After being slowed by a hamstring injury this fall, Florida State wide receiver Marvin Bracy will make his garnet and gold debut this weekend as a member of the Track & Field team at the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark.
Bracy actually first tweaked the hamstring running for Orlando Boone High in the High School State Championship meet last May, but felt he was healthy entering fall camp. On the first day of two-a-days Bracy blew past defensive back Lamarcus Brutus on a post route for a touchdown.
While his teammates celebrated the display of speed, Bracy knew that he had re-injured his hamstring as he made his cut.
"Everybody was like 'Oh!' Jumping and screaming and hollering and stuff," Bracy said. "That's actually the day I first hurt myself. I actually hurt myself doing that route. It was at the end, when I broke into the post. I was already out there and I just kept running to catch the ball, and I kind of stumbling and I was holding it and I talked to one of the trainers, I sat out for like two weeks."
The 5-foot-9, 172-pound speedster was never quite able to get back to full strength the rest of camp. Before the season opener, Bracy said receivers' coach Lawrence Dawsey pulled him into his office and said that he and head coach Jimbo Fisher were considering redshirting the freshman since he was so limited.
Bracy said they never told him the decision was final, but by about the third game when he still hadn't seen the field he go the picture. As he worked his way back to full speed, Bracy said he just tried to make practices as enjoyable as possible for himself and his teammates.
"I took it more to myself about having fun," Bracy said. "I'm out here with a lot my peers and stuff. We're doing routes on scout team and Coach (Mark) Stoops kind of gave us a little more leeway and I was able to go out there sometimes do some of my own stuff and mix it with the team stuff and I just made practice fun. We also made it very competitive."
Now Bracy will finally get the chance to compete against someone other than his teammates this weekend in Arkansas, as he will run in the 60m at the Indoor meet.
"I haven't run (in a meet) since May, since States when I hurt my hamstring initially. So to get back out there I'm very excited about it," Bracy said. "I'm just focusing on what I've got to do."
FSU has never won an indoor championship (finished as the runner-up in 2007 and '08), but won three straight outdoor titles from 2006-08. Associate Head Coach and Sprints Coach Ken Harnden thinks that Bracy will be a huge part of the push for a fourth title.
"He's special. He's got that next level talent," said Harnden. "Obviously anytime you bring in a guy that has that kind of ability, it changes the whole outlook of your team. We're talking about winning a national title with 50 points and he's a guy that bring in 20 percent of that by himself. That's just huge off the bat."
When spring football begins, Bracy will have to split time between the gridiron and the track. FSU Track head coach Bob Braman said how much Bracy and fellow two-sport star Ronald Darby will be available to the team during spring football is totally up to Fisher.
Darby likely won't be able to participate in spring practice after having surgery for a sports hernia last week. It will likely keep him off the track until at least April as well.
"When they get to their spring practice, five weeks of three days a week, that's Jimbo's call. Those are his athletes, they're here for football," Braman said. "In this case Marvin Bracy, unfortunately we're not going to see Ronald Darby until later- maybe. So those are his athletes and it's his call. They're here to do that and they're elite athletes.
"When you've got guys like Bracy who's been doing track his whole life, he's not going to get out of shape, he's not going to get over bulked up and all tight and can't run. It's just to make sure we don't overuse those athletes going from sport to sport. So 'OK they just killed him doing mat drills or full pads practice, so we'll just work on technique over here in track.' But Jimbo so far has been really good to work with."
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