Freshmen must work to get acclimated

Director of Skill Development Parker Whiteman works with the incoming freshmen as soon as he can. Read on to see what that work entails, their biggest obstacle, and more.

One of the biggest obstacles that Director of Skill Development Parker Whiteman deals with is getting the freshmen initiated into the strength and conditioning program.

In order to make this easier, the incoming players are sent information, workouts, and more as soon as they are eligible to receive it.

"We can't officially send them anything until they are signed, but as soon as they are signed, we send them a lifting workout and conditioning and then we send them a whole packet about 8 weeks out from when they are going to report," Whiteman said. "Most guys report the first of June and then the rest of them like the first week of July."

When they arrive on campus, the freshmen are greeted with the reality that what they saw in words may not be what they now have to actually participate in.

"The biggest thing for them is conditioning because that is probably the biggest setback for them when they get here," Whiteman said. "You can talk to them and tell them about it, but until they experience it, they have no idea how fast Rich Rod wants to run the offense, defense, special teams, and just everything in general. That is what we try to mimic in the weight room."

In addition, Whiteman says that numerous high schools run successful strength and conditioning programs. However, there are others that are not as successful and those make it a bit more difficult for the players to get comfortable right away.

"A lot of guys get in these strength and conditioning programs in high school and they are not necessarily the best programs," he said. "I tell the guys when they come in here, technique is number one.

"They have to make sure that whatever they do for the front side of the body they are doing for the backside of the body, so they don't get injured when they get here."

The freshmen are not the only ones that may have difficulty getting acclimated. Although Rich Rodriguez has a ton of respect from those around him, the staff also knows that he is not happy unless everything is perfect.

"That is something that every practice we have had, we are used to hearing that and that motivates us," Whiteman said. "We let the kids know too because I don't think there is ever that point where he is going to be satisfied with the team as a whole.

"There may be certain positions that are in good shape, but if we get him to a point where he thinks they are good, he is going to push them to the next level and that takes us to another realm too."

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