As he trudged up the hill to the Seminole practice fields, sporting the offense's garnet workout jersey, Cameron Erving[/h2] says he felt every bit out of place.
Looking back on his first day of spring camp, the day he officially became an offensive lineman, Erving could hardly escape one adjective.
"It was weird," Erving said, staring off in the distance. "Honestly, it was weird."
Whatever emotions the redshirt sophomore felt on that walk, they were quickly concealed as he played. Given the Seminoles' vaunted defensive front, he didn't have much choice but to get right to work.
Within hours, Erving lined up opposite all-conference talent [db]Brandon Jenkins for what figured to be a hard lesson in pass protection.
Instead, he taught the coaches how quickly he can adapt.
So began the legend of Cam Erving, the overnight left tackle. Seemingly after each spring practice, coach Jimbo Fisher would beam as he updated the media on Erving's immediate value to the first team. Amidst skepticism and inquires to the defensive linemen, the accounts remained similar: Erving, they would say, is a quick study.
Partial credit for the switch goes to Fisher, who approached Erving on two separate occasions about a flip to offense. Although Erving felt he had "something to prove" on defense prior to the 2011 season, he decided Fisher's second request deserved more attention.
"I thought to myself and I said 'the opportunity doesn't present itself twice for no reason,'" Erving said. "So everything happens for a reason, and I feel like this is something I needed to do. And at the end of the day, I feel like it's a great move."
Now just weeks away from the season opener, without playing a down of meaningful collegiate ball at the position, Erving is considered a fixture at left tackle. That type of praise pleases the 6-foot-6, 309-pound native of Moultrie, Ga., but only to a point.
"I like hearing it," Erving conceded. "But at the same time you have to tune it out when it's time for football because, if you don't, you'll get above yourself and you won't be able to humble yourself."
Erving is not afraid to talk about his shortcomings either. Among the facets of his game that still need improvement, he listed run blocking at the top, saying his spring effort "wasn't what I wanted."
Although the lead-up to his first season on offense has been an interesting story, Erving's tale won't be complete until a fall of validation on the field. Asked if there was any part of him that misses chasing quarterbacks instead of protecting them, Erving offered a convincing "no."
"I feel like an offensive lineman," he said. "I'm an offensive lineman now."
Not weird in the slightest.
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