Making the Grade

Senior Antoine Mirambeau is one of the Seminoles' feel-good stories, a player who has overcome injuries, position changes and academic hardships to become a key member on the offensive line. Like many of his teammates, Mirambeau has been impressed by the team's summer workouts. He also chats daily with his parents in Miami. "They call me or I call them. We joke that we don't leave each other alone. I guess it has something to do with being a Caribbean family -- we are real close," he smiled.

It has been a daily ritual since Antoine Mirambeau arrived in Tallahassee from Miami Beach High School in 1998. When Mirambeau's telephone rings, it's a good bet his parents are on the other end of the line. And, there's no need to rush the conversation either.

"I talk to either my mom or dad every day," Mirambeau said and smiled.

"They call me or I call them -- we joke that we don't leave each other alone. I guess it has something to do with being a Caribbean family -- we are real close. We talk about everything. I have 12 brothers and sisters total. I am the youngest, the only one left who isn't married. I do everything for my parents because they have gone through so much for me."

Mirambeau is one of the Seminoles' feel-good stories, a senior who has survived injuries, position changes and academic hardships to become a key member on FSU's offensive line.

Mirambeau, who started every game at center for the Seminoles last season, is one of five returning starters on the line. His season grade of 88 percent was second to All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team selection Brett Williams (91 percent) and was also tied for second in the most games with a grade of 90 percent or higher (four).

Speaking of grades, Mirambeau also had to make them in the classroom to earn a fifth year of eligibility after arriving at FSU as a partial qualifier. That accomplished, Mirambeau expects to graduate in December with a degree in psychology.

"Man, I've come a long way," Mirambeau said. "I am taking two classes this first summer session and then another class the second session. I had to finish 75 percent of my degree during the spring semester to get my fifth year back. I am on track to graduate in December -- my family is really happy and proud."

Like his teammates, Mirambeau is expecting big things from the Seminoles this season. He has been a regular during summer workouts despite being slowed by lower back pains. Mirambeau believes he needs to become more disciplined in his eating habits.

"If I don't eat before I go work out, for some reason my back always gives out on me," said Mirambeau, who was headed to the training room for a quick round treatment and stretching. "I think it's my eating habits, but they (trainers) tell me it's a Haitian thing (laughing). But I am feeling good, getting stronger."

Mirambeau's versatility has been one key to his success. He's considered an outstanding athlete who was moved to the defensive front before switching back to the offensive line during his sophomore season. He also has battled back from injury, including reconstructive knee surgery as a senior in high school.

Mirambeau stepped in nicely last season and immediately filled the shoes of 2000 All-ACC performer Jarad Moon at center. Mirambeau ranked third last season among offensive lineman with 37 intimidations (pancakes). He also registered 10 key blocks, allowed just one sack and did not allow a single pressure.

Of course, Mirambeau quickly says there's plenty of room for improvement.

"I look at the film of games we lost -- I don't pay any attention to the games we won," Mirambeau said. "I am looking to correct mistakes from those games we lost. I see myself (on video) making those mistakes and it's like, 'Oh, man.' It's incredible. There's no way I should be doing that (mistakes). They key is to learn from those mistakes. I know I've learned a lot."

Mirambeau also believes the Seminoles have learned from their miscues last season. He also says FSU is stronger because of the hardships it endured. Players have been encouraged by the determination and enthusiasm displayed in summer workouts. In fact, earlier this week Mirambeau was on the bench-press when he heard a teammate screaming encouragement.

"I look up and it's Malcom, getting on me because he didn't think I was working hard enough," Mirambeau said and smiled.

"I mean, that's great. Everybody has been pretty intense. Everyone is looking forward to the season. I know I am. We realize we can go all the way. Last year was kind of a learning experience for us. It was an experience year for a bunch of inexperienced guys. This year we have those big games under our belts. We lost some of those big games, too, but we also learned from them."

And, in case Mirambeau needs any added encouragement, it's only a daily telephone call away from his family in Miami.

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