Back In The Mix

For someone who has played football his entire life, there is nothing worse than being forced to sit out when the rest of your team is playing. After being injured when the Mountaineers took on East Carolina on September 12, that has been the case for junior defensive lineman Scooter Berry.

After missing games against Auburn and Colorado, Berry assured all listeners that he would be back for Saturday's matchup against Syracuse.

"I'm playing this weekend," said Berry. "You can write that. They held me out for too long. I need to get my fix, my football fix."

Berry wasn't being critical of West Virginia's medical staff or the caution the head coach showed in allowing him to play. He knows that their care, along with the rehabilitation work he has done, has prevented further injury. It's simply frustrating for a player who is used to being on the field to go through a period of inactivity, especially one that involves games with other BCS conference schools.

Berry suffered a shoulder injury during the first half of the second game of the season. He has been working diligently to get back on the field has just recently been back to fully participating in practice. Although his individual reps have still been limited, as of Tuesday, Berry was participating in all of the team reps during practice.

"It's been a lot of rehab, a lot of work but it feels good to be back out on the field," said Berry.

Although Berry admits that he is not back to full health, he believes that he is healthy enough to contribute on Saturday. Berry says that while his range of motion is at 100 percent that his strength is only back to 80 percent.

"Sitting out these past two games, past two and a half games, it was hard," admitted Berry. "Me and my coaches, we had a couple of talks because I was beginning to get down, but I got some resolve."

If Berry gets his wish to return to the field Saturday, it couldn't come during a better game. Not only will the defensive force be returning just in time for conference play, but the New York native will be returning to his home state.

"I want to play in the big conference game," said Berry. "I want to play in every game but conference games are important and I want to be able to do my part for the team."

The matchup against Syracuse will give Berry the opportunity to face off against fellow New York native Greg Paulus. Berry was familiar with Paulus growing up and realizes that facing the athletic quarterback will prove to be a challenge for the Mountaineer defense.

"He's actually a good player," said Berry. "Coming out of high school, I had heard about him, even though he's from upstate. He was No. 1 on the top 10 New York state players and my brother [Jason Gwaltney] was No. 2 so I knew of him. They played in the U.S. Army All-American game together. I watched him a couple of times back in the day. He played a lot of basketball though. I don't think he really lost a step. He looks really good. We're going to have to contain him."

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