KENT: Senior offensive lineman Brian Winters has spent a majority of Kent State’s spring camp watching from the sidelines.
Rehabbing a left shoulder injury that dates back to his high school wrestling days, Winters, a 6-foot-6, 294-pounder from Hudson, has been mostly reduced to riding a stationary bike off to the side while most of his teammates have steadily improved their game by running through drills and going over game situations the past four weeks.
“I’m doing mostly individual work, trying to rehab and get myself back to my full potential,” Winters said.
A left tackle, Winters has been rehabbing since the week following the end of last season, when he underwent surgery on his shoulder.
“It happened in high school when I was wrestling my sophomore year at states,” he said. “Over the years, its just kept getting progressively worse. Then it popped [out of place] during the third game of [last] season and filled up with fluid.
“When they popped it back in, it was really sore. I was never at 100 percent after that. I was probably more like 70 percent, nowhere near where I could have been. So with my senior year coming up this year, I needed to get it fixed.”
The recovery period is five to six months, forcing Winters to miss most of spring practice, but he should be ready for preseason camp and the 2012 season.
“I have to admit, it’s been real hard sitting around just watching everyone,” he said. “But Coach [Darrell Hazell] just told me to focus on helping coach the younger guys and help get them to where they need to be. For myself, they just want me to learn mentally and keep my head in the book.”
Sophomore Terrell Johnson has moved from guard to tackle to fill in for Winters.
The scenario plays right into the philosophy of offensive line coach Chris Bache, who has spent the spring preaching versatility to his lineman so they are all ready to fill in at another position in the case of an injury.
“They want guys to get experience everywhere so they can be versatile and fill in when need be,” said Winters.
But Winters is looking forward to being back to “full go” and ready to reclaim his rightful place protecting the Flashes’ quarterbacks when preseason practice begins.
After four weeks of work and 14 two-hour practices, the Golden Flashes are more than ready to wrap up spring camp with the annual spring game at 2:30 p.m. today at Dix Stadium. The Blue and Gold teams were selected by the team’s seniors on Wednesday.
“That’s the fun part, the part the guys have been dying to get to,” Hazell said. “They’ve worked hard for a month and are ready to get out here and have some fun.”
Flashes sophomore running back Trayion Durham is expected to one of a handful of injured players cheering from the sidelines during today’s game. Earlier in the week, the 6-foot, 245-pounder was hit in the head and sat out the last few days of spring camp. It is suspected that Durham suffered a concussion, but it has not been confirmed by KSU coaches or officials.