EVEN HAWAII CAN'T SOOTHE EX-ROYAL STAR SMITH.Byline: Kirby Lee Special to the Daily News
The sunny skies and 80-degree temperatures in Honolulu this week have been the only respite for an otherwise-gloomy junior season for University of Washington cornerback Jermaine Smith.
After missing most of the season with a knee injury, the Royal High graduate returned for the final two regular-season games to help the Huskies (6-5) earn a berth in today's inaugural Oahu Bowl The Oahu Bowl is a now defunct National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I-A college football bowl game played in Honolulu, Hawaii at Aloha Stadium. Played on Christmas Day, the Oahu Bowl was sponsored by Jeep motor company. against Western Athletic Conference The Western Athletic Conference (commonly referred to as the WAC, pronounced "wack") was formed on July 27, 1962, making it the sixth oldest of the 11 college athletic conferences currently participating in the NCAA's Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS; formerly champion Air Force.
Smith, however, is questionable for the game at Aloha Stadium • • [ after spraining his big toe big toe
The largest and innermost toe of the human foot. in the Huskies' first practice in Hawaii last Saturday.
``I haven't had any highlights or big plays,'' Smith said. ``This whole year has been a disaster.''
Smith, one of three returners in the Husky secondary, was expected to contend for All-Pacific-10 Conference honors this fall after a solid sophomore season when he led Washington with a team-high nine pass deflections.
Those hopes were dashed after Smith partially tore his left medial collateral ligament The medial collateral ligament or MCL (or tibial collateral ligament) is one of the four major ligaments of the knee. It is on the medial or inner side of the joint. while jumping for an interception in the fourth game of the season, against Arizona. With Smith watching from the sidelines, the Wildcats rallied for a 31-28 last-minute victory.
``It was hard to take. Everything went downhill after that,'' Smith said. ``The Rose Bowl is always the goal for any Pac-10 team but once you lose, reality sets in. I'd rather go to the Rose Bowl than Hawaii.''
Smith is fortunate to put himself in position to play at all in Honolulu.
Washington trainers initially diagnosed the knee injury as season-ending and advised arthroscopic surgery Arthroscopic Surgery Definition
Arthroscopic surgery is a procedure to visualize, diagnose, and treat joint problems. The name is derived from the Greek words arthron, which means joint, and skopein, which means to look at. to remove torn cartilage. Smith, however, postponed the procedure in hopes of playing again this season.
He sat out five games while undergoing therapy, limited to the role of a spectator at Huskies practices and home games. Equally agonizing was watching Washington's setbacks against USC An abbreviation for U.S. Code. and Oregon in road games on television.
The absence of Smith was felt immediately. The Huskies allowed an average of 198.7 yards with Smith in the lineup; they gave up 331.8 yards in the five games he missed.
``It's frustrating to hear the announcers call it the worst secondary in UW history,'' Smith said. ``I was mad and wanted to put myself in the game.''
His teammates also sensed his frustration. Huskies senior receiver Andre DeSaussure said the squad tried to keep Smith's spirits up through the ordeal.
``It was tough for him,'' said DeSaussure, who attended Royal as a sophomore before transferring to Taft. ``I can't tell you about it. You're going to have to ask him what it's like. We tried to keep motivating him that everything would be OK.''
Things had begun to go awry for Smith several months earlier. In August, his best friend, Mel Miller The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter.
Please help [ improve the introduction] to meet Wikipedia's layout standards. You can discuss the issue on the talk page. , a sophomore cornerback, left the team in protest of a three-game suspension and transferred to Cal State Northridge.
``It's frustrating,'' Smith said. ``Very, very frustrating. There's no one around here that I can talk to. I talk to my parents, but that's about it.''
Smith's father Sam, who has attended about half of Jermaine's games at Washington, urged his son to put his faith in God in an effort to put his troubles behind him during their weekly telephone conversations. Smith will fly from Hawaii to Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. to spend the rest of the holidays with his family following today's game.
``When it rains it pours,'' the elder Smith said. ``It has been that kind of year. It's been like a double slap. He's going to have to learn how to deal with growing pains grow·ing pains
Pains in the limbs and joints of children or adolescents, frequently occurring at night and often attributed to rapid growth but arising from various unrelated causes. and chalk it up as a learning experience.''
For the 5-foot-11, 195-pound Smith, the transition from high school to college football was much smoother.
As a freshman in 1996, Smith started nine of 10 games. He tied for the team lead by breaking up eight passes, including three against Washington State's Ryan Leaf Ryan David Leaf (born May 15, 1976) is a former American football quarterback who played for the San Diego Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks between 1998 and 2002. . As a sophomore, Smith had a 91-yard interception return against Arizona for the second-longest in school history.
Next season, Smith will likely become Washington's career leader in pass deflections. Despite missing most of the season, Smith increased his career total to 21 this fall, only two shy of the all-time record.
Simply being back in the starting lineup For the line of action figures, see .
A starting lineup in sports refers to the set of players actively participating in the event when the game begins. The players in the starting lineup are commonly referred to as starters, whereas the others are substitutes in the opening game next fall would go a long way toward the healing process for Smith, both physically and mentally.
``I'm ready to forget this season and look forward to my senior year,'' Smith said.
Photo: (1--4) AREA STUDENTS PLAYING IN THE OAHU BOWL
From left: Cornerback Jermaine Smith (Royal); halfback half·back
n. Abbr. HB
a. One of the players positioned near the flanks behind the line of scrimmage.
b. The position held by this player.
a. Patrick Reddick and split end Dajuan Hawkins (Newbury Park); and offensive tackle Elliot Silvers (Agoura) are among former Marmonte League standouts on the Washington roster.