Tigers Hit Summer Conditioning Head On

CLEMSON - While the start of the 2006 college football season is still more than two months away, it's not like the Clemson football team is sitting around waiting for August to get here. In fact, it's almost the exact opposite.

In today's world of high profile college football, players are constantly working on improving their game, even during the off-season. Whether that means hitting the weight room, working on conditioning or studying the playbook between classes, any kind of edge that can be gained in the summer can be worth gold in the months of September, October and November.

And at Clemson, it's no different.

In fact, a quick check on the team right now would reveal the kind of workout regiment that would make the average fan breakout in a sweat just reading about it.

Case in point: on Wednesday, June 14 the team was working on its conditioning by running the steps in Death Valley right in the middle of 92 degree heat.

And that's just the beginning.

"We've probably got 99% of the guys here going through everything right now," starting quarterback Will Proctor said of summer conditioning. "It's good because it obviously helps you get ready for the season and the start of practice in August."

A typical week during the month of June consists of a series of voluntary workouts, with three days set aside for weight training and two days set aside for team (7-on-7) and individual drills. The individual position drills are usually led by the starter at that position.

For instance, Proctor obviously leads the quarterbacks, Thomas Hunter would lead the tight ends and so on and so forth. And while the Clemson coaching staff is not allowed to be there to monitor these workouts, much can be gained as the team prepares for the upcoming season.

"We work on everything," Proctor said. "From timing with receivers, to plays to technique. We are doing a lot of things right now ... more than we ever have."

Beginning in July at the start of the second summer session, most of the freshmen class will report and begin working out with the rest of the team. This allows first year players to get a head start on learning the playbook and also in getting accustomed to college life in general.

Of course Proctor, who is long since removed from being a freshman, finds himself in a unique situation compared to his previous four years at Clemson.

Instead of being the backup quarterback behind Charlie Whitehurst or Willie Simmons, he's now the starter.

"It's different," he said. "But I'm ready for it. I'm ready for the season to get here. We've got almost all of our offensive line coming back, as well as our receivers and backs. I'm just ready for it all to get here."

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