Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher has confidence that Cameron Erving can be a star on the offensive line -- this season.
Not bad for a kid that didn't play on the offensive side of the ball in high school.
The former defensive tackle burst onto the scene last season after being redshirted in 2010. He contributed with 20 tackles and a sack and has showed flashes of brilliance.
However, the D-tackle position for the Seminoles features an immense amount of talent and will only get deeper this coming year. Big-time recruits Eddie Goldman and Justin Shanks will join an interior defensive line that was a strong suit for FSU just a season ago. With a logjam at the position, a change for Erving only makes sense.
And Fisher believes the change will be a smooth one.
"You watch him, and he's just a football player," Fisher said following Thursday's spring workout. "He can bend. You watch him in our drills, our offseason drills and our agility drills, you just see that body and those long arms and the ability to bend."
That body will be a welcome addition to an offensive line that had its fair share of issues in 2011. Several injuries up front prevented a cohesive unit from developing, and the hope is that the newcomers this year will able to solve the problems. While he, Bobby Hart and junior-college transfer Daniel Glauser will likely be battling for two tackle jobs, Erving appears ready to compete with both of them despite his lack of experience at the position.
"One thing you gotta remember, tackle is easier to learn than guard because the assignments are less," said Fisher. "It's more on athleticism and ability, but he is smart. He is a very intelligent guy. I mean, some guys are smart and other guys are instinctive. He has both."
Erving's IQ is part of what convinced Fisher that this move was possible. It comes as a bit of a surprise because of the potential the 6-5, 305-pounder showed last season playing defense, but there is little doubt in Fisher's mind that this switch will result in a positive. Going against star defensive ends Bjoern Werner -- once he returns from a shoulder injury, of course -- and Brandon Jenkins every practice can only help his development.
"Brandon said the first time he rushed, those long arms stabbed him and stopped him," Fisher said. "You block those guys, you can block anybody."
Blocking rushers was a major problem for the Seminoles last season. Quarterbacks E.J. Manuel and Clint Trickett were consistently under pressure throughout the campaign, and the running game never truly got going. A major reason was the lack of continuity developed amongst the offensive linemen.
During the 2011 season, the ‘Noles saw eight O-linemen miss time due to injury. Four of those players were starters at one point during the year.
A major void needs to be filled, and it appears that Erving may be the answer.
"I always thought he could [switch]," said Fisher. "I did a year ago. He's got the chance to be a very good football player."
Matt Ritter is a football and basketball reporter for NoleDigest.com, as well as a graduate student in Media Communication Studies at Florida State.
Sky's the limit for Erving on offense
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