Jenkins Ready to Go

  • By John Antonik
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  • October 11, 2010 05:10 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Josh Jenkins, wearing a large bag of ice on his right knee, says he will be ready to go for West Virginia’s big showdown with USF under the bright Thursday night lights at Milan Puskar Stadium.

Jenkins has missed West Virginia’s last two games against LSU and UNLV after having his right knee rolled up on early in the Maryland game on Sept. 18. Jenkins had his knee cleaned out the Tuesday after the game and was walking on it by the end of the week.

“I felt good in practice last week,” he said. “Of course, I was a little rusty because I haven’t played in a while but I felt pretty good.”

Jenkins has been injured before, dislocating his left knee cap during his true freshman season in 2008. That injury was much more severe but he believes going through the rehabilitation process then has given him a much better understanding of what he needed to do to get back on the field as quickly s he could.

“You’ve got to attack the treatment room,” he said. “The trainers have been doing a good job of getting it better and Mike Joseph has been doing a good job getting the strength back. It’s just a part of maturity. It happens, you’ve got to accept it and then fight through it.”

In 2008, Jenkins was not wearing a knee brace when he dislocated his knee cap. Now he wears braces on both knees, but he says isn’t sure a knee brace would have prevented his latest injury.

“I’m sure my knee could have been hurt worse without the brace but this was just some things in my knee that I needed to have cleaned out,” he said.

Jenkins knows injuries are a part of the game but they cannot be allowed to define the type of player you are.

“You can’t think about getting hurt,” he explained. “It just happens sometimes and you can’t help it. It’s just a part of the game.

“You can play hurt - you can’t play injured,” he added.

The left guard was listed as doubtful on last week’s injury report for UNLV and the fact that the game went according to script and West Virginia was able to get a big lead and play a lot of players enabled Jenkins and some of WVU’s other injured players to get additional rest before Thursday’s game against the Bulls.

Jenkins said Monday afternoon that he will have no limitations in practice leading up to Thursday’s game.

“I pretty much could do everything (last week) but I just didn’t want to have my knee swell up before this game so that’s why I was held out of Saturday’s game,” Jenkins noted.

The offensive line performed reasonably well in two of the three games Jenkins was out (he missed most of the Maryland win as well) and the Parkersburg native sees a group that is starting to jell at the right time of the season.

“I think the line has been doing real well the last couple of weeks,” he said. “I think they played with a lot of heart down at LSU and I think they played real well this past week.”

The line has been aided by a much more balanced offensive attack that produced 236 yards on the ground and 226 yards through the air against the Rebels last Saturday. This year West Virginia is roughly 50-50 run-pass as opposed to 70-30 run-pass in some years, which Jenkins believes makes it much easier to block.

“Balance helps because you don’t know what’s going to come, a run or a pass, but we have a lot of weapons out there that we can throw to so that helps,” Jenkins said. “If we pass more, that sets up the run with Noel, so that’s good.”

Jenkins is expecting another big challenge this Thursday against a large and physical USF defensive front that has historically given West Virginia fits. The Bulls are surrendering 301.2 yards and 16 points per game while averaging an impressive eight negative yardage plays per game (2.8 sacks and 5.6 TFLs). Bulls defensive coordinator Mark Snyder is known for bringing a lot of pressure and Jenkins expects that to be the case on Thursday night.

“They’re just fast kids and they’re physical kids and that’s the best part of them,” said Jenkins. “They can move so they are tough to block.”