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MIAMI FOOTBALL

MU's Norden hopes foot woes are behind him

By Pete Conrad

Staff Writer

Sunday, August 05, 2007

OXFORD — After nearly 10 months, Charlie Norden is happy to be back on the football field with his Miami University teammates.

"It feels good today," the 6-foot-6, 300-pound senior offensive tackle said following Friday's opening practice session, referring to the foot which has caused him so much distress over the past year.

Norden is expected to be a leader of Miami's offense this year, an All-Mid-American Conference candidate at left tackle who has the ability to erase pass rushers.

That was expected of Norden last year as well, but a foot injury obliterated his season.

He started Miami's first six games and was unable to finish any of them. Finally in mid-October, a doctor told Norden he would be risking permanent injury if he continued to play, so he shut it down for the year and underwent surgery.

The longest Norden was able to play in 2006 was about three-fourths of the game against the University of Cincinnati in Week 5, a 24-10 loss.

"It was very frustrating," he said. "I'd try to give it everything I had, but I can't remember a game where it actually felt good going into it.

"It's been a long process with lots of rehab," Norden added, "but it went well, though it was tough sitting out the offseason, not being able to participate in spring ball."

The injury was in the middle of his foot, Norden explained, to the ligament that holds the big toe and second toe together.

"I have confidence I'll be able to play up to my caliber," he said.

Norden wasn't Miami's only offensive linemen to have his season curtailed by injury. Junior Matt McKeown missed the last four games of 2006, but is back and is projected to start at right guard.

"I think we're going to be a good offensive line if we can stay healthy," Norden said.

He stressed that one of his duties as a team leader will be "to motivate my teammates to work hard and not give up."

All Norden will have to do is point to himself. He's been there.

Contact this reporter at (513) 820-2197 or pconrad@coxohio.com.

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