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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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Posted by obronc

2:28 PM, Jun 23, 2008

On an unrelated note, coug hoops open unofficial summer ball.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aWb_gPKK7E

Posted by Gabe

3:53 PM, Jun 23, 2008

Good news on Juan and good news on getting these guys back on the field and out of harm's way. Does this group include the recently graduated high school seniors? The article suggests a lot of what happened in the second half last year was mental and this can be ouvercome, at least in part, by focusing on finishing drills hard in practice. Hope that is right, but I think there was at lot more going on too. The second half disappearing acts were the result of way too many three and outs, and lack of depth on the defense. Then there is the question of the coaching and the conditioning, which will be different this year, and hopefully much improved. I can't get the second half at Hawaii out of my mind. I trust this year they are going to have more gas in the tank in the second half. Jake needs to connect on more mid range passes to keep the d off the field, and these new receivers have to catch the ball. We'll find out pretty quickly how things are going to go this season down at Autzen, where they'll be confronted with a very good defense right out of the box. Speaking of gas in the tank, I'm preparing myself for $5.50 gas, so I expect the team to come mentally prepared as well. It'll be a lot easier to gas up for the return trip if we win the damn game for once. Huskies need to show up with an attitude. If you're going to get spit on you might as well make them pay for it. Troy Must Be Destroyed (ducks definitely demolished)

Posted by Patrick

3:58 PM, Jun 23, 2008

Strength training has never been a particular strength at the UW. Nor, it seems, have the football players been overwhelmingly committed to it for the past few years. I hope that is changing.

Posted by sg

4:39 PM, Jun 23, 2008

Is EJ Savannah able to keep in shape? He's probably losing a lot of strength in the arm but hopefully he can stay in good overall condition somehow.

Posted by Formerly Guest

5:08 PM, Jun 23, 2008

Bob,
along the lines of Patrick's comment, can you give us an idea of how different -if at all - this year is compared to the last few years in terms of-

-are there more unsupervised voluntary work outs going on than in past years, or is this the same?
-is the level of attendance any better/worse?
-is the structure of the supervised work outs any different?

Thanks!

Ted Miller would write each year about how there were a handful of player participating in the summer, and how much babyfat the players had as a result, compared to USC or Oklahoma. I am not sure if he wrote that last year, but I beleive he did in 2005 and 2006, as well as 2004.

Posted by Husky Fan In New York

5:11 PM, Jun 23, 2008

Patrick, I'm pretty sure strength training under James and Lambright was very good and perhaps tops in the Pac-10. I remember all sorts of records being broken and the guys were generally huge. Remember Pete Kaligis?

As for the 4th quarter meltdowns, I don't think a lot of the blame should fall on Greener. #1) Baer's passive defenses led to lots of 7-8+ drives and #2) Hart/Baer barely rotated the DL so they got gassed faster. Lastly, as Gabe pointed out (#3), a lot of 3 and outs by the offense put a lot of pressure on the defense. I know #1 will change and Jake with better accuracy and more consistent running/blocking should change #3 though #2 remains to be seen. Donatell should let Hart know unequivocally that a DL rotation (and some LB too) is vital.

Posted by Formerly Guest

5:23 PM, Jun 23, 2008

Here is a link from cnn.si that details a little further the case of the guy who had his scholarship offer pulled by Oregon:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/andy_staples/06/20/notebook.0620/1.html

Posted by John

5:39 PM, Jun 23, 2008

Patrick, do you have a reason for that statement or did you pull it from your lower intestine?

Posted by BoiseTruth

5:41 PM, Jun 23, 2008


Good link FG. Here's one on the same subject. Pat Hill, from Fresno State, gets on a roll about questionable recruiting practices. Pat Hill's a character, gotta love him.

http://www.mercedsunstar.com/194/story/315418.html

Posted by merseybeat

5:51 PM, Jun 23, 2008

E.J. could do plenty of stuff to keep him in so so shape but what a strange way to get an injury

Posted by mutt

8:44 PM, Jun 23, 2008

Got our bases covered.....oh, OK! Maybe that's the problem with this coaching staff, they think their coaching baseball, News Flash, Locker been making alot of baskets today too?

