ORONO — Jared Turcotte jogged slowly off Morse Field following Tuesday afternoon’s practice with the University of Maine football team, headed for a half-hour soak in the ice bath.
The junior fullback from Lewiston limped slightly as a result of the soreness that comes with 14 training camp workouts. From his perspective, it hurt so good.
“Something’s always hurting, so your body’s always used to the nicks and the little bit of pain that you get,” said Turcotte, who is enduring the rigors of preseason with his UMaine teammates after missing last season with two sports hernias, both of which required surgery.
“It feels good to be out there playing finally instead of being on the sideline,” he said. “It’s more of a mental thing now than it is a physical thing, just to be able to fight through it and finish camp on a strong note and get going into game week against Albany.”
UMaine holds its second preseason scrimmage Wednesday starting at approximately 3:30 p.m. at Alfond Stadium.
Turcotte, a powerhouse 6-foot-2, 230-pounder who led the Black Bears with 625 rushing yards in 2008, hopes to be a key cog in UMaine’s spread offense.
This season, Turcotte will have to balance even more responsibility than attending classes and playing football.
On July 17, he married the former Allysha Jones at her parents’ home in Gorham. On Sept. 19, the day after UMaine’s game at Syracuse, the Turcottes are expecting their first child, daughter Aiva Jeannette Turcotte.
“It’s fun. It’s a process that I hope everybody goes through eventually,” Turcotte said. “It’s good to grow up and have a family and see yourself mature and everything like that. To go through it with a woman like Allysha — she’s one of the best people I’ve ever met in my life and she’s fighting through it right now — she’s getting into the ninth month, so it’s going to come to a stop here pretty soon.”
While the newlyweds haven’t spent a lot of time together since school ended in May — with Jared working out all summer with his teammates in Orono and Allysha living in Gorham — he has marveled at some of the moments experienced as an expectant father.
“When you can feel the [baby’s] kicks and you can see the hiccups, that stuff’s real cool,” Turcotte said. “The ultrasounds and stuff like that, the technology now is crazy.”
Turcotte and Jones, a Black Bears cheerleader, met during her first year at UMaine in 2008 and hit it off quickly. When they found out Allysha was pregnant, it seemed almost a natural progression in their relationship.
“It wasn’t something that was planned, but I don’t think once we found out there was any question about what we were going to do,” Turcotte said.
Both are enrolled at UMaine this fall and are gearing up for the challenge of parenthood.
“It’ll be tough, but both of our families have helped out a lot,” Turcotte said.
Turcotte has been subjected to some ribbing about his impending fatherhood. One such example came during Tuesday’s practice, while he was experiencing pain while being stretched by a female UMaine assistant trainer.
She suggested his discomfort would pale in comparison to that of having a baby.
As he waits for the birth of his daughter, Turcotte is thrilled the Sept. 2 season opener against Albany is only two weeks away.
“I’m real excited,” he said. “I can’t wait to line up against another team.”
Dyer to help UM women’s soccer
Former UMaine men’s soccer head coach and Maine Maritime Academy athletic director Jim Dyer will serve as an assistant coach this season with the Black Bear women’s soccer program.
Dyer, who coached UMaine head coach Scott Atherley in Orono, will be primarily involved with coaching the goalkeepers and assisting coach Atherley at practice and games.
Dyer retired this summer after seven years at MMA. Prior to that, he coached in the college ranks for more than 25 years and did an 11-year stint as an assistant AD at UMaine.
“I am thrilled that Jim has decided to join our staff and rejoin the Black Bear community,” Atherley said in a press release. “The fact that he will be around to share his knowledge, wisdom and experiences with our players enriches their experience as members of our program considerably.”
UMaine women 5th in AE poll
The UMaine women’s soccer team was picked to finish fifth in the America East preseason coaches poll released Tuesday.
The Bears lost six players from a squad that went 9-5-3 and advanced to the America East semifinals in 2009. UMaine ranked second in both goals per game and goals against average last season.
The Bears, who have advanced to the AE semifinals six times in the last seven years, return all-rookie goalkeeper Meagan Price-Leibenzeder and six starters, including senior midfielder and captain Kelsey Wilson of Gorham.
UMaine plays an exhibition game Wednesday at 1 p.m. in Orono against the Burlington Heat.