Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sam Maresh, continued...

An interesting, and personal, twist to the news that Sam Maresh will be having open heart surgery arose for me on Tuesday night.

As it turns out, the same surgeon who is going to be performing Sam's surgery at the Mayo Clinic did the same surgery on my Mom, just a few years ago. My mom also had a bicuspid aortic valve, and her surgery was performed by Dr. Hartzell Schaff at the Mayo Clinic. My Mom had an artificial valve replacement, whereas Sam will be getting a flesh valve replacement (a pig valve, actually). As the stories have already mentioned, going with the flesh valve allows Sam a higher probability of being able to return to football than an artificial valve.

I mentioned in my previous post that I would explore what kind of football impact this might have on the Gophers.

The largest toll that this news might have on the Gopher football program might be emotional. We all know that Coach Brewster is very fond of, and has very high hopes, for Maresh. The hope was that Maresh would have an immediate impact the attitude of the defense, adding a toughness and having an impact on everyone around him. While Maresh will still be around the team and probably on the sideline, he won't be on the field, and that is certainly going to change his impact.

From the standpoint of the actual play on the field, this year it might not have a huge impact. While Maresh is a big time linebacker recruit with serious D1 talent, this year still would have been a very raw, learning year for him. I'm not saying that he wouldn't have the potential to play very very well, but even with Maresh this was destined to be a bumpy year on the defensive side of the ball with a very young and inexperienced roster, and a new defensive coordinator.

The good news for Sam is that he'll still be around football and around the Gopher program and the coaches. If he is able to come back from this surgury in 2010, like he is hoping to, he'll have two years of being with the players, the coaches where he'll have a great opportunity to learn the defensive schemes. While there is no replacement for on-field experience, at least he won't be coming back to the field with no frame of reference.

As I mentioned before, good luck Sam!!! SKI-U-MAH!

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