental mistakes. It was the first and only time I've ever seen Coach Bowden truly mad. He was so upset that he said things that nobody had ever heard come out of his mouth. We tore them up in the second half.

And I remember Scott. We hung out a bit in Tallahassee.

You've been through an NFL Draft, and I was wondering how Christian Ponder will project at the next level. He had a strong year in 2009 before getting hurt and was in some projections a 1st round pick. How do you think he will project this year being his numbers are down yet this team is still finding ways to win with the running game. Where do you think he ends up and what do you think the scouts think of his potential? - Grady3Nole

Chris:
The QB is scrutinized more than any other position on the team. Scouts evaluate, among other things, the QB's leadership ability. Most NFL scouts are looking for guys who can lead their team to victory - it isn't always about the numbers. When they go through their evaluation of Christian, he'll grade very strongly from a physical standpoint and even better on his mental makeup. I think he'll do very well at the NFL Combine and present himself very well in 1-on-1 interviews with NFL teams.

I'd really like to hear Chris' take on Ponder's performance this season and specifically what he is seeing/noting when watching him during our games. - 92Nole

Chris:
He has total command of the offense. He understands that his No. 1 job is to win football games. Because of the running game's success, he hasn't been asked to win games through the air. He's making good decisions and using his feet when he needs to escape. He needs to continue to trust what he sees and deliver the ball with great anticipation.

What is your favorite memory as a Nole besides beating VT in the national championship game? - Fsuguy1983

Chris:
My favorite memory is never losing to Florida when I was there. Specifically, it was beating the Gators during my senior year. I was in the hospital the night before and didn't even stay at the team hotel. I couldn't hold anything down. I was totally dehydrated and had to get an I.V. I stayed at the team doctor's house. I drove to the game with Dr. Stowers and walked through all of the tailgates to the stadium. People were doing double-takes the whole time.

Me: Uh Chris, you remember that time... uh... when you were playing Clemson... and uh... the ball was on the one yard line... and uh... you acted like you were going to uhhh hand it off... but uh... you kept it and hid it from the other team... and then uh... you uh... threw it downfield to Snoop Minnis, and it was like, a uh 99 yard uh touchdown pass?

Chris: Yeah.

Me: That was awesome!

-- tommynole3476

Chris:
Love Chris Farley! We put that play in on the Friday before the game. We noticed on film that during a recent game, Clemson's opponent during a short-yardage situation sent a guy in motion and Clemson brought all 11 guys in the box.

We were only going to run it if we were inside our own 5-yard line. So, the punter crushes a 75-yard punt to get it to the 2. It looked like it was going to roll into the end zone, and I remember hoping that it didn't because it would be our only chance to run that play. I had the headset on, and Coach Richt and I were both yelling "Stop, stop." As I was walking on the field, Coach Bowden said to go with it.

In the huddle, I reinforced how important it was to sell this like a run play. The last thing I said was for Snoop to be patient. We brought him in motion to act like he was going to crack down on the end. I snapped the ball, faked and it felt like I was standing back there forever. As soon as I turned around, I knew he was open. I ran all the way to end zone. We all did. They showed the replay about 5 times, and we watched it every time on the sidelines. I had no idea the defensive tackle was so close to me before I passed it.

What would your top 5 teams this season currently look like in order? - jesword

Chris:
In order: Oklahoma, Auburn, Oregon, Boise State and TCU.

I have your jersey... Will you autograph it for me so I can put it in my FSU room? Dkdubbnole

Chris:
Absolutely. Send it my way.

I would like to know how well received Chris was when he returned to FSU from his stint w/ baseball or what was his conversation with Coach Bowden like when he talked to him about coming back to play. - FSUDW

Chris:
The staff and players made me feel like part of the family.. The upperclassmen were closer to my age, so naturally we had more in common.

As for Coach Bowden, he had said to me 7 years earlier that if I ever wanted to come back, a scholarship would be waiting for me. When I started thinking about trying football again, I had my high school coach reach out to about five different schools to gauge interest, with FSU obviously being my No. 1 choice. I took a trip to Tallahassee for the FSU/Clemson game in 1996 and sat down with Coach Bowden and Coach Richt. Coach Richt actually tried to talk me out of coming because he had Drew Henson about to commit. He felt that Drew wouldn't do it if I committed. I asked Coach Richt if I'm the best guy, will I play? He said yes, so I walked up to Coach Bowden's office and said I was coming to FSU.

One of the top players in college football history, Chris Weinke helped Florida State to an undefeated season and National Championship in 1999, followed by being awarded the Heisman Trophy in 2000. He's currently the Director of the IMG Madden Football Academy in Bradenton, Fla.



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