Of the lousy luck Maryland encountered with its offensive line class of 2007, the absolute worst was dealt to Tyler Bowen.
His problems weren’t for lack of talent. Or for an inability to stay in school.
But like a fair number of big guys, his feet just couldn’t handle his huge frame, and that’s why the redshirt sophomore decided this week to call it a career.
“He came in the other day [and] he felt like he just couldn’t do this and I agreed with him,” coach Ralph Friedgen said. “Really, it’s more concern with whether he’s able to walk later in life. What we’re going to do with Tyler is he’s going to be a student coach.”
That could prove to be the best outcome considering the chronic injuries that constantly left Bowen in a walking boot the last two seasons. He played in the James Madison and Middle Tennessee games as a reserve, then sat out Saturday’s loss to Rutgers.
But a coaching role could do everyone some good in the program. Just last Thursday, Bowen spent a fair amount of time explaining technique and footwork to freshman Nick Klemm as the Terps did some of their scrimmage work before media members were booted from the session.
“He’ll do very well at that,” offensive line coach Tom Brattan said. “Sharp guy, hard working. If he wants to do that, I think he’ll be very good. I feel really bad for him because he really enjoys playing. When he’s healthy, I think he’s a viable Division I football player. But he can never practice right now because of the foot.”
So viable that he almost certainly would have played a lot. At 6-foot-6 and 305 pounds, Bowen was in the mix early in camp at right tackle before the painful foot issues resumed. Maryland even tried to find a way for him to practice every other day, but the injuries persisted enough to lead to a premature end to his career.
“He’s going to be connected with the program,” Friedgen said. “I really want him to be connected with the program because he’s such a great kid. He’s been playing with a lot of pain. To me, right now he’d probably be our starting right tackle right now if he was healthy. But he isn’t. I just want to keep him around our guys, to be honest with you.”
—- Patrick Stevens