'I want to be Dre'
Bly wants to end college career with bang
Posted: Friday December 18, 1998 10:59 PM
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- What a fitting city for Dre' Bly to close out his college career.
The gambling, in-your-face All-American cornerback will play his final college game Saturday when North Carolina takes on San Diego State in the Las Vegas Bowl.
He'll leave behind quite a measuring stick for future North Carolina cornerbacks -- an Atlantic Coast Conference-record 20 career interceptions and a confident attitude about playing the difficult position that few have ever matched.
"I want to be Dre', I want to set my goals and my standards of playing to me, not anybody else," the junior said about his next step -- the NFL.
San Diego State coach Ted Tollner, who once coached receivers for the Buffalo Bills, said there's no question Bly is quite a talent.
"You can tell he is one of those veteran-type corners that has great confidence because he can kind of coast and kind of lull you and then bam, close and make the play. That's why he's a three-year All-American," Tollner said Thursday.
"He is a good support guy too. He'll tackle you. Sometimes you get those corners that are All-Americans and you wonder if they'll hit you but he'll hit you. I like him a lot."
While Bly improved his tackling toughness this season, he also had to work on the mental part of the game when he was criticized early in the year for giving up some big plays.
"My first year we went 10-2, but for me everything was kind of perfect," Bly said. "With me getting 11 interceptions, people overlooked the other plays I gave up. I never really had the chance to overcome adversity. I'm glad I had the chance to experience it here before I left."
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound junior said he'll graduate in May and that nothing will sway him from leaving school early for the NFL.
Still, Bly said Thursday he would like to end his collegiate career on a high note -- similar to the way he broke in as a freshman with an ACC-record 11 interceptions, plus two more in the Gator Bowl.
"I feel like this being my last time wearing a Carolina uniform, I would like to do something spectacular," said Bly, one of only four Tar Heels to be named a first-team all-ACC performer for three seasons. "I would love to finish my last game making a play, an interception or a touchdown."
Bly will end his college career as the most decorated player in North Carolina history and one of the most distinguished players in ACC history. The cornerback was a two-time first-team Associated Press All-American and was named to the second team this season.
"It's hard to do much better in three years of football," said North Carolina coach Carl Torbush. "He has to go down as the greatest defensive back in Carolina history. I don't even think that's open for discussion with all the interceptions he's had."
Bly will likely be paired this weekend against 5-7, 160-pound wide receiver Damon Gourdine, who said he respects Bly but won't be baited into a war of words on the field.
"I can tell he's into yapping, I've been watching a lot of tape on him," said Gourdine, who caught 14 passes in a win against Utah. "I am not going to give him any reason to talk to me. If he wants to talk to me, he's just going to get the back of my helmet. I'm not going to pay him any attention."
Bly said he'll miss college but won't shed any tears following Saturday's sendoff game.
"When you get to a certain point you need to move on," Bly said after practice Thursday. "I am graduating and I accomplished a lot in school, but I need to experience a new world."
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