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Published: Monday, 8/4/2008

Walking wounded hang tough at Bowling Green

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - The weekly grocery list shared by four injury-ridden Bowling Green State University football seniors might read something like this.

Milk. Bread. Eggs. Heat patches. Aspirin.

And if the latter two are on sale, it might be worth stocking up.

Such is the life for roommates Corey Partridge, Joe Schaefer, Nick Davis and John Haneline, who between them have undergone 14 surgeries since stepping foot on campus five years ago. The four recently moved into a new apartment because, as Davis said, "We thought the old apartment was bad luck.

"That's why I room with those guys," Davis said yesterday at the team's media day. "I know when I look to my left and look to my right they're going to be taking care of business."

That is, when they are physically able to do so. None of the roommates fully participated in spring practice, but each should be available when fall camp begins this evening. The Falcons open the season Aug. 30 at Pittsburgh.

"I actually went to church [yesterday] morning and prayed a little bit, trying to get the big guy on my side," Partridge said. "I'm going to keep that up all season to change my routine and hopefully get healthy this season."

The list of injuries from the four is considerably longer than any grocery list.

Partridge missed five games last year, was healthy at the start of spring practice, and then injured his knee and sat out the spring game. Haneline, the overall healthiest of the tenants, broke a bone in his foot in the ninth game of the season and hasn't practiced since. Schaefer battled a knee injury most of last year, this after he sat out the 2006 season with a separate injury to his knee. And then there's Davis. Between knee issues and staph infections, Davis has undergone seven surgeries while in college. He plans to ease back into drills during camp but because of poor depth at defensive tackle, Davis will likely be used extensively once the season begins.

"I think it's very important for me to get back healthy and give BGSU what I've been trying to give them the whole time," Davis said. "I think I have a lot of good things to offer, and I think I can help develop some younger guys and teach them the importance of Falcon football."

Schaefer said he had his best offseason ever, even though his participation in spring ball was limited because of a class conflict.

That must mean Schaefer believes his time away from the field allowed him to recover to the point he feels capable of competing for a starting spot at defensive end.

"If anything it probably gave me some time to heal up," Schaefer said. "As far as the mental aspect, being my last year, I didn't miss out on much. Spring is mostly for the younger guys."

Lost in the misfortunes of the four roommates is Eric Ransom. The senior running back has torn both ACLs - one in high school and the other last year in the second game of the season.

His subsequent work ethic and attitude have been lauded by coach Gregg Brandon, who apparently feels so confident in Ransom's progression that Anthony Turner has moved to receiver.

"I've been hurt before so it shouldn't be anything," said Ransom, who is seeking a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA. "My standards are still high and I still have high goals. They still expect more out of me, so nothing's changed."

Ransom is able to provide perspective to his injuries in an unfortunate way.

The Texas native watched his mother suffer through heart problems before dying while Ransom was in high school.

"My momma went through a lot of struggles with her sickness and her battles and she never gave up," Ransom said.

"That stayed with me. As long as I feel I can do it I'm going to be out there."

Contact Ryan Autullo at:

rautullo@theblade.com



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