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Desmond Marrow still remembers the feeling of despair he had on the sideline at Northern Illinois last season when doctors told him he had suffered a season-ending knee injury.
The University of Toledo cornerback got hurt on the opening kickoff against the Huskies while attempting a tackle.
It was the first time all season Marrow had been on the kick coverage unit, and it also would be his last.
"When I went down, I thought it was my ankle," Marrow recalled yesterday. "My ankle hurt more than my knee, so I went back and got an X-ray and they said I twisted my ankle."
After the Rockets' medical staff did some more tests, they discovered Marrow also had torn his left ACL.
"It was tough every day going to practice, sitting on crutches, seeing your team out there playing because I wanted to be out there," Marrow recalled.
"I just had to deal with it. I just kept a strong mind and tried to think positive."
After missing spring practices while rehabilitating his knee, Marrow is back on the field with the Rockets in a limited capacity.
"My knee is doing pretty good," Marrow said.
"I'm just waiting to get cleared [to play].
"That's the biggest thing, being able to participate in all the drills.
"The first day I was kind of nervous and shaky, kind of scared to run out there. But with each day I gain more confidence and I feel ready."
In seven games last season before his injury, Marrow had 30 tackles, one forced fumble and three pass breakups, so UT coach Tim Beckman is ready to welcome him back with open arms when the time comes.
"I see him progressively getting better," Beckman said. "Is he ready right now? No. But will he be ready? Yes. I don't know if it will be the first game, but we're expecting him to make strides and be back at least by conference play."
ROCKIN' OUT: Heavy metal rock music blared from the speakers at the Glass Bowl during the Rockets' practice yesterday in an effort to simulate crowd noise.
"We know it's going to be loud when we play Purdue," Beckman said. "We know it's going to be loud here for the Colorado game. We expect it to be loud in Cleveland for the Ohio State game. Anytime you can put the kids in a situation where it's going to be a lot like the game situation, it's just going to make them better."
Beckman said he would have preferred a little better choice of music, however.
"It was bad," Beckman joked. "I have no idea who [the band] was. We've got to get it changed though. We will definitely not have that in pregame. I don't know where that came from. That's not going to happen again."
UT director of high school relations Andy Boyd was responsible for the music, and it's safe to say he's been relieved of his DJ-ing duties.
"[Strength and conditioning] coach [Rick] Court always has music playing in the weight room," Beckman said, "so he'll probably be in charge of music from here on out."
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