Flash is back for O'Gorman

Huskies' leading tailback picks up pace for senior season

By Kevin Mitchell, The StarPhoenixAugust 22, 2009

Tyler O'Gorman ran with the Huskies track team in the off-season to regain his burst

Tyler O'Gorman ran with the Huskies track team in the off-season to regain his burst
Photograph by: SP Photo by Liam Richards, The StarPhoenix

Tyler O'Gorman spent his summer seeking the lost gear that eluded him all of 2008.

The University of Saskatchewan Huskies tailback dropped a step off his normal pace last year while recovering from surgery to repair a torn knee ligament. But he says some of the blame rests with him.

"I didn't work as hard on speed and conditioning in the off-season as I should have," O'Gorman said Friday. "That was on me and it was reflected in my play."

So this off-season, O'Gorman went the extra mile. He went to the gym at 6:30 a.m., then to work for eight hours, then ran with the Huskies track team at night.

He dropped 10 pounds and added speed. O'Gorman didn't take part in the 40-yard dash during physical testing last year, but he says now he would have logged somewhere between 4.85 and 4.9 seconds.

This week, he covered the distance in 4.63.

"For me, being a fifth-year, it's that desperation mode," said the senior. "I have no more football after this; I have 13 games left in my career (including an exhibition game and playoffs). There's no going back. I don't want to look back at my career and say 'Why didn't I do more?' I probably overtrained some nights, but I made that commitment and it's paid off so far."

O'Gorman, who was outstanding in 2006, missed all but the tail end of 2007 with the torn ACL -- suffered while playing pickup basketball during a school break.

O'Gorman logged 109 carries for 582 yards and a touchdown last season, an average of 64.7 yards per game.

In 2006, he rushed for 139, 140 and 162 yards in Saskatchewan's first three playoff games. He led all runners with 81 rushing yards in Saskatchewan's frigid-weather loss to Laval in the Vanier Cup national final.

"Tyler's (long removed from) surgery now, so we expect to see the Tyler O'Gorman we saw in 2006, before he got hurt," said Huskies coach Brian Towriss. "He was outstanding, really."

O'Gorman enters the season as Saskatchewan's No. 1 tailback. Mark Klause, a third-year player who was a top-end recruit coming out of Aden Bowman Collegiate, backs him up. Towriss says it's time for Klause to step up and flash his sizable talents.

The team is also high on Jeff Hassler, who was one of the top recruits this off-season. He has a tweaked hamstring and may see limited action the next few days. They've moved Connor Lutz from defensive back to tailback and Towriss says he could be "one of our camp surprises."

Tailback Dathan Thomas -- who was an MVP candidate last season before tearing his MCL, ACL, LCL and hamstring during a mid-season game in Winnipeg -- was suited up in full gear and took part in non-contact drills as camp practice sessions kicked off Friday. He doubts he'll be able to play this season, but he can't keep the uniform off.

"It's very, very questionable," Thomas said of his status. "If I do play, it would not be any time soon.

"I miss it. It's hard sitting out. It drives me crazy sitting here watching."

He grinned.

"I don't know if the trainers are really excited about what I'm doing . . ."

Camp sessions resume with two-a-days today at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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