Michigan running back Vincent Smith 'patient' in return from knee surgery
When they’re bouncing from circuit to circuit in the weight room or off on their own doing position drills, he’s confined to a treadmill, jogging.
“Every day I see them out there running I’m like, ‘Man,’” Smith said. “But I know I just got to be patient and get my knee back.”
Seven weeks removed from surgery to repair the torn right ACL he suffered in the Ohio State game, Smith said his leg feels great, and he promised he’ll be ready for fall camp.
He walked without a limp while helping out at a youth football clinic last week, and said he hopes to start running next month.
“Everything’s going good,” Smith said. “I’m getting the strength back and getting the balancing back and just walking good and jogging good on it, so everything looks good.”
Smith ran for 276 yards on 48 carries last year as a true freshman and had a breakout 166-yard game against Delaware State.
Michigan’s most effective running back late in the season when starter Brandon Minor was out with a shoulder injury, Smith injured his knee early in the Ohio State game but played through the pain. He caught a touchdown pass in the third quarter before leaving for good after a 13-yard reception early in the fourth.
Despite the injury, the 5-foot-6, 168-pound Smith said he expects to win the starting job this fall.
"That's the goal," he said.
He’ll miss spring practice - Fitzgerald Toussaint, Mike Shaw and Mike Cox, plus freshmen Stephen Hopkins and Austin White, will take the bulk of the snaps - but Smith said that could help his development down the road.
“It’s not going to affect anything,” he said. “My off-season right now, when I’m not playing in spring I’m basically watching a whole lot of film. Just studying and just getting to know the game a little bit more than I did last year.”
Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.