Thursday, September 9, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 13

Cougar Comics Online
Cougar Football

Ruggiano joins swim team

C-USA Football Notebook

About the Cougar

Defensive tackle Belli brings fear to Cougars' opposing quarterbacks

By Justin Taillon
Daily Cougar Staff 

Adriano Belli, a defensive tackle, is a returning starter for the UH football team this season. This 6-5, 278-pound senior is almost impossible to miss on campus and even harder to miss on the field.

Last season, he finished the year with 53 tackles, enough to put him near the top of the team. He is good at making tackles, but that's not what got people's attention last season.

Adriano Belli (90), wearing 83, who had an impressive game against Rice last week, will flaunt his 6-5, 278-pound frame against opposing quaterbacks for one more season as a Cougar.

Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar

His ability to reach the quarterback is what really grabbed them in 1998. He was ranked ninth in Conference USA for sacks and recorded an impressive seven quarterback hurries.

This season, Belli is expected to step up and be a leader both on and off the field. He is one of six seniors starting on defense and is starting for the second straight season.

When asked how he felt about his role this season, Belli said, "As long as I keep getting to the quarterback, that's my role and that's how I'll lead the team."

Belli's confidence seems high for UH this season. This is expected from a senior who has played in every game for the past two seasons. But something has changed dramatically for Adriano this season.

Last year he played defensive end. This season he is moving inside to right tackle. This means he is expected to make many more plays, but he shows no real concern.

"I like the inside more. You get challenged more and see double teams," Belli said.

Another reason he shows little concern over his move is because the UH defense was ranked second in their division last year. After only allowing three points in their first game this season -- a 52-yard field goal -- they are off to a running start.

Belli's future looks bright as his college career comes to an end. There is a good chance he will be drafted by the NFL this season, or maybe even by the Canadian Football League (CFL).

"I love the CFL. More passing. I would love to play in the CFL. I just want to play where the best are."

This spring, Belli will be graduating with a degree in marketing. For now, he is thinking about this year's football season, especially the Cougars' next game, Sept. 11, against Alabama.

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