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Like most 18 years old kids, the prospect of sitting out an entire season was not an appealing one to Florida State defensive tackle Cameron Erving.
After sustaining a back injury early in the year, Erving was forced to take a medical redshirt for the rest of the 2010 season.
On Saturday Erving was finally freed from his redshirt and allowed to return to the field as FSU opened up the season against ULM with a 34-0 win. The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Moultrie, Ga. native registered his first career sack, along with a solo tackle in the game.
"It was unreal. The atmosphere was amazing," he said of the opener. "I just love being out there. I was like a kid in the candy store and I haven't been to the candy store in a year."
On Tuesday Ervining admitted that sitting out for the whole year was a tough decision, but proved to be a beneficial one.
"It was hard, but I took it in stride and listened to the coaches and the players older than me. They told me to just take it as a learning experience and just get better at the things I'm not good right now," he said. "It helped in the long run and I'm happy I got. It was a long year, but it was a great year to get better."
Out of High school, Erving was a three-star prospect for Colquitt County and his only offers other than FSU were Georgia Southern and Clemson.
When he arrived as freshman, fellow defensive tackle Everett Dakwins said he may not have been the most talented guy, but he knew he would succeed because of his drive and determination.
"He wasn't any more talented than anybody else out there, but he always had the work ethic and the drive to get better," Dawkins said of Erving. "He still does, Coach Odell (Haggins) stays on him hard and it's made him into a better player. As you can see on the field he's making plays, you can kind of tell."
Head coach Jimbo Fisher agrees that Erving is beginning to come around and make great strides on the field.
"If he keeps progressing he's got a chance to be a really good player," Fisher said after Wednesday's practice. "Big, strong, athletic, smart guy, really taken advantage of his opportunities and done well. I think he can be a great player."
Harris not surprised by starting nod
When Fisher released his depth chart for ULM last week, perhaps the biggest surprise was that Mike Harris was listed as the starting boundary corner over Xavier Rhodes.
All along defensive coordinator Mark Stoops and Fisher had said they viewed Harris and Rhodes, along with Greg Reid as starters for the defense. Because of that mentality Harris said he wasn't shocked to see his name in the starting lineup.
"Stoops said coming in that all three of us are starters, and most of the time there is only going to be two on the field so which ever two that it is, it doesn't hurt the defense at all," Harris said. "So I wasn't surprised."
This week because of a suspension for Reid for violating team rules, Harris will slide over to the field corner position to start alongside Rhodes.
Starting safety Lamarcus Joyner said he doesn't think the defense will miss a beat with Harris paired with Rhodes instead of Reid.
"We have three cornerbacks that can start anywhere else in the nation and Coach Stoops and Coach Fisher have a nice little rotation with those guys," he said before Wednesday's practice. "This camp we got to build chemistry with all three of those guys. With Greg missing, Mike Harris is going to step up and we're going to still play together as a defense."
Haulstead returns to practice
After missing the season opener due to a concussion sustained in the preseason, receive Willie Haulstead has returned to the practice fields this week.
"Good. He's practiced so far, they haven't said anything," Fisher said of Haulstead. "He took his reps and is doing fine. We'll wait and see. Have to have to doctors evaluate him after a week of practice, but he's done fine.
Certainly FSU shouldn't need Haulstead to beat Charleston Southern on Saturday, but fellow receiver Rodeny Smith said it is important to get him on the field getting reps at game-speed.
"Willie is a big-time player so it's very important to get him back into the offense and get his rhythm back right."
With Greg Reid suspended, Fisher said that freshman wideout Rashad Greene will return punts.
Avis Commack will be the No.3 cornerback for FSU on Saturday.
Offensive lineman Henry Orelus continues to be unable to practice due to complications stemming from a preseason camp concussion. Linebacker Holmes Onwukaife is also still unable to practice with a shoulder injury.
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