Buggs slowly bouncing back from ACL surgery

Strong safety Marcus Buggs was on track to see plenty of playing time as a true freshman last August, before being sidelined for the fall and spring by a crippling knee injury. Buggs, on hand for a recent "Commodores in the Community" event near his home community of Madison, talked about his long recovery and rehab following ACL surgery last September.

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VandyMania: Marcus, this is kind of a dead time of year, but I know lots of you guys on the team are working hard anyway. What kinds of things are going on with the team this time of year?

Vanderbilt safety Marcus Buggs: We've got a lot of people out here working hard this summer. A lot of people are here this off-season, even though they didn't even have to be, a lot more than last summer. I think we're a little bit hungrier this season. We want to go out and win more games, and earn a little more fan support.

VM: Could you describe your daily routine? Are you taking classes this summer?

Marcus: I'm taking one class this summer. I get up and go to class, then come in and watch film every day for an hour or so. Then I go and work out from about 2:00 to 5:00 every day.

VM: When you watch film, what would that be of? Of last year? Of one of the opponents you're going to be playing this year?

Marcus: Usually I'm watching film of some of the plays we run. We're also studying the film of other teams that we're going to play this season, trying to pick up tendencies and things like that.

VM: Talk a little about your lifting. Have you increased your lift since last year?

Marcus: My squat hasn't returned all the way from where it was before I had my knee surgery. But we're still progressing. My bench press has improved probably around 30 pounds or so. I'm lifting about 415 this off-season.

VM: And your weight?

Marcus: Right now I'm weighing somewhere between 217 and 220.

VM: I know everyone is going to want to know how your recovery is going. You had knee surgery very early in the season last year and missed the whole season. It's been almost nine months since you had it. It's been a slow recovery, I understand.

Marcus: It has been a little bit slow, but I'm still on schedule. I've been going out every day doing a lot of running and cutting, trying to strengthen my knee and get it back to where it was. I should be ready for the season.

VM: Would you say it's, maybe, somewhere between 90 and 95 percent?

Marcus: I'd say maybe 90 to 93 percent (laugh). It will get a little bit sore sometimes after I work out, but the soreness usually leaves.

VM: I know the team is working hard. What is really motivating the team at this point? What's giving you confidence that this is going to be a lot better season this year?

Marcus: It's mostly just the little things. Like, when we're doing drills, I'm noticing people doing things that Coach [John] Sisk was having to coach last year. I know a lot of people are getting bigger and stronger out there, and working hard.

VM: You missed all of spring practice, but you should be back at the strong safety position this fall. Talk about who you're competing with for a starting job.

Marcus: Right now the starting job belongs to Andrew Pace. He did a pretty good job last year. I'm learning a lot from him. I sit down and watch film with him sometimes. I'm not really looking at it as competition. I'm just out to try to help the team out.

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Photos by Brent Wiseman, copyright 2004 for VandyMania.com


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