Garrison Looking To Return To Freshman Form - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Garrison Looking To Return To Freshman Form


West Virginia University running back Dustin Garrison expects to have a big junior season.

He carried the ball 136 times for 742 yards and six touchdowns as a freshman. However, a torn ACL the week before the Orange Bowl and the subsequent recovery affected his production as a sophomore. Garrison had just 46 carries for 207 yards and two touchdowns last season.

Now he is a junior and the injury is clearly in the past.

"I feel great out there," Garrison said following the Gold-Blue game. "I am making the cuts I was making before the injury. I am not as sore as I was before. The main thing is mentally that I feel a lot better than I did before."

Recovering from a torn ACL is really a multiple-step process. The knee needs to heal. Physical therapy helps with that. But once the knee is healed, there is the mental side of it that takes a little longer to buy into.

Garrison admits it took longer than he expected to have trust in the knee that it could make cuts and take hits.

"In the beginning of my Sophomore year, I would say it was my knee more than anything," Garrison said. "Halfway through that season I would say it was mentally that I needed to prepare for the hits."

Garrison appeared to return to his freshman form in the Gold-Blue game and throughout spring practice. His cuts were sharper, his timing was better and he especially showed more patience when looking for a hole to bust through.

"Coach Holgorsen and Coach Seider noticed that about me," Garrison said in regards to having more patience in the backfield. "All of the running backs have something different about them. My thing is that I am patient and waiting for the hole to develop. When I see it, I sprint to it. That is my key and how I approach the game."

Garrison would not have made some of those cuts and showed that much patience if he was worried about his knee and potentially taking a hit in the backfield. With his knee healed and his mind focused on reading the defense, his confidence is growing.

"Now I am totally 100 percent," Garrison stated. "My knee is fine and my mind is where it needs to be."

Garrison is expected to be a big contributor in a talented backfield. That backfield is should shoulder the offensive load while a new quarterback gets comfortable as the starter.

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