September 6, 2012

After a season lost to injuries, Haggins ready to contribute

Last season was a wash for Florida State receiver Jared Haggins. After recording four catches against Oklahoma, Haggins suffered a broken hand late in the game that cost him the next three games.

In his first game back from the broken hand, Haggins suffered a separated shoulder trying to field an onside kick. Haggins played in just for of the final seven games of the season was not a factor in the offense.

Haggins had just one career catch entering the 2011 season, but after a terrific spring and preseason camp he was slated to be big part of the Seminoles' offense. The Lakeland native recorded all 11 receptions in the fist three games.

Now back to full strength Haggins is looking for another fast start in 2012. After recording three catches for 34 yards in a 69-3 win over Murray State, he hopes to keep things rolling on Saturday at 6 p.m. against Savannah State (ESPN3).

"That was really exciting for me to get back out there," Haggins said. "I still feel like I've got something to prove since I was out most of last year. Just to get back out there and be able to get that first catch and get back in the groove of things, it really excites me."

Despite being fully healthy Haggins is spending more time in the training room than ever this fall. The 6-foot-1, 187-pound wideout said he's just trying to ensure that nicks and knacks stay that way, and don't become too nagging for him.

"I'm in the training room a lot more," Haggins said. "Just trying to keep my body healthy so I can stay healthy and play because I still feel like last season kind of got away from me with injuries so I'm trying to prevent that."

On Saturday and all preseason long, Haggins said he could immediately tell a difference on the field versus the end of last season.

"Being healthy it really puts a spin on things, because when you're healthy it allows you to play faster," he said. "When you have nicks and knacks and you're constantly missing time and then when you're missing time that's just you getting pushed back. You've got to keep your body healthy, because when you're not healthy you just kind of drift. Not as far as just with yourself, it's with the quarterbacks, your timing and everything. Youv'e got to get back into the groove of things and that takes time and you don't really want to miss that."

Quarterback EJ Manuel noticed a difference in the man referred to as "Scooter" on Saturday as well.

"He's playing full speed, blocking out on the perimeter when we're throwing those bubbles to the other receivers…He's done a great job," Manuel said. "He's worked extremely hard, he's one of the hardest working guys on the team, he's a huge leader for us and I'm glad he's healthy. He's definitely somebody we need, not just for on-the-field stuff, but for moral as well."

In addition to being healthy, Haggins credits a new attention to details for his improved speed on the field. After playing quarterback in high school, Haggins said he now has good grasp on the responsibilities of each wideout in the offense, not just slot where he lines up the majority of the time.

Haggins said knowing what he and the other receivers are doing on every play allows them to be more fluid and in sync. He has also put in time in the film room to recognize defensive coverages quicker as well.

"It's very important because when your details are off that can mess up the play," he said. "Just one man. There's 11 guys on the field and one man messes up and that could be the whole play. Those details are really small but they're really important."

With a full grasp on the playbook and his health issues behind, Haggins must now just battle to ensure he doesn't become buried behind a plethora of depth in the receiving corps.

"It's exciting just to know that everybody on the field, everybody in our seg can make a play at any given time," Haggins said. "Nobody wants to be forgotten so it obviously gives us a competitive edge. But we never let it get the best of us, we're all going to help each other and pick each other when we need to."

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