Bouncing Back

After battling through some adversity over the summer, sophomore fullback Max Anderson is just happy to be participating in fall camp.

Anderson, a former Class AAA All-State selection at Morgantown High, lettered as a fullback last season as a true freshman for the Mountaineers. After a productive spring, everything was going well during summer workouts in preparation for his sophomore season. That is, until a bout with mononucleosis sidelined him for several weeks, and nearly robbed him of an opportunity to participate in preseason camp.

"I had a pretty unfortunate time," Anderson said Monday night. "I missed the last four weeks of lifting and conditioning, so that set me back a little bit."

Mono, just like any other illness, requires plenty of rest. For Anderson, that rest fell at the wrong time as fall camp loomed roughly a month away from when his bout with the illness began. For a young player looking to get on the field more, missing such a big chunk of summer workouts is not exactly the best thing that can happen. By the time he was feeling good enough to workout again, summer workouts had ended. While the rest of the team had the week prior to training camp off, Anderson could not afford such a luxury.

"We had an off week before camp started, but since I had missed four weeks I came in to run and lift a little bit," said the well-spoken fullback. "We didn't know until the Friday before if I was coming to camp or not. I'm a little bit more out of shape than the other players, but it will come back."

During his bout with mono, the normally well-sculpted fullback lost close to 15 pounds. He now checks in at 233, which isn't quite back to where he was, but is certainly big enough to get through camp.

"I don't feel weaker mentally, but obviously I'm not as strong as I could be or as in shape as I could be," he admitted. "I'm not going to let that get in my way, though. We're going to run enough that I'll be getting back into shape."

As for his role on this 2007 squad, he envisions duties similar to those he performed in his rookie year. With senior starter Owen Schmitt returning at fullback, Anderson will be used in jumbo sets as a lead blocker while also spelling Schmitt when he's out of the game or playing tight end. In addition to that, he figues to get plenty of special teams work for the second year in a row.

"It's going to be a lot of fun, just like last year," he said. "I just want to do whatever I can do to help the team by being a role player just like I was last year. Whether that's special teams or fullback backing up Owen, I'll do whatever I can do. It's going to be a lot of fun."

It certainly beats laying in bed with mono.

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