Offseason Conditioning Winds Down

With the football season fast approaching Iowa State is winding down its eight week summer strength and conditioning program. For several seasons it's been Matt McGettigan's job to make sure the Cyclones are in top playing shape when two-a-days roll around in August.

For the last seven weeks there hasn't been a lot of down time for Matt McGettigan – he's been busy running the Cyclones' summer strength and conditioning program.

The program began June 6 and will culminate next Monday, July 25.

"A lot of guys have put in a lot of effort and time and now we have to finish it up through this week and then give them little rest," McGettigan said. "It's been a productive summer. The leadership has been outstanding. Great teams that are successful they have to be player led and not coach led and we're getting to the point where guys are taking charge of things and doing it, so that's been good."

Four days a week the ISU football team trains for next season, by doing different workouts each day.

On Monday the Cyclones' work on lateral speed and agility; they begin working on the field by doing movement work and then the finish the sessions by lifting the lower body.

Tuesday is an upper body lifting day, followed by temple running. Temple running is a combination of forward and backward running at a set speed, which is repeated.

Wednesday is an off day, but players can come in on their own and work on their hip mobility, movement and strength if they choose too.

Linear movements are the focus of Thursday's sessions. This includes straight ahead acceleration followed by a lower lifting day.

The players finish up on Friday with upper body lifting and interval conditioning.

McGettigan said the vast majority of players have had a good summer.

"I can't just pick one," McGettigan said. "There's a lot of guys who have outstanding summers. We have a number of guys who have done a good job and have made progress."

Along with the returning players, newcomers have a chance to become acclimated to the ISU program. JUCO transfer Walter Nickel is going through this second conditioning program with the Cyclones after arriving this winter.

"He's improved, he's working hard," McGettigan said. "It's only his second training period as far as any consistency, so he'd done a good job and had a good summer."

Joining Nickel from Dixie State College are twins Scott and Paul Fisher, Scott also went through winter workouts, but Paul didn't arrive in Ames until June.

"[Paul] has made progress, but still has a ways to go, but he has gotten better," McGettigan said.

Many of the newcomers have been in and out of the weight room, a few spending time in Ames this summer include: James Smith, Brice Beck, A.J. Haase, Trent Flander, Thomas Patton, Trent Flander, Marquis Hamilton, Jason Harris, Houston Jones and Tyrone McKenzie.

"We had about 18-20 guys here at least some of the time," McGettigan said.

Rather than training each athlete for their positions, McGettigan said they focus on training the players as athletes and by what's best for them individually.

Over the summer they've been working with quarterback Bret Meyer to improve his strength.

"We've really just worked on getting him physically stronger from the ground up," McGettigan said. "Meaning when you hear quarterback you think – arm strength, arm strength. Well really arm strength is really power from the ground up, so we work a lot on leg strength with him. We do a lot of medicine ball rotational work with all of our players and we do that with him. Really with Bret it's just getting him stronger and increasing his lean body mass."

With Austin Flynn moving from quarterback to wide receiver, McGettigan said they've just been trying to get Flynn in good playing shape.

"Austin now has a chance to run routes so conditioning is an important factor for him," McGettigan said. "Whereas before he had to be in shape but it was a little bit different when you're dropping back 5-7 steps than running 20 yards down field."

Running back Stevie Hicks currently weighs in at 215 pounds, which McGettigan said was a good weight for him.

"His body fat was still less than 6 percent," McGettigan said. "He's been as heavy as 218 pounds, but as long as he can maintain his body fat and if he's moving efficiently and fast I think it's a good weight. We don't just want to get to the point, where we say we want to get you to 220 pounds, just to get you to 220."

On the offensive line, McGettigan said Johannes Egbers, Seth Zehr and Aaron Brant all stand out.

"Johannes has an excellent summer," McGettigan said. "He really worked hard, he was running good, strong and lifting good. He's really worked hard. Zehr is 295 pounds. He's put six pounds on over the summer program and has increased his strength and has [been running] good, he's had a good summer."

Making the biggest jump on the defensive line has been Shawn Moorehead, who has gained nearly 45 pounds of muscle since joining the ISU football program.

"He keeps on gaining steadily," McGettigan said. "He's in great physical condition. He started at 205 and he came in to the spring at 238 and last week he was 250.3. So he has worked at it and done a good job and done it the right way over a period of time and increments. He put the weight on and can utilize it to help him on the field."

Nick Leaders and Brent Curvey have also had good summers.

"[Curvey] is 302 pounds. He is really starting to put it together as far as a total package and is working hard on his training and total performance," McGettigan said. "He's done a good job."

After finishing up off-season training with the New England Patriots, Ellis Hobbs made a guest appearance at Iowa State's summer conditioning program for a week and half. Even in that short period of time he told McGettigan he had noticed an improvement on his backfield mates.

"He made a comment on how some of the defensive backs are stepping it up," McGettigan said.

Most notably are safety Steve Paris and cornerback DeAndre Jackson.

"Steve Paris has had an excellent summer," McGettigan said. "He's really worked hard. This is final summer, we told him ‘You have one summer, one more season,' and he's had a good training program. DeAndre Jackson has done a nice job. He's starting to put it all together."

McGettigan said he hopes the Cyclones can carry the same mentality they've approached summer workouts throughout camp and the football season.

"They know what's expected and they know what's expected of themselves and they know what they want," he said. "I'll put their work ethic against anybody."


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