On The Move

<b>Willie Reid</b> doesn't mind change. In fact, he welcomed the idea of moving from tailback to wide receiver as Florida State opened spring drills Tuesday. Elsewhere, Michael Boulware is remaining at his familiar strongside linebacker position and Donnie Carter, who has moved to tight end, will probably help on the depleted defensive line. "I just have to concentrate on me getting better, learning different things about the receiver position, catching, running, stuff like that," Reid said.

Willie Reid doesn't mind change. In fact, he welcomed the idea of moving from tailback to wide receiver as Florida State opened spring drills Tuesday.

"Good. I like it," Reid said.

"It's a move, but it's football. Football is football. It'll be all right. I'm going through a learning process right now in these 14 more practices we have, just to try to perfect the route-running and everything, learning the scheme of playing receiver."

With the exception of moving to receiver for two days as a freshman, Reid has always played tailback. Despite missing the final three regular-season games with a shoulder injury, Reid saw considerable action as a redshirt freshman last year, gaining 128 yards on 26 carries. He had his best game against Virginia, gaining 51 rushing yards on nine carries and adding four receptions for 35 yards.

" I was always a tailback," Reid said. " In certain situations I moved to the slot in high school, but not that much. Playing here my freshman year - it was an OK adjustment. All in all, God has things happen for a reason. If it's my job to play receiver, I'll just try to perfect it, go along with it."

Reid's move expects to bolster the receiver position, a unit that returns veterans Craphonso Thorpe, P.K. Sam and Dominic Robinson. Thorpe returns as the leader in receptions with just 16 for 337 yards (21.1 average) and three touchdowns.

Offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden says he likes to have eight receivers in his rotation. FSU coach Bobby Bowden indicated Reid could pull double-duty at receiver and tailback.

However, Reid says it's important he feels comfortable at wide out. Known as a solid receiver out of the backfield, Reid had six receptions for 37 yards last season.

"It's more of a permanent receiver thing," Reid said.

"You can't really get in the groove at receiver and be in the running back position, off and on, in practice. Coach JB's cool. I like him a lot. He's a good player's coach. I like him a lot. From my freshman year, when I played (receiver), I knew a little bit of the stuff. You lose it from time to time, and it's just now coming back to me. I knew a little bit of stuff, but all of that - routes, and how to run 'em - I have to learn that again. It'll be all right."

Reid also hopes to stay healthy. He says he's recovered from his shoulder injury suffered against Georgia Tech. Reid suffered a broken leg during fall practice as a freshman.

"I'm 99.9 percent," Reid said.

I just need to get stronger, get a little faster, quicker. I need to work on basic mechanics, helping myself out. I can't worry about anybody else, or my position on the depth chart, anything like that. It's all about getting myself ready to play, and perfecting the receiver position."

It's a challenge Reid welcomes.

"Let the chips fall where they may," Reid said. "I just have to concentrate on me getting better, learning different things about the receiver position, catching, running, stuff like that. All that other stuff, it'll happen the way it's supposed to happen."

Elsewhere, Michael Boulware, second in tackles last season with 127, remained at his familiar strongside linebacker position. Boulware had hoped to play his senior season at safetey, a spot where he has been earmarked by professional scouts.

"I am all right with it," Boulware said. "They are going to change up a few things so I will be able to do a little bit more pass coverage. So it will be the best of both worlds. We have a lot of good players (at linebacker). As a group, we could be the best in the country."

Also, Donnie Carter has moved to tight end but will probably also help out on the depleted defensive line.

Here's a quick Q & A with defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews.

Will it be a challenge to keep your defensive unit sharp with backups playing several positions?

"Well, that shouldn't affect how the other guys play. Only thing we're going to do is with the guys that are working. We expect them to get better. Our goal is to get 2 percent better every day we practice. After 15 days, we should be 30 percent better. That's what we're shooting for. We can't help what we don't have. We just are going to ask those other kids to go in there and do the best they can. The people around them – just play hard, do your job, get better. In the fall, we'll take those injured guys. They should be rehabilitated, ready to go. We'll throw them into the mix then."

Do you think you got off to a good start today?

"We asked the kids after practice, ‘Did you get 2 percent better?' It's hard to get better in shorts at football. You don't get to block anybody, you don't get to tackle anybody. The mental part, the technique part – there's some things that you can do to get better. You can learn your assignment, your technique. Then we'll put pads on and let them compete. That'll be more like football. We had some kids get better today."

Assuming all of your injured guys come back at 100 percent, you'll have a pretty solid group on defense in 2003. Are you looking forward to the season already?

"The main thing we're concerned about right now – we're not even looking at the first game. We're looking at ourselves, trying to get better as a unit. And it's hard to do that when you've got so many guys out there. Randy (trainer Randy Oravetz) has got more of our starters than we do. It just gives us an opportunity to work with some other guys, to give them and opportunity to see if they can get in and compete at the level they've got to."


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