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Florida State coach Bobby Bowden didn't wait for a finalized police report to suspend five players for their role in a frat-boys vs. football players melee at FSU's student union Wednesday afternoon. Friday, Bowden announced that receivers Taiwan Easterling, Bert Reed, Corey Surrency, Cameron Wade and Richard Goodman would sit out Saturday's game against Boston College -- a game the Seminoles desperately need to win to stay alive in the race for the ACC Atlantic Division title.
So don't expect FSU to go five-wide very often against the Eagles. With Easterling, Reed and Surrency out, Greg Carr and Preston Parker are the only experienced receivers eligible to play Saturday. Still, the bad news for the suspendees -- and the black eye for the program -- could be good news for one plucky walk-on receiver.
Louis Givens is listed at 5-foot-8, 175 pounds on FSU's roster. The height figure is generous. And if Givens does weigh 175, it's only because he's got about 50 pounds of heart.
Two years ago, Givens was a scholarship receiver at Mars Hill, a tiny Division II school in North Carolina. After his freshman year, he decided to leave and chase a lifelong dream of playing at FSU, earning a biology degree and going to pharmacy school. But when Givens returned home to Jacksonville, Fla., he didn't have the proper credits to transfer. So he worked toward an associate's degree at a community college and worked as a debt collector to pay his tuition. And while the tiny Givens can fly with a football in his hands, he never struck fear into the hearts of the deadbeats assigned to him.
"That's why I wasn't working there that long," Givens said.
When Givens arrived in Tallahassee this past spring, he didn't even bring a game tape to the football office. He had an in -- former Wolfson High teammate Rod Owens is a redshirt junior at FSU -- but Givens said he wanted to make the team on his own. He attended an open tryout with about 100 other hopefuls. As soon as Givens ran the 40-yard dash, though, FSU coaches knew they'd found more than a scout-teamer.
Givens worked his way into the offense during the spring, but he didn't introduce himself on the big stage until last week against Clemson, when offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher called his number on a reverse late in the second quarter with FSU at the Clemson 28-yard line.
"All I could hear was my heartbeat," Givens said. "I knew exactly what I was going to do. I had a plan. I dreamt about it [the night before]."
Givens took the ball and blasted upfield, skating past Clemson defenders. Then, a yard from the goal line, Tiger Byron Maxwell dragged Givens to the ground. Givens kicked himself for not getting that extra yard, but he should have a chance to redeem himself Saturday.
"I was at the bottom," he said. "I'm just trying to make my way up the ladder."