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Tuesday, August 11, 2009
FSU's Reliford could help give Noles' tight ends new look

By staff

Posted by's Heather Dinich

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- There were two big plays that stood out to coach Bobby Bowden at Tuesday morning's practice -- a long catch by tight end Beau Reliford, and an interception by safety Jamie Robinson.

For Reliford, though, big plays are something new -- and so is how the Noles might use the tight end position this fall.

Because the fullback position is so thin this year, Bowden said they're looking at using one of two tight ends as more of an h-back this fall, but it's a decision they won't make until they start to scrimmage.

"We've got two walk-ons out there," Bowden said. "Now once we start scrimmaging, if we find out they'll hit, if they really hit, we can utilize them. Now if they don't, we're working our tight ends there. They've responded pretty good to that. They don't look bad back there."

Reliford said it's "kind of weird" lining up as an h-back, but he was also spread out wide today. He said he's much more confident this year because he spent so much time in the offseason studying the playbook.

"I feel much more comfortable than I did last year," Reliford said. "I have my confidence back now. Last year I felt like my confidence went down because I wasn't really playing and getting the job done and improving like I wanted to. Now I feel like I'm ready to play."

The 6-foot-7, 241-pound Reliford came to Florida State as a two-sport athlete (basketball and football), and was the MVP of Florida's 5A state championship game with 21 points and nine rebounds for Dillard High in Ft. Lauderdale. It wasn't until his junior year in high school that Reliford started playing football, which is why is progress was slow last season as a true freshman. He played in four games and caught the only pass of his career -- an eight-yard reception -- in his first collegiate game against Western Carolina.

"He's grown up a lot as a football player," quarterback Christian Ponder said. "He's running great routes. Last year he was basically a basketball player just being an athlete out there. Now he really understands what he's doing. He looks good. He should be making a lot of plays this year."

He already is.

"He makes plays every day," said offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher. "He's learning every day. He makes a few mistakes, but the guy makes plays. He's going to be a good -- I mean a really good football player. He's got a chance to be. He's got to get consistency, but he's got a chance to be a really good football player."