This story was sponsored by the following company for the enjoyment of Bearcat fans.
On this dark rainy day in early March, the University of Cincinnati football team went through their paces as they prepared for the upcoming spring practice season. With spring break just a few days away, many of the Bearcats are getting ready to get rid of the shorts and sweatshirts for some real pads and contact.
"I think the fellows are ready to do some hitting right now." Said Bearcat defensive tackle Terrill Byrd after the team had finished up on the Nippert Stadium turf.
Players were broke down in position groups to go through the many different running, stretching and other drills allowed by the NCAA during this second session of the week. The Bearcats get together three times a week for these drills. Monday's and Friday's start at 6:00 a.m. while Wednesday's workout gets an afternoon feel at 3:30 p.m. inside Nippert Stadium.
Linebacker Andre Revels is looking ready to battle for some major playing time this spring.
While most of the college football world uses high dollar indoor practice facilities to hold these workouts, Coach Dantonio and his staff have found the could winter mornings and rainy afternoons to be a challenge for their young team. Toughness has always been a way to describing the type of players Coach Dantonio has recruited. Winter workouts show why players must not only be physically tough, but also mentally tough if they have any hope of success in the Bearcats system.
Tight End Brent Celek will be looked to be a team leader on and off the field. As always, Brent shows why he loves to play the game of football.
With steam coming off the heads and out of the mouths of players and coaches, drills are done in a timely fashion leaving no stone unturned. Players who are being held out with injuries are dressed in yellow jerseys and do the drills they are able to perform. Coaches don't take it easy on the players as each one works his group until the next period sounds to begin.
Junior College offensive lineman Ken Rodriguez is learning fast on his feet as he prepares for his first spring practice as a Bearcat.
These workouts are only a small part of what being a college football player is about. Work in the weight room is also of importance if a player expects to have a chance to play when the real action begins in the next few weeks.
But just as Wednesday proved, coaches and players have learned to bear the elements of Mother Nature and use the weather as their tool for their toughness. While some players wear sweatshirts and sweatpants, others go for shorts and t-shirts. Still, for some of those who are just getting use to the Ohio weather or who are looking to avoid catching a cold, winter head gear makes the perfect fashion statement.
The Bearcats have only a few more winter workouts ahead of them before spring break begins. Then the real action will start to take place as the start of spring practice will again prove what players have done the work needed to help earn a chance to start next fall when the Bearcats open the 2006 season.
Who is the masked man?
It's Junior College offensive lineman Mario Duenas trying to keep warm on this wet damp day
After the session had ended, Coach Dantonio spoke to his team at midfield. During this short talk, he stressed a few simple things needed to be done by players who want to be part of his program. He spoke about the importance of getting the job done on and off the field and how toughness would be a staple of his program.
The ground work is starting to be set by several of the younger players to make giant strides in trying to become key members of the 2006 Bearcats team. Bearcat Insider is looking forward to bringing Bearcat football fans as much spring coverage as possible ending with the spring game in mid April. This should be a very interesting spring for many.
I would like to thank Coach Dantonio and his staff for allowing Bearcat Insider into their winter workouts. During our time there we came away with a few more stories that will follow in the coming days. New Bearcats quarterback coach Dave Warner spoke with BCI about his move to the Bearcats program and the players who will be fighting for the starting position this spring. We also spoke with Terrill Byrd about his first year as a college player and some of the news that's be coming out about his work in the weight room. We also went right to the strength of the Bearcats athletic program and spoke with Head Strength Coach Tim Swanger about the changes going on at UC and how some of the football players did this past winter. So stay tuned for this and more in the coming weeks. Coach Swanger will also be sending BCI all the top weight room performers in the coming weeks for official release.