BC'S Herzlich works toward full strength

If you haven't done so already, check out colleague Ivan Maisel's story on Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich, who has courageously battled back from cancer to put himself in position to return to the field this season.

The 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year had Ewing's sarcoma in his left leg, but went through treatment and is practicing with the team this spring, doing pretty much everything but full contact. Herzlich had a titanium rod inserted in his leg, and while his left leg looks fine, it remains much weaker than his right.

What did that mean on the football field? It meant he could run fast straight ahead. But if he had to plant that left leg or move laterally, his body did not flow. It is the difference in strength between the left leg and the right.

"You make up for it mentally," Herzlich said. "The other leg kind of makes up for it. That's what I need to get away from, because my right leg has been taking more of the load than the left leg. I just have to make sure they balance out. My right leg feels fine but it's kind of an injury waiting to happen if you keep playing like that and don't address it."

Herzlich talks about his doubters, who use phrases like "We hope you can make it back." In his mind, there's no question about whether he'll play this fall.

"It's always good to have hope," he said. "At the same time, it's not like it's just going to happen. I've got to make it happen."

Don't bet against him.