tampabay.com

Happy bounce reverses Reid's fortunes

By D.C. REEVES
Published October 2, 2005


TALLAHASSEE - With just one play, luck may have finally bounced - or perhaps floated - in wide receiver Willie Reid's direction Saturday.

When FSU quarterback Drew Weatherford overthrew Reid on a seam route in the first quarter, the ball fell out of Syracuse cornerback Steve Gregory's grasp as he went to the ground and popped up into the hands of Reid, who scampered the final 20 yards to complete the circus-like catch-and-run.

Though quarterback and receiver seemed to be on different pages of the playbook, the result brought mutual feelings: excitement and surprise.

"I was relieved," Weatherford said. "I didn't make a very good throw. I thought he was going to take his route a little farther up the field. I don't know what happened; it was just one of those freak things. Great teams always have to have breaks like that."

The play, 43 yards in all, served as a catalyst for Reid's impressive day. He finished with five catches for 70 yards in the Seminoles' 38-14 win over the Orange.

"I was surprised about it," Reid said. "I took a different angle based on the (cornerback's) leverage and (Weatherford) threw it to the spot I was supposed to be in normally. (Gregory) dropped the pass, I kept my eye on the ball and just scooped it right off the turf."

It was Reid's best receiving day since he had 71 yards against Virginia last season.

The unlikely catch was a far cry from Reid's normal luck. A knee injury on a punt return in the season opener against Miami added to his many setbacks. He has sat out seven games with injuries.

The Kathleen, Ga., native suited up at less than 100 percent Saturday but returned two punts 12 yards along with his receiving duties.

"He made some good catches out there that we had to have," coach Bobby Bowden said. "It was good to see him back, because he's been bugged by injuries the four years he's been here. He came back from that injury pretty good."

Fighting an injured groin throughout 2004, Reid broke Deion Sanders' school record for punt return yards in a season (503), finishing with 522.

Though Reid won't complain about his tough luck, a change for the better is welcome.

"Finally," said Reid, chuckling about his change in fortune. "I think so, but it's just been small things here and there. But nothing has really slowed me down as far as doing what I want to do."