No more knee pain. via www.baltimoresun.com
The player interview stream didn't quite go as I had expected: sadly, the audio on the feed was down for some reason, and in an interview that's somewhat problematic. So instead, how 'bout a quick linkage roundup before the MM?
The most important thing revealed in the player interviews in terms of long-term importance might be the future plans of program star Torrey Smith. We all know that a player of Smith's caliber could go pro at any point now, so it's a storyline worth following. Apparently, he filed his draft papers last year to see where he stood:
Smith, who led the team with 61 receptions for 824 yards and broke his own ACC record for kick return yards with 1,309, said he was graded out as a third- or fourth-round pick.
But he never had any intentions of leaving school.
"I knew I was going back anyways," he said. "That wasn't even an option. That was just to toy around a little bit."
Interestingly, he said one of his big goals was to graduate. That may be good, but he's on an earlier track than most to reach that goal:
"My goal since I've been little is to graduate from college," Smith said. "I wouldn't do anything until I did that."
And when is Smith set to graduate? At the end of this semester.
For what it's worth, Smith tweeted about a week ago that, though he loved UMD, he would leave college if he got the chance. And if he can have the year we all think he's capable of, it's very possible that he'll get that chance as a second- or maybe even first-round pick, a lot earlier than most fans would hope for. And if he's already graduated, I'm not sure what incentive he has to stick around.
But that's still well off in the future. Other notes:
IMS, who was linked above as well, has a sizable roundup of the action. I'd encourage you to check it out. One notable part is about Maryland's MVP of the spring, according to Ralph Friedgen on Terrapins Rising: Joe Vellano.
"That guy came out of nowhere in spring ball," Wujciak said. "He literally just dominated the offense-every practice, every scrimmage, everything. He kind of had an injury history and he's finally healthy and he's ready to get after it."
Patrick Stevens has been doing just as much, and one his stories was also linked above. The two most important notes, though, are on Isaiah Ross and a potential breakout star. On the first, Alex Wujciak says he could be an opening day starter.
Ross received plenty of playing time last year, most of which was unexpected for the surprise true freshman. He fared well enough when playing, though, before he got hurt. According to Wujciak, he's been impressive enough to get in contention for a starting spot.
"He's been working his ass off," Wujciak said. "He's going to be a really good player. In my opinion, I think he'll end up starting the first game of the season. He's a good football player. He's not some crazy freak athlete, but he's a football player. He's been working hard recovering."
One of my favorite notes from the week comes from Ken Tysiac's ACC Now blog, regarding Alex Wujciak's thoughts on his brother's commitment to Boston College.
Wujciak's brother, Connor, recently committed to another ACC school, Boston College, rather than following Alex to Maryland. Sheepishly, Alex Wujciak said Connor liked the Boston College coaching staff and needed to make his own decision.
"I wasn't going to force him anywhere," Alex said, smiling, "but it's a decision he'll have to live with for the rest of his life."
A decision he'll have to live with for the rest of his life? Sounds imposing. Is Chestnut Hill really that bad? Actually, I love the Terp Pride there.
Meantime, Wujciak has an important development of his own: he's healthy. Though we've heard it before, it's always good to hear more about. Via the Sun:
"It almost feels weird to be healthy," said Wujciak, who suffered a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament in 2007 in his left knee. "When you're hurt, you're used to practicing in pain and you can overcome it. I remember jogging out when spring ball started and my knee was healthy. It was almost ridiculous."
"With the knee injury I had, it was tough to get my knee recouped in time for the next week," said Wujciak on Sunday on the first day of the ACC Football Kickoff media event. "I was on crutches for like six months, so it was tough. Before the [season opener at] Cal last year, I probably ran like nine times [in the offseason], including practices."
After all that, I'll leave you with this: the players say they still back Friedgen. Obviously, that's exactly what they're supposed to say, so there's really nothing to draw from it...at all. I have some doubts about that, but I guess we'll see on the field.