Woods & Water
— 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.
Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel signs autographs following training camp practice at the Under Armour Performance Center on Aug. 5.
Sam Misler with his prize-winning catfish.