Woods & Wa­ter

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By Ken Sim­mers

— Fol­low­ing con­sec­u­tive sea­sons in which he filled in for in­jured starters along the of­fen­sive line, John Urschel en­tered this year’s Bal­ti­more Ravens train­ing camp in con­tention for a lead­ing role of his own.

Al­though Urschel is ex­pected to take over at left guard fol­low­ing the de­par­ture of Kelechi Osemele to the Oak­land Raiders dur­ing free agency, the third-year pro still shares the same mind­set he had when he first joined the Ravens as a fifth-round selec­tion in 2014.

“It is the same men­tal­ity I had my first year. The dif­fer­ence is I’m a bet­ter player. I’m more savvy. I get to work on finer things. I have a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of what I’m good at and what I’m not. But at the end of the day, I come into camp try­ing to make the team, try­ing to feed my fam­ily and then try­ing to help this team win, how­ever I can in what­ever role that may be,” Urschel said. “My rookie year, that was just try­ing to make the team, try­ing to back-up and start when some­one got hurt. Same thing last year. This year, I have the chance to play in a start­ing role, and I’m very much look­ing for­ward to that if I have the op­por­tu­nity.”

Urschel, 25, saw ac­tion in all 16 games last sea­son, in­clud­ing seven starts at cen­ter when he filled in for Jeremy Zut­tah, who suf­fered a sea­son-end­ing in­jury. As a rookie, he started a pair of games at left guard and started three games at right guard, in­clud­ing a pair of post­sea­son con­tests when the of­fen­sive line re-aligned to over­come an in­jury to right tackle Rick Wag­ner.

“Ex­pe­ri­ence gives you con­fi­dence,” Ravens of­fen­sive line coach Juan Castillo said. “[Urschel] did a good job last year as a cen­ter. I think he showed ev­ery­body that he could be a start­ing cen­ter last year. The year be­fore, he showed ev­ery­body he could be a start­ing guard. That is the good thing about that, but we have some com­pe­ti­tion go­ing on.”

Al­though Urschel has worked pri­mar­ily with the first team dur­ing prac­tice, there re­mains sev­eral of­fen­sive line­men com­pet­ing for the spot in camp.

James Hurst, now in his third year, of­fers a sim­i­lar re­sume as Urschel af­ter he saw ac­tion in ev­ery reg­u­lar sea­son game the past two sea­sons. Fourth-round draft pick Alex Lewis has ex­pe­ri­enced a strong train­ing camp, while se­cond-year player De’On­dre Wes­ley and seven-year veteran Vladimir Du­casse are also chal­leng­ing for the job.

“That is a big thing – be­ing a starter in the NFL,” Urschel said. “I had the chance to start 12 games

OWINGS MILLS River­fest was a suc­cess!

Spon­sored by our lo­cal MSSA and the Well­wood Club, the Charlestown River­fest once again turned out to be quite a suc­cess. It seemed at first that the weather might put a stop to all pro­ceed­ings, but it did not hap­pen; al­though cloudy, the day was great for fish­ing. Most an­glers caught one or more fish, and some caught fish that would have made any­body proud.

Nick Ca­pano was lead- in the NFL, and it’s been a spe­cial thing – all 12 games. It is not some­thing that ev­ery­one can do. You don’t take that for granted.”

Urschel’s rise from fifth-round draft pick to likely starter is made more im­pres­sive by the fact he en­joys a unique pas­sion away from the grid­iron. He made head­lines in the spring when he be­came the only player in the NFL cur­rently en­rolled in a Ph.D pro­gram af­ter he signed up to take classes at the Mas­sachusetts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy (M.I.T.) in Bos­ton.

The for­mer Penn State grad­u­ate spent the off­sea­son study­ing spec­tral graph the­ory, nu­mer­i­cal lin­ear al­ge­bra and ma­chine learn­ing.

“It is a lot eas­ier than [Penn State]. I did the same thing all through col­lege. Granted, M.I.T. might have been a lit­tle harder than Penn State, but it wasn’t too bad. I had enough time for foot­ball, enough time for math,” Urschel said. “It is some­thing I’ve been do­ing for a long time.”

Even Urschel’s head coach isn’t wor­ried that he’ll be un­able to bal­ance both foot­ball and school work.

