It can be a tough transition going from high school football star to college redshirt. Often players need the year to prepare themselves for the rigors of the Division I game.
Saturday’s Jeff Cole Memorial Spring Scrimmage gave several University of Maine freshmen the opportunity to demonstrate their growth since arriving last August.
Jared Turcotte of Lewiston and Roosevelt Boone are among the players who showed they are ready to start contributing.
“There’s a lot of guys that did a lot of practicing but not playing last year that are available to us now and are getting themselves ready to play next fall,” said UMaine coach Jack Cosgrove.
The Bears last season redshirted all but one of their freshmen, which means those players should be ready when UMaine reports for training camp in August.
“It’s nice to be out here playing and contributing to the team,” Turcotte said after catching three passes for 37 yards and a touchdown in the scrimmage at Alfond Stadium in Orono.
Turcotte, who in 2007 won the Fitzpatrick Trophy as the state’s most outstanding senior player, has kept things in perspective during his first year at UMaine.
“I just wanted to come in and earn respect,” said Turcotte, a former tailback who now plays a hybrid fullback/tight end position. “Everybody here was ‘the man’ in high school, but once you get up to the college level, it’s a different story. You’ve got to come in and prove that you can play and that you deserve to be on the team.”
The scrimmage highlight for the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Turcotte was catching a short pass from quarterback Adam Farkes, keeping his balance by putting a hand on the turf after a hit by cornerback Dominic Cusano, and sprinting 10 yards into the end zone.
“I do a lot more blocking than I do running the ball or catching passes,” Turcotte said. “I’m fine with that, just as long as I get to be in the game and be a contributing factor.”
Turcotte’s predecessor, Anthony Cotrone, signed a free-agent contract Sunday with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
Boone was UMaine’s only healthy tailback. The elusive 5-6, 165-pounder from Washington D.C., showed off his speed while carrying 13 times for 45 yards and a TD and catching four passes for 21 yards.
“I was looking forward to it,” said Boone, who missed almost two months last season with an injury. “I knew I had to come out and prepare myself for a long day.”
Boone ripped off a 12-yard run during the offense’s initial 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive and later caught an 18-yard pass from Farkes. He added a 1-yard TD run.
He credited the experienced corps of running backs, led by Jhamal Fluellen, with providing valuable guidance during his first year.
“They’re all good mentors, helping me study in the film room, taking care of my body and everything,” Boone said.
Among the other first-year players who demonstrated their progress were defensive backs Jerron McMillian, Trevor Coston and Norman Smith, defensive tackle Raibonne Charles of Windham and linebacker Conor Keating, along with offensive guard Steven Shea of Corinna and tight end Derek Buttles.
“We are encouraged by those guys,” Cosgrove said.
Farkes goes under the knife
UMaine sophomore quarterback Farkes was scheduled Tuesday to undergo surgery to repair an injury to his left (nonthrowing) shoulder.
Farkes, who earned the starting QB job early last season, hurt his A/C (acromio-clavicular) joint in the Bears’ Nov. 3 game against Towson in Orono.
“It’s a quick surgery,” he said. “Fix that up and I’ll be 100 percent before [training] camp, so it’s not a big deal.”
Farkes said the surgery had been postponed so he wouldn’t miss spring practice.
“It’s important to get out here early and get reps and be in the scrimmage. It’s so beneficial to everything,” he said. “I think we made the right decision [to wait].”
During his freshman year, Farkes had surgery to repair a torn labrum in the same shoulder.
Farkes appeared sharp during the scrimmage. He completed five of six passes for 74 yards and a score and rushed three times for four yards.
“I think Adam was on his reads,” Cosgrove said. “He knew where the ball should be and when it should be there – and it was.”