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Friday, February 13, 2009
FSU's Reed taking football -- and class -- more seriously in '09

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

FSU receiver Bert Reed is ready for some responsibility.

 
  Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
  Florida State wide receiver Bert Reed is concentrating harder this year -- on and off the field.
The latest news that receiver Taiwan Easterling will miss spring practices with a ruptured left Achilles leaves Reed with little choice.

It's not just about running precise routes and catching footballs, though. Asked Friday what his goal was during winter conditioning, Reed first answered: "a great GPA. At least a 3.0."

Yes, this is the same Reed who missed class last year and was suspended for it.

Reed is a polite, smart, young man who seems to have finally realized the value of getting a free education. And the repeated lectures from offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher appear to have finally sunk in. The loss of leading receivers Preston Parker and Greg Carr, coupled with the injury to Easterling and unlikely return of Corey Surrency, have forced Reed into a position of leadership, starting now.

"I really feel like school has never been a problem with me," Reed said. "I just got kind of off track with what I'm really here for, education. ... Knowing that somebody is paying for my education, and not taking advantage of that, not going to class, it made me feel personally bad. I know I'm smarter than that."

One thing Reed said he wants to make a point of this offseason is "being accountable" with the coaches and his teammates -- running the right routes, and making the right blocks. It's consistency that Reed has struggled with, both on and off the field.

"That's one of the main things with me," Reed said. "It's been that way since I got here. 'He'll do it right three times and he won't do it right one time.' That's been the thing with me -- going to class but then getting that last absence. It correlates off the field and on the field. That's what they always tell me. That's what I'm trying to work on, discipline and doing what's right every time."

It's not like Reed is the only receiver returning in 2009, but the Seminoles will definitely need more production from of the others if the Florida State is going to have a formidable passing game.

Reed pointed out Rod Owens, Richard Goodman and Jarmon Fortson as other receivers who could now see increased roles. Louis Givens could be another option.

All of them are working hard this month to improve. Reed said each receiver catches at least 100 footballs from the Jugs machine every day, and receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey has them catching a minimum of 100 rapid-fire tennis balls from a machine. ("If you look away," Reed said, "you might get nailed.") On Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, they go out voluntarily with the quarterbacks to get back into a rhythm.

Reed said he's not concerned about the fact FSU lost its top two receivers and leading rusher from last year's nine-win season.

"That's one thing about this team," Reed said. "We have the talent to do it, we've just got to pull it together."

So far, it looks like Reed is doing his part.