Minnis leads Seminoles' ``blue-collar'' receiving corps

Thursday, October 5th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ No one among Florida State's receivers has the flash of a Peter Warrick, the team's Heisman hopeful last year. Nevertheless, they are quietly putting up solid numbers.

``They are a little more of a blue-collar bunch,'' receivers coach Jeff Bowden said. ``They are a bunch of quiet, hardworking guys.''

The one getting the job done the best is Marvin Minnis, averaging more than 95 yards receiving for the top-ranked Seminoles (5-0), who travel to No. 7 Miami (3-1) on Saturday.

Minnis has impressed his coaches, stepping in to lead the receiving corps now that Warrick and Ron Dugans, last year's top pass catchers, are in the NFL.

Perhaps more importantly, the man throwing Minnis the ball, quarterback Chris Weinke, is impressed.

``He knew once Pete and Ron left that he was going to be the go-to guy,'' Weinke said of Minnis. ``He knew that this was his last year and it was time for him to step up.''

Minnis, called ``Snoop'' by fans and teammates, has become a crowd favorite in Tallahassee, where a deep call of ``Snooooooop'' emanates from Doak Campbell Stadium when he catches the ball.

But what he really wants is to impress the crowd in his hometown of Miami.

``This is going to be my last time playing against Miami in front of my family and friends in the Orange Bowl ... against a team I grew up loving,'' Minnis said. ``It's going to mean a lot to me.''

Playing a top 10 team in this huge intrastate rivalry would be important anyway.

``I think about us winning first,'' Minnis said. ``I have to step up for my team because it's a big game.''

But the Miami Northwestern High School grad admits there's more important motivation on the line.

``In the back of my mind, I'll be doing it for my family and friends,'' he said, ``giving them a good show.''

While Minnis leads Florida State with 27 receptions this year, the go-to guy when it's time to throw to the end zone has been junior flanker Atrews Bell.

Bell, who hasn't started a game, has six touchdown catches. Minnis has two.

``We hit different receivers, and they are catching the ball,'' Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said. ``I felt like, before the year, that they would be as productive as a group as last year's group.''

With Weinke spreading passes around, Bobby Bowden hasn't needed Warrick, who missed the Miami game last year after he was arrested in an illegal discount clothing scheme. Florida State won that game 31-21 in Tallahassee, with Warrick trying to pump up his teammates from the sideline.

The Hurricanes' receiving corps is led by Santana Moss and Reggie Wayne, who has the most catches ever at Miami _ even ahead of Michael Irvin and Lamar Thomas.

But Miami cornerback Mike Rumph knows the Seminoles will keep rotating people to keep the defense guessing.

``They have guys who are going to block you, guys who are going to go deep and guys who can go out there and get possession catches,'' Rumph said. ``You never know what you're going to get against Florida State.''

The success of the receiving corps is at least partly dependent on who's throwing the ball, and that's a question for this weekend for Florida State.

Weinke sprained his ankle in a 59-7 drubbing of Maryland last week and sat out some practices this week. Weinke, third in the nation in passing efficiency, said he hopes to play.