FAU DB report
FAU DB report
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Small, Bethel turn the corner in Owls' defensive backfield
By Ted Hutton
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted August 13 2006
BOCA RATON ? They redshirted, played on special teams and now will get their chance to start.
For one it could be the first of three years as starter, for the other it will be his final season of college football.
Meet Florida Atlantic's new cornerbacks, sophomore Corey Small and senior Rickey Bethel.
"I am real excited and am looking forward to it," Bethel said Saturday after the second of the three Owls practices.
"It's my turn now, I guess," Small said.
While Bethel (5 feet 10, 180 pounds) has been No. 1 on the depth chart since spring, Small moved into the starting spot when preseason camp opened Monday and coach Howard Schnellenberger announced that Quincy Skinner had been suspended for the season.
"It was a hard loss. He was a great athlete and real good person," Bethel said of Skinner, a senior who had the most experience of all the defensive backs.
Bethel, who is from Boynton Beach and played at Santaluces, redshirted last season because veterans Willie Hughley and Lawrence Gordon were entrenched at the corners, and defensive backs coach Kirk Hoza knew he would need someone like Bethel to provide leadership this season.
"His presence is invaluable because we have a lot of young kids. He has brought a maturity to that huddle, and they can look at him and see a guy act like a grown man," Hoza said. Bethel played two years at a junior college before transferring to FAU in 2004.
Small (5-10, 170), who is from Naples, was redshirted his freshman season and played on special teams last year.
"I am nothing but pleased with Corey. I expect a great season out of him," Hoza said.