The Sweep

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Case Western Reserve QB Dan Whalen is dealing with a
hamstring injury.
Courtesy of Dan Whalen

Dan Whalen, an SI summer intern, is the starting quarterback for Division III Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He will blog about life in D-III every week.

Since the beginning of camp we've had at least a dozen hamstring injuries. Pulls, strains, tears, you name it. So it was a bit ironic that I talked about getting over those types of problems in my pre-game speech last weekend, only to suffer a hamstring injury against Kenyon College.   

In the second quarter, I went around the right side on a play-action pass and felt my leg give out on the sideline. We were up 21-0 at the time, so it didn't worry me that much about the game, but I was ticked that in my first game of the year I may have put myself on the bench for a while.  

We ended up scoring 62 points en route to an easy win, so the ride home wasn't as bad as it could have been. But I found myself thinking about a few interesting things which took place between this year and last, that if they hadn't, we may have found ourselves in a much different locker room Saturday afternoon.

Joe Baum, our backup sophomore quarterback, had his bags packed, ready to leave Case and transfer to Georgetown -- even having paid his deposit at the end of last school year.  I could almost see the exhaust coming from his car as it rode away. Yet, for some reason, following a few words from me, our quarterbacks and perhaps a few others, Joe called us with the good news one day over the summer that he was sticking around.  Music to these ears.  Other than me and Joe, at the time we had no quarterbacks on the roster, and no offense to the two freshmen we picked up this year, but I don't think the two of them are ready to win a big game at the college level.  

There are other Division III schools that carry as many as 15 quarterbacks, some probably have more. We had ONE at one point this summer. If I was to go down with let's say, a pulled hamstring, that would leave us with zero.

The worst thought that went through my mind as I sat in the front seat of my mom's SUV on the way home (I had to keep my leg extended and the bus just wouldn't do it), was the thought of our season being a huge disappointment. I'm not insinuating in any way that with me going down that our season would immediately follow suit, but any team with just one quarterback is unlikely to survive longer than a few games. Luckily, we have two guys that are more than capable. Joe has worked his butt off to get smarter on the field and stronger physically. I'd have no problem handing the reigns to him in the case that I couldn't play.  

With that, I put my headphones in, listened to a little Jack Johnson, and blocked out all of those thoughts, because I knew that if I worked hard enough and listened to what the doctors said, that I'd be good to go in a week or two. And if I wasn't, Joey Baum would be taking snaps like he was the starter all along. Fortunately, I've been spending every waking hour in the training room and should be ready to Saturday against Rochester.

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