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Volume 70, Issue 7, Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Bell heard around UH world

By Clint Cubillos
The Daily Cougar

Among the players receiving attention from national award watch lists, the Cougars have one of nation's best place kickers. Dustin Bell is a local talent who was heavily recruited out of Jersey Village High School. The transition to football was a relatively easy one for the 6-2, 235-pound Bell, who has played soccer most of his life. 

Bell was blessed with extremely strong legs and provides leadership to younger players on special teams. One of his short-term goals is to help improve the special teams so that when he graduates the team is not worse off without him. Bell is determined to strive for perfection in whatever he attempts.

"One of my short-term goals is to do my part to help us return to a bowl game," Bell said.

Daily Cougar File Photo

Dustin Bell will enter his final season as a Cougar as one of the best place-kickers in UH history and has the potential to become the third place-kicker in Cougar history to pass the 200 point mark.

Going into the 2004 season, Bell, who wears No. 7, has converted 66 consecutive extra points and only missed three of 91 attempts. He is currently the school's all-time leader in field goal percentage at .788 (26-33), and in the 2003 Hawaii Bowl he connected on all six PATs and had a couple of field goals. 

His 49-yard field goal against Southern Mississippi was a personal best and a tie for ninth longest in school history. Bell feels confident he can connect with a 50-plus yard field goal if he is needed in a clutch situation. 

"My dad always said if you make one (field goal), act like you meant to do it and if you miss one, show everybody that you're still in control of your emotions ... and go out there and make the next one," Bell said when asked for some inspirational advice. 

He says this year's Cougar offense is "unstoppable." He feels that this year's defense possesses more experience and determination in stopping opposing offenses. 

Bell has been placed on the 2004 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award Preseason Watch List. This award is the equivalent to the Heismann for place kickers. This is Bell's third time on the national watch list. Other accolades include being twice named as Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week, and Bell is currently fifth in UH history for points accumulated with 166.

He feels honored to be in the media spotlight but vows not to get distracted. He is more concerned with constantly perfecting his game and doing what head coach Art Briles instructs him to do. 

"Briles brings excitement to the team," Bell said. "I wish I could've played for Coach Briles all four seasons. He's a great coach and treats his players with respect ... Coach Briles' number one rule is to be a man." 

Bell's long-term goals are to stay healthy and go pro, but says he'll worry about that come January. Right now, he is focused on staying perfect in PATs and working towards perfection in field goals.

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