ORONO, Maine — Jared Turcotte watched Saturday’s Jeff Cole Spring Scrimmage from the same uncomfortable place he spent the entire 2009
football season — the sideline.
The rugged running back from Lewiston was among numerous University
of Maine players recovering from offseason surgery or injuries who were
forced to sit out the Black Bears’ last practice of the school year.
Turcotte, a former Fitzpatrick Trophy winner, was champing at the bit to
participate, but realizes he isn’t quite ready.
“I just didn’t want to get back into full contact too early, get out there and
tweak something, roll an ankle,” he said.
An estimated 300 fans, family and friends of the Bears turned out on a
gorgeous, sunny morning to get a preview of UMaine’s 2010 squad.
The scrimmage honors former Bears assistant coach Cole, who died in
2004 after fighting cancer.
Saturday’s event also served as a fundraiser for UMaine graduate Ashley
Drew of Scarborough, who is battling cystic fibrosis and needs a lung
The Bears clearly were nowhere near at full strength.
“We probably had the most guys we’ve ever had in red shirts or not full
go today,” Cosgrove said. “A lot of that’s us being cautious in their
management and not pushing the envelope and risking injury.”
Turcotte, who last year underwent two surgeries to repair sports hernias,
was practicing last month in a limited, noncontact role.
“I need to hit somebody,” Turcotte said with a chuckle. “It’s definitely
nice to be back out on the field and running around with the guys again
instead of being on the sideline.”
Quarterback Warren Smith, who will be a junior next season, completed 10 fo 14 passes for 103 yards, including a 4-yard scoring pass to freshman running back Terrel Walker.
Smith is still slowed after having surgery in November to fuse together a
broken bone in his foot.
“My foot’s fine, but they were real cautious about it,” Smith said.
Walker, who was named the Bears’ Scout Team Player of the Year
(Defense), had four carries four eight yards and the TD. He also caught five
passes for 54 yards and a score.
Tailback Pushaun Brown led all rushers with 19 yards on five carries.
Freshman wideout Derrick Johnson made five receptions for 40 yards and
frosh tight end Justin Perillo showed off soft hands with four catches for 64
The defense spread out its efforts, with safety Jerron McMillian, end
Doug Alston among the leaders.
McGowan returns to campus
Former UMaine star Brandon McGowan made a rare return to Orono to
watch the scrimmage.
McGowan, now a safety with the NFL’s New England Patriots, enjoyed
being able to visit Orono.
“It’s different. A lot of flashbacks, a lot of memories went through the
head,” he said. “It’s great out here to get to see the coaches, the new players,
and some of the coaches that I played with.”
McGowan took a few moments to address the team in the locker room
after the scrimmage.
“(I told them) stay healthy, stay in shape, stay in school,” McGowan said.