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Chris Reed

November 14, 2002

Barry Faulkner

If success and failure were dictated by the tale of the tape,

Costa Mesa High inside linebacker Chris Reed would struggle to get

off the competitive canvas. But it's the tale of the videotape each

week that helps the 5-foot-8, 205-pound catalyst continually defeat

larger, quicker and stronger opposing offensive linemen and

repeatedly find his way to the ball.

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"I'm not exactly the fastest guy on the field or the tallest, so

studying videotape helps me feel more equal," said Reed, who has few

equals when it comes to making plays for the Mustang defense.

"He knows the game plan as well as any of the coaches," said Costa

Mesa Coach Dave Perkins, who admires Reed's devotion to studying not

only his individual opponent, but the entire opposing offense.

"He's really into film and he prepares so well," Perkins said. "He

knows the guy he's going to play against and he really has a good

feel for what the other team is trying to do. He's not the biggest,

but he's a very, very smart football player. What he lacks in size

and quickness, he makes up for with preparation and knowledge."

Reed said he typically watches one of the upcoming opponent's

games each day during his 35-minute lunch period, on video monitors

in the team room or coaches office. He eats his lunch, most often a

turkey sandwich and a sports drink, frequently alone, entrenched in

the images of the trenches, where he can usually find a handful of

clues to help him earn some advantage.

"I've always been interested in the strategic aspects of the game

and I try to pay a lot of attention to detail," Reed said. "I look

for tendencies and I watch the linemen to see how they react on a

given play. Sometimes, you can see a lineman leaning back in his

stance (cheating to retreat in pass protection, or pull), or putting

a lot of weight forward (typically indicating a running play). You

can even see them pointing one way or another with their feet."

Reed encourages his teammates to also watch videotape on opponents

and frequently interjects instructive insights to his fellow

defenders during practice.

Perkins credited Reed's football IQ with helping establish some

early momentum in the Mustangs' 36-7 victory over Santa Ana Friday to

clinch at least a share of the Golden West League championship.

"He has set the tone for us with big hits the last two games,"

Perkins said. "Santa Ana shifted into an unbalanced line with

everyone on one side of the center on the second play. Chris

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