MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- A three-inch scar cuts down Dustin Garrison's left knee, red and fibrous.
Time, it appears, nearly has healed the wound that ended the freshman running back's season.
Some five months after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in the days leading up to the Orange Bowl, Garrison met with reporters for the first time since the injury Tuesday.
An unbridled smile framed every word as he disclosed that his rehab is on schedule and that he plans to start climbing back up the depth chart at running back when preseason arrives in August.
"I don't want [the coaches] to put me up top. I want to earn my way up top," said Garrison.
"I'm so excited. I enjoy everything about the game of football."
Garrison said he has been running full speed with teammates in offseason conditioning runs and expects to start making some cuts by July before working his way back to 100 percent.
The experience, he said, was humbling.
The injury -- which also included a sprained medial collateral ligament -- happened on a routine carry in practice two days after arriving in South Florida following his breakout freshman season.
The moment played over in his mind more times than he could count.
"Too many times," said Garrison. "It was a freak accident. It took one step. I was talking with a friend of mine from back home, you can make that same move every time, it just takes that one time."
He watched his team dismantle Clemson, 70-33, leaning on crutches on the sideline, wondering what he might have contributed.
Teammate Terence Garvin, also injured, saw his friend on the bus on the way to the stadium and offered him some support.
"He saw me looking out the window so depressed," said Garrison.
"He grabbed my shoulder and told me. 'It's gonna be all right. We'll get our chance again.' He knew exactly how I felt.
"We stood on the sidelines together and watched the game. It was hard, but, at the same time, we had to be positive."
As one of the last major college programs to handle its own third-tier media rights, which includes things from stadium signage to radio-TV contract rights not owned by the Big 12, West Virginia is in the process of potentially farming that out.
According to athletic director Oliver Luck, the school has reached out to the marketplace requesting proposals to gauge interest.
The rights are currently managed by the Mountaineer Sports Network.
"We've always done it in house," said Luck.
West Virginia players have been dabbling in boxing to help with footwork as part of the team's conditioning regimen this summer.
"It really helps you get your feet," said defensive lineman Will Clarke.
They're not squaring off against each other, but pounding boxing bags and practicing quickness.
"It really keeps the blood flowing," said defensive lineman Imarjaye Albury, a freshman who enrolled in January.
First Published June 13, 2012 12:00 AM