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Friday, September 12, 2008
FSU's mix of receivers could be 'money'

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

The Florida State wide receivers call them "money catches," the tough passes that seem impossible to grab. The kind receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey earned a reputation and an NFL salary for making.

"Coach Dawsey sets high standards for us," said redshirt freshman Bert Reed. "Sometimes balls that we think are not catchable he expects us to make. We call them money catches because they'll get you a lot of money."

Not to mention win you some games.

Reed was one of seven receivers who made a catch last weekend against Western Carolina and one of four who caught his first touchdown pass. It's a sign that this year's receiving corps is deeper and more competitive with each other than it was a year ago. And that's without star playmaker Preston Parker, who was suspended for the first two games.

"It's really crazy," said Reed, who caught three passes for a team-high 77 yards in last week's romp of Western Carolina. "We have so many playmakers on the field at one time. Anybody can get the ball at anytime. We preach downfield blocking because one block could spring us for a touchdown, no matter where we are on the field with our speed and our size. It's just crazy the potential we have out there at one time on the field."

Reed had two catches for 55 yards on the Seminoles' second scoring drive last Saturday, including a 41-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Christian Ponder. He wasn't the only one who had a good day. Junior wide receiver Rod Owens caught a career-high tying four passes for a career-high 61 yards. Owens and Greg Carr are the veterans. Reed, redshirt freshmen Taiwan Easterling and Cameron Wade, junior college transfer Corey Surrency, and true freshman Jarmon Fortson are newcomers.

Reed and Easterling, a tough player who is one of the better blockers, have been filling in for Parker, the Seminoles' most versatile athlete. Parker led FSU with 1,513 all-purpose yards last season, and also had the most catches (62), was second on the team in receiving yards (791), second on the team in rushing attempts (52) and rushing yards (270), and was the top punt returner.

"It's been a blessing in disguise, but I can tell you it's been real hard on Preston," said Reed, Parker's roommate. "It's showing what our other receivers have and what we can do. I know he loves it because it's going to make his job easier when he comes back."

Which will be just in time for a critical Atlantic Division game against Wake Forest.

"Right now he's giving our defense the best look it can get," Reed said. "He's playing every play like it's for real over there on the scout team, which is making them better."

Dawsey said the fact that they're in their second season of Jimbo Fisher's offense has helped, and the depth and friendly competition between the players has been a "pleasant surprise."

"When I played back in the 80s here that's how it was when I was here," Dawsey said. "We've been trying to instill 'as one does we all do.' We try to do everything together and keep it as a family. It's paying off because you're definitely seeing on the field how they're pushing each other. They're taking charge. They want to be the best unit in the country this year."