Posted by jed

8:59 PM, Jun 23, 2008

I tend to agree with Patrick's comment at least as it applies to the Neuheisel and Gilby years. I believe the O-line during Gilby's last year may have been physically the weakest OL I can remember in many years. Without question not on a level with the other Pac-10 teams. I think the 2001 Rose Bowl team OL benefited a huge amount from Tui's ability at deception in the backfield; his ability to create running lanes with ball fakes, timing and ultimately his own running ability. The defenses were constantly off balance and back on their heels. Dixon at Oregon had that ability last year.

My memory is a little fuzzy on this but I think Chad Ward was the best O-lineman on the Rose Bowl team or came out the next year. He was taken by Jacksonville( ?sixth round). They really needed some help on the OL and were hoping they had gotten a steal with Chad to help out. He didn't make it out of training camp before he was cut.

We have had guys like Olin Kreutz and Benji Olsen who were simply outstanding but there was a period where the team seemed to emphasize size over everything else. Chad Ward is that type of player. Strength, quickness, good feet, good balance and a mean streak are all more important than weight alone especially if the weight is loaded with fat.

I have great hopes for the current OL. How they perform will have more to do with how the year goes than anything else with the possible exception of team altering injuries.

Posted by Bob Condotta

9:07 PM, Jun 23, 2008

To answer a few questions:

--- I assume Savannah can at least do cardiovascular work and anything with legs. But his overall conditioning will be an issue when he comes back as there is no way to stay in completely top shape when unable to use one arm.

--- Since this is the first day of the summer program it's really hard to make any comparisons. I'll try to check in again in a few weeks to assess if this year seems much different than other years, though to be frank, it's not like I've ever really watched it a whole lot. Usually just once or twice at the most.

--- I don't think the number of voluntary workouts would be much different, although I don't really know --- again, this is the first day of it. But it's never really been about the amount of workouts but how many guys show up and how committed they are when they do show up. All indications are that the commitment is a lot better now than it was a few years ago.

-- Greener indicated that the overall structure of the workouts is no different than in the past. He was the strength coach for the really good Oregon State teams under Dennis Erickson so I think he has a right to think that his way of doing things works.

Posted by Formerly Guest

9:08 PM, Jun 23, 2008

Jed,
Intersting thoughts. I was gone from 1996-2001, so I missed that rose bowl season, although I saw that rose bowl game.

Like Dixon, I agreee that Tui really had a special talent for making everyone else around him 10x better.

That having been said, I think Ted Miller has written that that was still a very good and underrated line we had on that team. I usually think he knows his stuff.

I am curious what other hardcore fans feel about your theory.

Posted by ND lost to navy...F-ing NAVY!!!

10:10 PM, Jun 23, 2008

jed,

From an article in the PI in 2003 (http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/huskies/135631_husk19.html)

"Terry Johnson cleaned 420 pounds -- nine pounds short of former 330-pound UW lineman Chad Ward's school record."

Chad Ward may not have made it in the league, but he was not baby fat. I believe he holds several lifting records at UW, and is one of the strongest players ever to pass through Montlake (combined bench and squat). However, football is not lifting.

Posted by Patrick

9:17 AM, Jun 24, 2008

I believe that the only PAC-10 school that requires football players to be registered for summer school is USC. Specifically, I know that all new recruits must arrive early. "Voluntary workouts"???
USC also has a renowned strength program; which is featured in their recruiting.
In recent years, WAZZU has also become known for its strength program and I understand that they get a near complete commitment, from heir football players, for their summer program.
In contrast, Cal, Stanford and the UW have not been been known for the quality of their strength programs. Hopefully, that is now changing at the UW. In addition, as indicated by the discipline handed out to quite a few football players last fall for arriving at camp in poor shape (remember?), there has recently been a commitment problem. Again, I hope that has changed. I hope that the ALL of the UW football players are FINALLY buying in. But, are they? Please note Bob's comments above.

Posted by mutt

9:40 AM, Jun 24, 2008

I thought Wazzu idea of working out was lifting beer cans,chasing sheep around for sex, holding their breath smoking dope..

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