Howell Working Hard

Former Royal Palm Beach, Fla. standout defensive lineman Dave Howell suffered a minor setback this summer while working out. The true freshman for the Hurricanes talks about this and many other topics with us as he gets ready for his college career to begin next month.

"The day before I left for Miami I was squatting and all of a sudden I felt a sharp pain in my knee," he said. "I went to the doctors and he told me it was a bulge fracture in my tibia. They have me in a mobilizer just so that I'll be 100-percent for when practice starts. It feels fine and I'll be ready, no doubt."

In the meantime, Howell has spent his summer days working out with his new teammates.

"I haven't been doing the running stuff because of my knee but I've still been doing most of the lifting stuff," he said. "I was able to finish the 15-minute run on Thursday but I haven't been doing the conditioning stuff."

Howell did complete the bench-press testing in impressive fashion recently.

"I did 415 and then I got stuck on 435," he said. "I got it up pretty high but I wasn't able to lock out."

That's very impressive, especially considering it's only 35 pounds off the team best.

"Vince [Wilfork] did 450 and that's the highest on the team right now," he said. "Me and [Andrew] Bain both got 415."

Howell, who will room with Glenn Cook his first year at UM, is already ahead of some of his new teammates on strength numbers.

"Santonio [Thomas] and Orien [Harris] both did around 350 to 365," he said. "They have a lot more understanding of everything right now and I'm trying to learn from those guys and Vince."

Howell, who currently weighs 305 pounds, said the coaches have told the players that the No. 4 defensive tackle spot in the rotation is wide open.

"It's out of Kareem [Brown], Larry Anderson, me, Teraz [McCray], and Big Nate [Robinson]," he said. "We're all working hard. Nate hasn't gotten in yet but I know he's coming soon. I'd love to get that spot because I think that would be a lot of playing time."

Howell said the current depth chart has Wilfork, Thomas, Square, and Carroll ("he told me he's 241 pounds now) on the first team with Harris, Baraka Atkins, and Alton Wright on the second unit.

"Everyone's working really hard," he said. "The experienced guys are making sure everyone stays focused because the younger guys might not be used to some of the new stuff."

Howell, who has jersey No. 87 for right now, said he'll be glad to finally start practice in early August.

"It felt really weird in the spring watching it instead of actually playing," he said. "Now we've been working out together all summer. You can just see people getting better. Like Bain and Wimbs, they had a hard time with the running at first but now they're looking very impressive doing it."

On an interesting sidenote, Howell said he's looking forward to seeing Bryan Pata without all his hair.

"Some guys have already cut theirs," he said. "Tavares Gooden and Cyrim have cut theirs. Bryan told me he's going to get it down to a mini-afro himself and then let the older guys get the rest. That's going to be funny."

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