Name & Number Worth Remembering

does well, it appears. So much so that Parcells said Wednesday he just hopes Beriault doesn't "blow himself up." There are worse problems for a sixth-round draft choice from a smallish football school to have. 

To picture Beriault, imagine former Cowboys free safety Michael Downs. Tall and rangy, except this kid has the longest legs you'll see this side of the Rockettes. And he appears to hit harder than Downs, if not quite calling Cliff Harris or Woodson to mind. 

So far, the youngster does not appear overwhelmed by the challenge of stepping up from the Mid-America Conference to the NFL. 

"I got through the minicamps, where there were no pads or no hitting, so I guess I was a little excited," he says. "So far, the guys are much bigger and much faster. It's a little tough to hit some of these fast guys as hard as you want. But I think I've adapted to it. I think I definitely can play at this level." 

No one in a position to determine his future seems to disagree. 

And in case you're wondering, Beriault is also cognizant of the lineage of the number he's wearing, even though perennial fan favorite Bill Bates finished his NFL career four years before Beriault started at Ball State. 

"I remember him," says the eager neophyte with a face that reminds you of Opie from Mayberry. "He's a hard person to forget. I'm sure he's a legend in Dallas and I'm privileged to get to wear his number. I just don't want to let him down." 

So far, youngster, Billy Bates would be proud. 

One small step for Ball State, one giant step to come, perhaps, for Justin Beriault.                 

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