NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – Que’shaun Byrd felt joy. Sam Marc didn’t feel any pain. Akevious Williams felt good to be back “among the grit and the grind.”
Being back to that grind did have a little extra meaning Saturday as Bethune-Cookman began preseason practice at the New Smyrna Beach Sports Complex.
Along with lineman Maglya Ramirez, Byrd, Marc and Williams were among the notable season-ending injuries the 2018 Wildcats endured, and still found a way to end the season on a three-game winning streak with a 7-5 record.
Byrd sustained his injury in the second quarter of the game against Howard in Indianapolis; Marc’s injury came in the second quarter at South Carolina State in Orangeburg; and Williams’ injury was sustained as he was crossing the goal line for a touchdown against North Carolina A&T.
All three participated Saturday, and that left Head Coach Terry Sims pleased after what he felt was a good opening practice.
“We just want to work themselves back into shape and into the line-up,” Sims said. They have detailed plans from the trainers to work themselves back in. Right now, they’re all ahead of schedule, which is something great for us heading into the second day of camp.”
Byrd had already racked up 464 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns in the three-and-a-half games he appeared in before the injury. The amazing season ended in one play, and that left a mark on the junior from Palm Coast.
“The game can be taken away from you at any moment,” Byrd said. “To be back doing what I love to do felt amazing today. Every chance you get, you have to give it your all.”
Marc, a redshirt junior cornerback from Miami, felt completely recovered.
“I’ll be ready for opening day [against Jackson State in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge on September 1 in Atlanta], Marc said. “I missed some on the big games last year. Beating Florida A&M [in the Florida Blue Florida Classic] was bittersweet watching the team handle business and get the win.”
Williams echoed Marc’s enthusiasm for opening day as well as finding the silver lining from last year.
“It gave me perspective,” Williams said. “It helped me look at the game in a different way, sitting in the back with [Assistant Coach Allen] Suber looking at the how the offense runs and seeing how’s he’s thing. It’s helping be more decisive.”
Sims delighted in his players’ growth.
“They took it upon themselves to become better students of the game,” Sims said. “To push themselves harder in the classroom … learning more about their positions, the offense, the defense and all aspects of the game. I’m very pleased with that.”
Training camp resumes Sunday.
Courtesy: BCU Athletics