November 8, 2012
Turrentine is healed and back on the run
It wasn't Trenton Turrentine's twice-repaired knee that kept him off the football field as one may think. But it was his thumb. Boston College: 3-24, long of 17
His what? Who can't play football with an injured thumb? Well, a slotback in a triple-option offense, that's who. A cast prevents a slotback from catching and securing the ball on a pitch to the outside.
"If I was a linebacker, they would have just clubbed me up and I could have played," said Turrentine of a large protective cast defenders wear for such hand injuries.
Turrentine broke his thumb the first day of wearing pads in fall camp while making a block. First he had surgery and then he had to wear a cast followed by a brace.
Now that Turrentine is healthy and has a handle on things, the 5-foot-9, 206-pounder from Keller (Texas) Central has provided fresh legs for Army's already deep and productive backfield. Even on a team leading the nation in rushing with 375.4 yards per game and with five players who have recorded a 100-yard game this season, there is room for Turrentine.
He's averaging 6.4 yards a carry with 24 for 153 yards and one touchdown. He's an explosive north-south runner, with only 2 yards lost this season. Other than his first game against Stony Brook when he carried once for 1 yard, he has broken off a nice gain in each outing. His touchdown at Eastern Michigan was a 9-yarder.
Kent State: 5-27 yards, long of 10
Eastern Michigan: 3-11 yards, long of 9
Ball State: 4-43 yards, long of 22
Air Force: 8-47, long of 17
"I try to play my hardest for my teammates," Turrentine said. "I'm out there having fun and trying to win the game."
This week Turrentine is listed on the depth chart with senior Malcolm Brown as "or" for the starting role. The Black Knights had wanted to use Brown as a wide receiver this year, but he had to move back to slotback with the injuries to Turrentine and sophomore Terry Baggett.
Turrentine says his teammates helped him deal with the frustration of the fall camp thumb injury sidelining him. He had already missed most of the 2011 season from a knee injury and couldn't fully participate in spring drills due to rehab.
"I really appreciate my teammates," Turrentine said. "It's easy to forget about a guy that was injured last year and then gets injured again this year. But they never forgot about me. They kept me motivated to get back on the field. That says a lot about Army football. We're the most bonded team in the nation."
Once the thumb healed and Turrentine could get back on the field, he was confident in his twice repaired knee that hadn't been tested since the 2011 season.
"Getting hurt again doesn't cross my mind," he said.
Turrentine actually first hurt his knee as a junior in high school and believes the second knee injury he suffered last year "was a blessing in disguise." It was only a torn meniscus, which normally means arthroscopic surgery and a quick return. He likely would have been back on the field in 2011 and certainly would have been full go for spring football.
But when the surgeon went into repair the meniscus, excessive scar tissue from the first surgery in 2008 was found. The scar tissue that needed to be cleaned out complicated the surgery and extended the rehab time.
Turrentine had played his senior year of high school in 2009 and his year at the USMA Prep School in 2010 after the first surgery. He says now he knows he was playing through the nagging feelings in his knee and body that football players grow accustomed to. But after the 2011 surgery cleaned out the scar tissue he says his range of motion is better.
"It was one of those things I didn't think was a big deal when I was at the prep school," he said. "But I feel like I have a brand new knee now."
The injury his junior year might also led to him landing at West Point rather than one of the Texas schools that showed early interest in him. He had been hearing from Division I schools Rice, Houston and SMU in addition to offers from Columbia, Cornell and Central Arkansas.
His father is a 1981 West Point graduate and he encouraged him to take a recruiting trip to West Point.
"He didn't push me at all, but he wanted me to visit," Turrentine said. "Once I visited, it opened my eyes to the opportunities West Point presents. West Point has the whole package."
And Army's offensive backfield is a deeper and more talented package with Turrentine included as another option in the package.
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