Tigers Setting Records in the Weight Room

While two-a-days in the August heat are difficult to withstand, many football players will say that going through mat drills in February are equally as difficult, if not more so.

This is the time when leaders jump to the forefront and pretenders fall to the side.

And that's exactly what's happening currently with Clemson.

The Tigers are in the midst of going through very strenuous times as they try to get themselves into condition prior to the start of spring practice, which begins on March 4.

The players wake up at 5 a.m., and start working out 45 minutes later. They then eat, go to class all day, eat dinner, study and then go to bed. Making matters even more difficult is they also workout with weights on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

At least in the summer, there are only one or two classes a player has to worry about, not three, four or five.

"We're doing this to try and achieve mental toughness," said offensive guard Roman Fry, who was named to the All-ACC Second Team in 2005. "But, by the time you get done doing all that, you're pretty taxed at night."

But by all accounts, this particular session of mat drills has been a good one for the Tigers. Fry said that as of Monday, roughly 300 personal best records have been set in the weight room.

Even so, it's still been a grueling couple of weeks, which is exactly what the coaching staff wants.

"It's always difficult, no matter how you prepare for it," Fry said. "It builds mental toughness, but it's a lot harder on the younger guys who have never done it before. Their bodies aren't used to have to go at level. When you're a senior and you've been doing it for four or five years, it's a lot easier. That's what they want to happen. You want your older guys to emerge as leaders and that's what has happened. You find out who you're going to be able to count on."

Thus far, Fry said leaders are popping up everywhere. He also said it's become some blatantly obvious as to which players are going to guide this team. Fry added that he can even tell which guys are blooming into leaders on defense, which works out in different stations than the offense.

One of the guys stepping forward is senior cornerback Duane Coleman, who has generally been seen as a loose cannon. Apparently, that's not the case any more. Coaches and players alike like what they see out of him.

"You look around and see guys step up and Duane has definitely done that," Fry said. "I think he's doing a good job. I'm on offense, but I can tell if a guy on another part is picking it up and doing something. That says a lot when I'm on offense and I can tell another guy on defense is working his butt off. That's how you get leaders. We've had a lot of guys step up in a lot of ways."

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