Warrick looks to end tumultuous career on high note
Posted: Wednesday December 29, 1999 12:40 PM
Peter Warrick's indiscretions may have cost him the Heisman, but probably won't hurt his draft position. Scott Halleran/Allsport
By Paul Crane, CNN/SI
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Peter Warrick had it all. He was the favorite for the Heisman Trophy, the best player on college football's best team ... until that fateful trip to a department store. Trying to get clothes for next to no cost wound up costing him more than he could have ever imagined.
"He learned a very big lesson, the hard way that cost him a lot of trophies this year," said Florida State coach Bobby Bowden.
"I can't worry about what happened," said Warrick. "What is in my past I have to let stay in my past. I can't let my past affect my future."
Warrick's future still seems secure. But the incident has had an unintended effect.
With Warrick serving a two-game suspension, Florida State found a number of new weapons. Eleven different players caught passes in an Oct. 9 win over Miami, giving the Seminoles a newfound confidence. "As bad as it sounds, I think Pete being out helped us out a little bit," said offensive lineman Jason Whitaker. "It showed us we had great players, and we could go to different players and make plays." Said QB Chris Weinke: "It has built team unity. No question about it."
But Warrick had been the team's emotional leader. After he returned, much of the fire in him seemed to have gone out. It took time for Warrick to be comfortable again, both on the field and in the locker room.
Said Warrick: "When I am home at night I think about it. I say, 'Pete, you don't have to worry, someone else is going through something worse than you are going through.'"
"I think he went through some tough times, but he came back and was a man and said, 'Hey, I made a mistake,'" said Weinke. "I think that was the most important thing."
It took several games, but Warrick started looking like his old self down the stretch. In the season finale at Florida, he not only caught nine passes but showed some of his incredible ability after taking a snap, scoring a touchdown in the team's biggest win of the year.
"We have had a Deion Sanders who could change a game quick for you. Charlie Ward could, but none more so than Peter Warrick," said Bowden. Despite missing the two games, Warrick still accounted for 1,292 all-purpose yards.
"Without him we had to play better, but now with him back, and playing the way that Pete knows how to play, we are a team to be reckoned with," said Weinke.
In last year's national championship game at the Fiesta Bowl, the offense only got the ball to Warrick twice: one pass, one run. Bowden vows that Warrick will get his hands on the ball more often this time.
"I think he is going to have a lot to prove to the nation," said linebacker Brian Allen, "and everything that is going on around that is a motivational factor for him and I think he's going to have a great one on the 4th." Warrick's teammates have spoken. Each year Florida State waits until after the regular season before naming permanent captains. Warrick was one of three players voted a permanent captain for the 1999 season.
"I've got that chance to accomplish that dream of mine," he said. "I know everyone on the team wants to do the same thing. I came back for these guys, and they were there for me. I thank them for that. Hopefully, on January the 4th, I have something to talk about."
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