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    Shelton talks about return

    Eric Shelton returned to contact drills earlier this week and talks about his return for the GMAC Bowl against Miami (OH) next week.<p> <b>EXTRA</b><br><li><a href="http://louisville.theinsiders.com/2/211281.html"><B>Garcia's brother killed last night</b></a><li><a href="http://louisville.theinsiders.com/2/211388.html"><B>U of L athletes talk about Garcia's loss</b></a>

    Eric Shelton spoke with the media for the first time today since injuring his neck against TCU in Fort Worth earlier this season.

    Shelton, who returned to full contact practice earlier this week, says he's glad to be back on the field and is ready to help his teammates.

    "I feel good," Shelton said. "I'm ready to get back on the playing field and help out the University of Louisville running game and offense."

    Having been out for over a month, Shelton is trying to re-adjust to the speed of the game.

    "The toughest part was just catching up with the speed of the game," Shelton said. "When I came back I didn't really forget too many of the plays although there were a few inserted new plays."

    The third-team all C-USA selection said he doesn't ecpect any apprehension during the game against Miami (OH) next Thursday because he's getting those jitters out on the practice field.

    "No, [I'm not apprehensive] because I've got hit in practice already," Shelton explained.

    Can Shelton immediately return to the form he displayed prior to the injury?

    "It would be a bold statement to say yes," Shelton said. "I just want to go out and just try to perform the way I know I can. Hopefully positive things will come out of that."

    "I don't know if I'm going to be able to pick up where I left off," Shelton continued. "Hopefully I will but if I don't most people probably expect that. I set high expectations for myself and hopefully I can average four or five yards per carry."

    Some might consider giving up the sport following such an injury. Shelton's not one of those folks, though.

    "No, I never considered it," Shelton said. "Emotionally it hurt me a lot because I would have liked to be out there to help out the running backs. I'm real anxious and looking forward to the bowl game."

    The U of L rushing attack has been effective in Shelton's absence and put up huge numbers in the two games to end the season against Houston and Cincinnati.

    "That just lets you know how good the running backs are at U of L," Shelton explained. "With me back I think we can rush for 500 or 600 yards, you know what I'm saying [laughing]."

    Coach Petrino says Shelton has been a little rusty since returning to the practice field but thinks he's show improvement over the course of the week.

    "The first day out he was a little bit rusty," Petrino said. "He didn't get the cuts the way you would like him to but one thing about Eric is he's real hard on himself. I think he felt a lot better after yesterday's practice."


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