Holt ahead of schedule

There were a lot of players dealing with injuries this spring. One such player was tight end Austin Holt, who is coming back from a leg injury suffered last season. He was kept from participating fully in spring camp as he recovered, but that shouldn't be the case come fall camp, as he is way ahead of schedule.

During spring camp, Austin Holt was easing his way back into a productive role within the offense.

"Well, I just passed four months, so I'm four months out of surgery," said Holt. "I'm about a month or a month-and-a-half ahead of schedule. Everything is going really well. I've been spending a lot of time in the weight room, but I've also been coming in a couple days a week and doing some therapy with Coach Omer trying to get my leg strength back."

Since he couldn't scrimmage or fully participate in drills during the spring, Holt found other ways to prepare for next season.

"A majority of spring had been about watching film," Holt said. "I tried to take some of the younger guys that didn't have any experience – Kaneakua [Friel] and Marcus [Mathews] had a lot of experience – and take a teacher role with them. I tried to teach them how I do things."

The two newest tight ends are converted quarterback McCoy Hill and walk-on Darin Tuttle. Tuttle is a 6-foot-4-inch prospect out of Oakridge High School in El Dorado Hills, California, the old high school of brothers Zac, Austin and Dylan Collie.

"Yeah I've kind of taken that role with guys like McCoy Hill and Darin Tuttle, who've been out here and have no idea what's expected," said Holt. "I've kind of taken them under my wing and taught them how to read a defense, how to run this route better and how to do this or that better. That's kind of been my role and what Coach Reynolds wanted me to do."

As spring camp progressed, Holt did participate in what is called the "practice perfect" period, when injured players run at about half speed. He also ran sprints and became more involved with conditioning.

"The last couple of weeks of spring camp, I started to do more sprinting and do 100-yard sprints," Holt said. "We had been out there for a couple of periods during team doing some stuff where there is no contact running routes and stuff. It went good and I caught a lot of balls. It's more the mental focus that I've had to try to get over more than anything."

The biggest hurdle for Holt now is mentally getting over the injury to the point where he can fully play without caution or concern that he will reinjure his leg.

"The doctors have told me that there is nothing wrong with my leg, and that it will take a lot of force to hurt my leg again. It's more the mental side that I need to overcome. I can do an out-route and I can do these things but it's just getting over the mental side that's the hardest thing for me now."

Nevertheless, he's had to deal with some discomfort in his leg as well.

"The major problem that comes with this type of surgery is there is a little bit of a nagging pain where they had to cut some of the bone out to make a new ligament," said Holt. "That's the only real thing that's kind of hurting right now."

The pain, however, isn't a major issue.

"Yeah, I was told that it will eventually go away," he said. "Right now it's still hurting a little and it's expected. I can complain all I want, but it's expected and I just have to deal with it. Everything is going good though and my goal is to be 100 percent ready by the time we get to fall camp."

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