When middle linebacker Tom Wort has been healthy, he’s usually been a standout. Early last season against Florida State, Wort came up huge in a 23-13 win. He finished with eight tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and a critical interception that killed a Seminoles drive.
Wort, however, soon encountered a number of injuries, including to his back, ankle and shoulder. Those ailments have carried into this preseason.
“He’s not 100 percent healthy, but we can’t use that as an excuse for him,” said linebackers coach Tim Kish. “It’s not anything surgery wise, it’s just stuff that’s got to heal. And it’s tough to heal when you’re going through camp.”
Kish has been alternating in Jaydan Bird and Frank Shannon at middle linebacker, while trying to get Wort ready for the season. But only a few days into camp, Kish wants to keep Wort as healthy as possible.
“We’re trying to give everybody equal reps to keep him fresh,” Kish said. “At the same time, he needs those reps, so it’s a fine line to how much you involve him in the camp.
“He’s got all kinds of nicks and that’s typical for what you have as a football player. We’re trying to balance that and manage that for him. It’s like the pitcher for the (Washington) Nationals (Stephen Strasburg) – you’re only going to give him so many innings.”