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Published: Tuesday, 10/23/2012

UT No. 1 jersey is not a gift

Rockets’ Reedy driven not to play in the shadow of anyone

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

After collecting special teams player of the week honors two weeks in a row, UT’s Bernard Reedy was asked if he was up for going for the MAC west division honor a third time.

"Sure, why not?" Reedy responded. "I think I can do it."

Mid-American Conference officials agreed: On Monday he was extended the honor a third week in a row, citing his play Saturday in the Rocket’s 29-23 win over the Cincinnati Bearcats. A 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown lifted UT to a lead it did not relinquish.

He said Monday that he was kidding about his earlier boast of going for three-in-a-row honors.

Joking or not, the junior receiver and return specialist is building confidence in some who wondered if he could replicate last season’s productivity by Eric Page.

Starting in the spring Reedy made no bones about his desire to achieve stardom, which is why he approached coach Matt Campbell and requested to wear jersey No. 1. Such a distinction is not awarded lightly. At Mount Union, where Campbell was a standout defensive end, only the best attained the distinction.

"I told Bernard we’ll see what you do through fall camp and at the end of fall camp if I feel you deserve to wear that jersey, then I’ll let you wear it," Campbell said.

A weight room warrior who arrives to practice with a purpose, Reedy got his wish. He swapped his No. 11 jersey for No. 1.

He wears it well, having scored special teams touchdowns in each of the last three weeks, including a game-changing 91-yard stroll in the third quarter against previously unbeaten Cincinnati.

Two weeks ago he bounced back from three fumbles to torch Central Michigan with a 66-yard punt return and followed a week later by zooming past the Eastern Michigan kickoff unit for 89 yards.

To put Reedy’s feat into context, his predecessor, the shifty Page, scored two touchdowns on returns last year.

"We thought Bernard was going to be really special some day when he had the opportunity to do it," Campbell said.

His first three years of high school in St. Petersburg, Fla., Reedy wore No. 6, not the look he preferred but an honor nonetheless at Lakewood High to don a jersey with a single digit. Then, just as he did at Toledo, Reedy approached his coach requesting No. 1. The response was similar to Campbell’s: Work hard and I’ll think about it..

"My thing is, I want No. 1 because I feel as though I want to do everything right when my number is called," he said.

FARR BACK: After playing without three starting senior defensive linemen in the last three games, one is expected to return this week. Danny Farr, who suffered a knee injury in the second week of the season against Wyoming, has practiced for the last 10 days and is on course to play Saturday at Buffalo. The senior has three tackles for loss. The other injured linemen, ends T.J. Fatinikun and Christian Smith, are out for the season.

Contact Ryan Autullo at:

rautullo@theblade.com,

419-724-6160 or on

Twitter @AutulloBlade.



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