Husky Football Blog
Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.
July 10, 2008 1:08 PM
Posted by Bob Condotta
When Trent Greener, Washington's sports performance coach, told me I could attend one of the football team's summer conditioning sessions, it seemed like a generous offer until I realized what it meant --- getting up at 5:30 or so to make the 7 a.m. start.
But hey, if they can do it all summer, I can do it once, so Wednesday I rolled out of bed at an hour usually reserved this time of year only for sleep or golf and headed up to UW to give some of you who have asked about these sessions an idea of what they are like.
As I wrote here last month when conditioning kicked off, the players usually work out four days a week (NCAA rules limit it to eight hours a week), two hours at a time.
Generally, they are split into two groups --- skill position players in one, linemen in the other --- one doing stretching and running in the Dempsey Indoor while the other lifts weights in the weight room.
That's how it was Wednesday with the skill guys going first in Dempsey and the others in the weight room, then switching after about an hour.
The conditioning started with about 10 minutes of stretching, then a lot of sprinting and agility drills under the supervision of trainers. One set consisted of 10 different exercises -- 40-yard sprints, 10-yard sprints, backpedals, lateral shuttle-type drills, etc. --- with brief breaks in between.
Then there was more sprinting, backpedaling, etc., until I got tired just watching it all --- or maybe the coffee just hadn't kicked in yet.
I realize it's almost becoming a cliche to write something positive about Jake Locker, but the reality was that he seemed to come in first in an awful lot of the sprints I watched.
Then the groups switched, the skill guys lifting, the linemen, uh, sprinting. The linemen's drills looked a little different than those of the skill guys --- a bit more emphasis on backpedaling in a stance off the line, that sort of thing.
There were 50-60 guys there or so. I didn't see any of the new guys because they go in the afternoon, their day pretty structured around the freshmen bridge program. The vets do their work in the early morning to allow for flexible schedules the rest of the day.
I didn't really take roll and while there were a few guys not there, it's not fair for me to name any since they could have perfectly valid reasons for not being there that I don't know about.
But some of the guys who were there made an impression.
Donald Butler definitely looks the part of a Pac-10 linebacker as I'm not sure he could fit in the front seat of my Hyundai Elantra with those shoulders.
Kalani Aldrich also really passes the eye test these days and the 240 he is listed at seems more than accurate --- he said late last season he lost a little weight struggling to adapt to the food here compared to his native Hawaii.
Johnie Kirton, now listed at 296 pounds, seemed to move around just fine and was getting in some extra weight-lifting work with Greener as I left.
Darrion Jones also looks like someone you really wouldn't want to say a bad word and ready to finally live up to some of the expectations generated when he was one of only two players who played as true freshmen in 2005.
Chris Stevens is the early leader in the "added facial hair'' category for the off-season, sporting a bushy beard that I figure won't make it far into August. Or maybe it's simply part of Stevens' continual attempts to put on more weight.
Anthony Boyles was hitting the weights hard, working in the same group with Locker, who was playfully egging him on throughout. Locker also led the cheers of "c'mon Chuck'' during Charles Hawkins' turn at the weights.
There were others, but I was moving back and forth and talking to people, as well, so I didn't write down something about everybody who was there, so don't read anything into me not mentioning someone.
A general observation would be that the Huskies look a little more like what you would expect a major college football team to look like than they have in some recent seasons. But who knows how much that will mean come August. Every time I'm told how hard a team has worked in the off-season I remember that every other team did roughly the same thing. So we'll see.
But as I was leaving there, I was reminded of that old military commercial --- these guys did more exercise by 9 a.m. than I'll do all summer.