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Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.

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June 23, 2008 1:18 PM

Summer conditioning kicks off

Posted by Bob Condotta

I'm not sure Trent Greener, Washington's head sports performance coach, ever has any down moments. His relentless enthusiasm might even wear out Jack LaLanne.

But Greener was particularly chipper today as the Huskies kicked off their summer conditioning program at 7 a.m. at the Dempsey Indoor.

Though truth be told, Greener really sees this more as a continuation of the off-season program that began the week after spring ball ended.

"I say we are in week seven since it's seven weeks out from spring football,'' he said.

But today was a little more special since it marked the return of players for the summer from a week off last week, as well as an optional week during finals the week prior.

"We gave them last off and now we're kicking it again,'' he said.

The players will typically meet Monday-Thursday at the Dempsey Indoor at 7 a.m. (roll call is at 6:55 a.m.) for a two-hour workout. NCAA rules limit teams to just eight hours of official workouts during the summer and most teams turn that into four two-hour days per week. Some weeks could look a little different, with a Friday mixed in (and another day during the week taken off). And at times the team will go into Husky Stadium, as well.

Typically, the team will split in half, with linemen doing conditioning and running first for 45 minutes to an hour, then lifting weights, and the skill position players going in the alternate order. Those orders will be reversed regularly to mix it up. Going early in the morning allows for players to take summer school classes if needed, or work jobs and internships.

Most players will then return in the afternoon (typically around 4 p.m.) for voluntary seven-on-seven workouts that are not allowed to be overseen by any university personnel. The team will hold to that schedule until July 24-25 when the players will be given a final week off before returning for the start of practice Aug. 4 (with official reporting dates a day or two ahead of that). NCAA rules mandate that teams must have a certain number of non-mandatory weeks during the summer.

Greener said he's pleased with the overall conditioning of the team and said the attitude toward doing the work has been good since the end of last season.

Still, he said things can always get better. The Huskies had some well-chronicled second-half meltdowns last season (being outscored 139-94 in the fourth quarter and 224-163 in the second half), something that the coaches and training staff are emphasizing this off-season. Greener said he thinks the team had the proper conditioning to finish out games last season but maybe needed to be a little stronger mentally.

"We're never going to change what we do because we've got our bases covered,'' he said. "I feel really good about that. But we've just got to do it a little bit better. So if we keep working on that, with more time under tension, we are going to be okay.

". ... There's nobody that doesn't look at that and say 'hey, what could we have done better?' So we talk about that stuff as a staff and what we can do in this area, and every area, to improve. That's something we talked about in the winter and again in May, being able to finish. When we are running our last drills, we have to make sure we are mentally focused that 'hey, did I give everything?' Because if you only went 90 percent, maybe you got beat on that. That's what we are trying to emphasize mentally, because at a certain point, it's the neck and above. We want them to focus on that stuff. The mind is a very powerful thing, so we're sending that positive message to be a finisher and a closer. Even if you are tired, you still have to give effort. I want fatigue to be our ally. Everybody is going to get tired. It's the guys who know how to deal with it late in the game and late in the season who tend to win those games.''

Among those in attendance today was center Juan Garcia, who continues to be progressing well from his foot injury --- he is scheduled to be evaluated again in the next week. He is limited in what he can do and coaches want to make sure he doesn't try to do too much too soon. But as Greener said "he was in here smashing today.'' (QB Jake Locker, back from a week playing baseball, was also there).

Also back today in the weight room were former Huskies Louis Rankin and Greyson Gunheim, in town for a little while between breaks in practice sessions with the Raiders --- each signed as an undrafted free agent with Oakland.

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