Coach: Injured WR Love can inspire teammates
USF receivers coach Phil McGeoghan said Tuesday that news of senior A.J. Love's torn ACL has hit his receivers hard, but that Love still has a chance to contribute this fall as well as inspiring his teammates.
"They understand how much football means to him. Every single one of them wants to carry the flag for A.J.," said McGeoghan, who was with Love on Sunday and at his MRI on Monday evening. "They want to step up and play well for him. Sterling (Griffin) and Evan (Landi) in particular have said they're going to play for him. Even when he can't be on the field, he'll see he can inspire them."
McGeoghan said Love has been through the pain and mental adversity that comes with rehabiliation after a torn ACL, having returned after injuring his left knee in the 2008 St. Petersburg Bowl. An ambitious return would be six months after surgery -- late October -- still allowing him to play the final five games of the regular season, plus a bowl game.
"He has a long road ahead. It's painful, and it's going to test you mentally," McGeoghan said. "If anybody can pull through the process, whether it's coming back on the field at some point or just using his understanding of the game to help his teammates, it's A.J."
McGeoghan said the outpouring of support for Love from his teammates in the last few days reminds him of last fall, when USF lost starting quarterback Matt Grothe to a season-ending knee injury in the third game of the season, but rallied around redshirt freshman B.J. Daniels. Love, unlike Grothe, has the motivation of knowing he could still play again this season.
McGeoghan said former USF coordinator Mike Canales, now at North Texas as offensive coordinator, was in Tampa recruiting on Monday and shared in the support for Love, knowing how hard he worked in his first rehab last year.