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Take-charge attitude serving Suber well

Sometimes, what a quarterback cannot do is just as critical as what he can.

He cannot give up the ball. He cannot leave his progressions, stop making his reads, and take off with the ball. He cannot risk hurting his team, even if he's just trying to help it. He cannot go out there and try to make something happen.

Unless that quarterback plays for Bethune-Cookman coach Alvin Wyatt.

Because that quarterback has the green light to make something happen. That quarterback is expected to go after the opposing defense, to dictate to it, rather than merely take what is given. That quarterback doesn't just take control of the offense, he's expected to run wild with it.

"We want our quarterback to play with reckless abandon," Wyatt said. "We want our quarterback to attack the opposing defense."

That quarterback is former Tampa Catholic standout Allen Suber. In Saturday's 22nd annual Florida Classic against Florida A&M at Orlando's Citrus Bowl, Suber, a sophomore, again will have to walk the line between being a careless quarterback and an aggressive one.

"In this offense, running the option, you've got to get downfield as quick as possible," Suber said. "This offense is no good if you let a defense string it out. Coach wants me to attack the line of scrimmage, to make the defense commit."

The 5-foot-10, 178-pound Suber practically is the "Wyattbone" offense, completing 97 of 200 passes for 1,520 yards, throwing 14 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also has rushed for 574 yards, bringing his total yardage for the season to 2,094.

Suber has led the Wildcats to the upper echelon of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference offensive rankings. The team is No. 2 in total offense (averaging 397.4 yards), in scoring (averaging 31.3 points) and in rushing offense (222.8(.

"He means everything, and I mean everything, to us," Wyatt said. "What Magic Johnson meant to the Lakers, what Michael Jordan meant to the Bulls, he means to us.

"Everything that has been said about him is true. They say he's a great passer, they say he has shown great leadership. He has the type of knowledge to be able to figure out what people are doing defensively and to make the adjustments."

But then, B-CC is used to calling on talented, smart and prolific quarterbacks. Pa'tell Troutman was the latest, finishing his career last season as the school's all-time leading rusher with 2,841 yards.

Running the ball was Troutman's specialty. Passing the ball is Suber's. He demonstrated that last season, going 32-of-69 for 545 yards and five touchdowns in relief duty.

But he still gave B-CC the running dimension, rushing for 238 yard and four touchdowns to lead B-CC in wins against Hampton and Howard.

"No, I'm not surprised at all (by his success)," said his mother, April. "He's always been competitive, always pushed himself hard, so that's why it's no surprise. He's always loved the sport."

But it took time to make the adjustment. Not simply from the prep level to college, but rather to Wyatt's idea of how a quarterback should play.

"When he first came back in August, I thought he was trying to feel his way around the offense, rather than going out and attacking the defense," Wyatt said. "He was making sure he did everything right."

But Suber was soon playing with the attitude Wyatt requires, learning that defenses could counter the "Wyattbone" if he played tentatively and allowed them to dictate his actions on the field.

"That was one of the hardest things for us to figure out, and now he's doing it with that all-out reckless abandon we wanted," Wyatt said. "He's not afraid to stick it in there now."

To Suber, the adjustment is as much mental as physical. His growing knowledge and familiarity allows him to make the kind of big plays his coach demands.

"I'm more prepared now," he said. "I'm not going into a game confused or not quite understanding what type of defense they're playing or what to expect from them. I think I've grown mentally."

"He's just being Allen," Wyatt said. "He's just doing the things we ask him to do, and he's doing a great job doing those things."

To Suber, his job will not be complete until the Wildcats win the MEAC championship, and B-CC has that chance Saturday. But the Wildcats would have to end a six-year losing streak to the archrival Rattlers first.

All the school records in the world can't compare to that.

"I don't care about the stats, I would rather have more wins than just be 6-3," he said. "We could easily be 9-0 right now. We lost three games by a total of eight points, and we want to win this weekend to put a cap on an up-and-down season."


THURSDAY: 6 p.m. _ Presidents' Scholarship Gala & Auction, Disney's Contemporary Resort's Fantasia Ballroom.

FRIDAY: 6 a.m. _ Tom Joyner Radio Sky Show, Milkhouse Complex at Disney's Wide World of Sports; 11 a.m. _ Florida Classic Golf Challenge, Diamond's Player's Club, Clermont; Noon _ Coaches Luncheon, Johnny Rivers Smokehouse; 7 p.m. _ Battle of the Bands Festival of Champions, TD Waterhouse Centre; 7:30 p.m. _ Fifth annual Florida Classic Step Show, Citrus Bowl.

SATURDAY: 10 a.m. _ Fan Fair, Citrus Bowl; Noon _ Corporate Village, Citrus Bowl; 4 p.m. _ Florida Classic XXII: Bethune-Cookman vs. Florida A&M, Citrus Bowl.