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Bell still waiting in wings

By BRIAN LANDMAN

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 12, 2001


TALLAHASSEE -- You have to forgive Florida State senior receiver Atrews Bell for feeling a bit like the forgotten man.

The Seminoles' most proven threat and most experienced target in an injury-riddled corps has had three balls thrown to him in each of the team's first two games. He has two catches for 24 yards, one drop and has broken up a potential interception.

The bell is not tolling for Bell.

"It kind of felt like my sophomore year again," he said. "You know you can make plays, it's just will you get an opportunity to make them? It's been a big surprise to me."

And frustrating, especially since he expected to assume an even larger role once senior Robert Morgan and junior Anquan Boldin suffered season-ending knee injuries.

"I've never been a guy who, when things haven't gone my way, runs up to the coaches' office and screams, "Why's this not going on? Why that's not going on?' " he said. "I just believe in going out there proving I can do it. ... Maybe we're just holding back till Georgia Tech."

That's not the case, offensive coordinator and receivers coach Jeff Bowden said. Part of the problem has been FSU's commitment to run the ball more. Part has been happenstance; Bell has been on the sideline when pass plays to the flanker have been called.

"I don't blame him, heck no; I understand it," Bowden said. "That's why I told him I may have to think about moving him to another (receiver) position. We need to get him the ball. He catches, he runs good routes, he's dependable."

"He's got to play a bigger role and we've got to let him play a bigger role," echoed coach Bobby Bowden. "The tougher your competition gets, the more it's likely to happen."

ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: Sophomore kicker Brett Cimorelli, the former Zephyrhills High star, is the odd-man out with the emergence of freshman Xavier Beitia and sophomore Jesse Stein. Beitia, from Tampa Jesuit, is handling the field goals and extra points, and Stein, from Shorecrest Preparatory, is doing a solid job on kickoffs.

"It's tough because I'm a competitor and I love to be out there," he said, "but at the same time, I want what's best for the team and right now, Xavier is doing a real good job."

Cimorelli, who hit 23 of 24 extra points and 6 of 9 field goals once he won a three-way battle for the job last season, said he would review his situation at the end of the year but can't see walking away without his degree. The Anaheim Angels are paying his way.

GAME TIME CHANGE: The kickoff for FSU's football game at North Carolina on Sept. 22 has been moved from 3:30 p.m. to noon. It's still set to be broadcast on ABC.

APPEAL IS IN: FSU officials sent a letter to the NCAA last week, pleading their case for men's basketball recruit freshman forward Anthony Richardson to play immediately. The prep All-American enrolled as a partial qualifier, which would mean he'd have to sit a season. But school officials say he has a learning disability that could result in a NCAA waiver a la Orien Greene at Florida last year. Compliance director Bob Minnix said he could hear back by the end of the month.

A TOUGH REMINDER: The next time Minnix preaches to the coaches and student athletes about the dangers of gambling, Florida's Teddy Dupay will be a close-to-home example. UF just dismissed its star guard for alleged gambling violations. "Here's reality right here," Minnix said.

- Brian Landman covers Florida State athletics. He can be reached by e-mail at

landman@sptimes.com or at (813) 226-3347.

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