“He’s 100-per­cent com­mit­ted to his foot­ball, and I’d say he’s 100-per­cent com­mit­ted to his math. As we said, life is not a pie chart. He com­mits him­self to the things that are all im­por­tant and does a great job of it. I have no con­cerns what­so­ever about him not be­ing pre­pared,” Ravens head coach John Har­baugh said. “You do won­der [if he’s fo­cused on foot­ball]. I wouldn’t be strictly hon­est if I say it didn’t cross my mind. But ing the board with a 20-inch-plus rock­fish for quite a while. That’s right, the same size that we pay $100 to catch down at Rock Hall, caught right here in Charlestown.

In­deed, Nick is no new­comer to the fish­ing game, as he has qual­i­fied and won sev­eral of our past tour­neys, as has his pal Sam Misler. Sam went on to catch the win­ning fish, a 24-inch cat­fish.

Lots of young­sters caught perch, a few caught bluegills, one caught a men­haden, and Bal­ti­more Ravens of­fen­sive line­man John Urschel is com­pet­ing for the start­ing left guard po­si­tion.

with him, you learn not to con­cern your­self with that, be­cause he takes care of business, and he’s a foot­ball player first. He knows that that’s his pro­fes­sion at this time in life.”

Urschel re­vealed that once the foot­ball sea­son ends, he will once again re­turn to the class­room. Un­til then, his fo­cus re­mains on win­ning—and keep­ing—a start­ing job along the of­fen­sive line.

“Some­times, maybe the math

a few more caught cat­fish. One fish­er­man, Nick Ca­pano, threw his cast net and caught bait­fish, which he shared with oth­ers.

There were plenty of MSSA mem­bers there to as­sist with un­hook­ing and re­leas­ing fish, and also I brought a net with an eight-foot han­dle to help bring fish over the rocks.

Fol­low­ing the tour­na­ment was our an­nual pic­nic. Food was sup­plied by the Well­wood Club, chips and drinks were sup­plied by the MSSA. Herb’s Tackle Shop, in North East, sup­plied the bait. John Poe, head of the tour­na­ment, and Allen Hensel, Board mem­ber, and Re­nee Edge of the Ce­cil Whig, handed out all prizes do­nated by the Ce­cil Whig in the form of mon­e­tary coupons.

All in all, it was a good day on the wa­ter and in the pavil­ion, thanks to the help given by in­ter­ested par­ties. We plan to do it again next year.

makes you think he’s not a good ath­lete, but he com­bines the in­tel­lect with the ath­leti­cism. He’s good. He’s an­other guy bat­tling for a left guard spot right now. He’s also in the cen­ter mix,” Har­baugh said. “We have some in­ter­est­ing things go­ing on right now with our team, and John is right in the mid­dle of it,” Har­baugh said.”

North­ern Ch­e­sa­peake Sports­men for Kids

Fol­low Jor­dan Schatz on Twit­ter: @Jor­dan_Whig

The NCSK will once again put on an out­door day for kids on Sept. 10 from 8 un­til 4. Some of the spon­sors are Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources, Mary­land Saltwater Sports­fish­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, Ducks Un­lim­ited, and oth­ers. Each one will spon­sor one event for the kids in­volved.

Our group, of course, will spon­sor fish­ing from the pier. Each group will tackle an event for about an hour, then move to the next. It re­ally is a good day, for so many things are cov­ered, in­clud­ing haul sein­ing, fish­ing, mak­ing wood duck boxes, see­ing a dis­play from the DNR like Scales and Tails, kayak­ing, shoot­ing at the range, and oth­ers.

It re­ally is a good chance to make new friends, get wet and muddy, fall in the wa­ter, and eat, for lunch is pro­vided half­way through. Then a bus trans­ports some of the groups to the range for an af­ter­noon of shoot­ing .22s, shot­guns, and muz­zle- load­ers. Each group gets to do ev­ery­thing.

Sign up with Sean Day at 410-287-5672.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JOR­DAN SCHATZ

Bal­ti­more Ravens of­fen­sive line­man John Urschel signs au­to­graphs fol­low­ing train­ing camp prac­tice at the Un­der Ar­mour Per­for­mance Cen­ter on Aug. 5.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY SEAN GROGAN

SPE­CIAL TO THE WHIG

Sam Misler with his prize-win­ning cat­fish.

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