COLLEGE PARK - During the season, Maryland left guard Todd Wike is as sturdy as they come, having started 32 of the Terps' past 33 games.
Try as he might, however, the senior hasn't had much luck with uninterrupted preseason camps, mostly because of dehydration that leads to cramping. He missed three practices earlier this week.
"So far, I've only had two IVs," he said, considering the figure a small one relative to his first four years here. "Last year, I had one almost every day during the first two weeks of practice."
Simply put, Wike sweats more than anyone he knows, by his estimation, dating to his days as an athlete in Lebanon, Pa. When he arrived at Maryland in 1998, he said he lost 10 to 12 pounds every practice on humid days with temperatures that went beyond the 90-degree mark.
"I was wondering what I was doing," Wike said of the earlier years before he made some changes that have made fall camp a little easier. "This year, it wasn't that bad. Not as much of a problem as last year."
"He can be counted on to sweat a lot more than the others," said Maryland trainer Sandy Worth, who is unsure why that is the case. "We've tried some different things, and we haven't hit on the solution."
Other players have had problems with the heat, too. Center Kyle Schmitt and his backup, Ed Tyler, were lost to cramping during Saturday's afternoon practice, leaving the Terps to work with a scout team player at that position. Slot back Rich Parsons also had to leave practice earlier in the week.
Yesterday's mid-afternoon session notwithstanding, coach Ralph Friedgen has tried to arrange the times to avoid the heat as much as possible. For instance, the past three practices originally scheduled for the late afternoon were switched to the evening. This morning's practice will begin at 8 a.m.
Stops for water have broken up the flow of some practices here, so as not to wear players out. "We've gotta be careful," the coach said. "If my guys go down, it's self-defeating."
Once the practices go to once a day, Wike says that the problem goes away. For now, he has taken steps to ease the burden. He uses what he calls "Gatorlytes," an electrolyte supplement that he takes with a sports drink in hopes of limiting the amount of weight he loses, and he tries to put extra salt on his food in order to retain water.
He also decided to come into camp heavier. He reported Aug. 10 at 305 pounds - 15 pounds over last year's weight - hoping to play at 295.
"Usually, I come in 5 to 10 pounds heavier," he said, "because I know I'm going to lose all that weight through sweat."
Henderson `getting there'
The recovery of middle linebacker and All-American E.J. Henderson seems to be complete, if his coaches' comments are any indication.
Defensive coordinator Gary Blackney described the senior from Aberdeen as "being back to his old self." In April, Henderson underwent surgery on his back, but he is no longer wearing the black jersey that precluded him from hitting in practices earlier this week.
"He doesn't look like he's having any residual effects from the back [surgery]," Blackney said.
Henderson said he's not through with his comeback just yet. "Not quite there," he said, "but I'm getting there.`
Tyler suffered a broken right fibula in Wednesday evening's practice and is expected to be sidelined about two weeks. ... Redshirt freshman Mario Merrills (Wilde Lake) suffered a dislocated shoulder yesterday but is expected to return in a few days.