Football: Windham's self-motivation helps his recovery

Ohio redshirt senior quarterback Greg Windham (#14) passes downfield against Texas State on Sept. 3. Windham passed for 308 yards in his first game as starting quarterback. (FILE)

 

The Ohio quarterbacks — Quinton Maxwell, Greg Windham, Joey Duckworth and Deeb Haber – were running their typical practice with the target net Monday afternoon.

Windham prepared to do his set of throws for target practice, but he missed the target on more than a few throws. He’s still not 100 percent recovered.

As Windham trotted back to the end of the line of quarterbacks, Haber gave him a low-five, trying to keep Windham’s attitude positive.

Although limited on Monday, Windham went through his first practice since suffering an ankle sprain at Toledo. He threw a touchdown in that game, completing 66.6 percent for 84 yards. Ohio defeated Toledo 31-26, winning at the Glass Bowl for the first time since 1967.

“He’s fighting this injury and he hates it because he wants to get back out there,” Haber said. “I didn’t really say anything, just trying to keep him up because you don’t want him to get down at all.”

This season, Windham has gone from being a starting quarterback to fighting for a chance to play again. During the middle of the season, Windham’s play began to dip. He wasn’t leading the offense well, struggling to move the ball down the field for solid gains.

Windham averaged 116 passing yards, and he threw one touchdown in a three-game span when Ohio played Miami, Bowling Green and Eastern Michigan to begin Mid-American Conference play.

Maxwell ran the offense better against Eastern Michigan, throwing for 188 yards and one touchdown. He earned the starting quarterback job for the team’s next game against Kent State, and since then, Windham hasn’t started for the Bobcats.

“It’s hard when you lose your starting job,” quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Scott Isphording said. “That first game I think was pretty tough on him.”

The adversity Windham has gone through this season is not too adverse for him, though. The team’s leader, Windham doesn’t need much motivation to continue working hard.

“He responded the way you’d want a senior to respond, and I thought he came in and was a big reason why we won the Toledo game,” Isphording said.

With the Bobcats on a bye week, Windham will be able to get treatment from Ohio’s training staff. Isphording said because Windham has an ankle sprain, he doesn’t necessarily need to be fully healthy.

At the beginning of the season, Windham was the clear-cut starting quarterback. Maxwell simply needed more experience, and he would get his time to play when he was ready.

Now, with only two games left in the regular season, Isphording and the rest of the coaching staff will have a decision to make: Maxwell or Windham?

“He’s (Windham) going to prepare the way he was when he was starting, and so is Quinton,” Isphording said. “And I hope they make it really really tough on us to decide who needs to go out there.”

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