Inside the Weight Room: Offense

Prior to spring practices the team recorded their bench, squat, and power clean numbers. After practices were concluded the team held a two-day testing period. On May 3 they tested on the 40-yard dash and short shuttle. The next day they tested their vertical jump and their flexibility with a sit-and-reach test. Head strength and conditioning coach Andreu Swasey goes inside the numbers with the offense.

Swasey believes that relative strength is the most important factor when training the players to get the most out of them.

"As a group we are concerned with relative strength," Swasey said. "We want them to be relatively strong and explosive pound-for-pound. That is what we are concerned about when training athletes. We have smaller guys proud of their numbers because it is relative to their weight. The education helps them in the weight room."

All of the tests are explosive tests as far as the squat, power clean, and the maximum bench press. The vertical jump and short shuttle test a player's explosiveness as well.

"I use all of them as indicators and they all are factors. I want to see all of these tests performed on the field. That is the key. You want to take the weight room on to the field."

The players understand that they have to work hard in the weight room or they will be passed on the depth charts. There is always somebody wanting to take their spots so they learn not to be complacent.

"Liking to workout is not an option here," Swasey said. "Liking and understanding are two different things. Being here, they understand what they have to do. They understand the repercussions if they don't work out. There is a rhyme and reason with why they work out. They know they don't just workout to workout."

Quarterbacks

The quarterbacks are above average in their 40-yard dash times and their vertical times are strong as well. Derrick Crudup ran the fastest 40 time at 4.59 followed by Kirby Freeman (4.60), Brock Berlin (4.72), and Kyle Wright (4.73).

In the vertical jump Freeman led the group with a 34 inches. Berlin was next (32") then Crudup (31.5") and Wright (30.5").

"I think Brock will have a good season," Swasey said. "Last year it was like his freshmen season. It is one thing to know something, but it is another to do it on the field."

Best Performer: Crudup led the group in 40 time and ran an impressive 4.21 short shuttle run. There is no doubt that Crudup is agile and is a strong player. His biggest problem on the field has been the accuracy of his passes. Until he can correct his accuracy, he will remain a backup to Berlin.

Running Backs

Fullbacks Kyle Cobia (313 pounds) and Talib Humphrey (308 pounds) both had strong performances in the power clean. It comes as no surprise that these two would lead in this category because of their explosive physical strength.

Each running back had their own category they led the group in. Humphrey led the running backs in bench press at 355 pounds. Quadtrine Hill and Cobia led in the vertical jump at 34.5 inches. And Tyrone Moss had the best 10-yard split time during the 40-yard dash at 1.52 seconds.

"It was good to see Tyrone with a strong 10-yard time," Swasey said. "He is a compact player with strong explosive legs and a good burst of speed."

Best Performer: Talib Humphrey. It was good to see Humphrey able to participate in spring testing after dealing with a nagging Achilles strain that sidelined him in 2003. He will compete with fellow senior Cobia as the starting fullback this year, but both will see substantial playing time.

Tight Ends

The tight ends had a strong performance throughout spring practices. Senior Kevin Everett leads the group of Buck Ortega, Greg Olsen, and Brandon Sebald who suffered a separated shoulder on March 27.

Everett, at 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, recorded the top time on the team in the short shuttle at 3.99 seconds. That number is extremely impressive considering the speed and athleticism amongst the defensive backs on the team. His 39.5" vertical jump was second on the team. Throw in the second best power clean (330 pounds) on the team and you got yourself a solid weight room performer.

"Each year at Miami we have a new set of guys," Swasey said. "For example first we had Jeremy Shockey, then we had Kellen Winslow, so what? Now we have Everett. We just reload."

Olsen, a redshirt freshman, did well in the power clean testing lifting 308 pounds. He has a solid frame at 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds. His teammates have been impressed with his work ethic and he can be a solid player for the ‘Canes in 2004.

Best Performer: Kevin Everett. He was consistently on the team's top ten in several categories. He posted a time of 1.47 in the 10-yard split—good for seventh best on the team. As a tight end it is rare to see the strength and athleticism that you see in Everett. Remind you of someone?

Wide Receivers

The Hurricanes return six receivers for 2004 including Ryan Moore, a freshman all-American last season. Swasey offers his opinion on his breakout player for 2004.

"I think Darnell Jenkins is going to have a good season," Swasey said. "He has matured and worked hard. The whole receiving group is young, but will contribute this season. They have a year under their belt."

The fastest 40 time in the group goes to Devin Hester at 4.29. Akieem Jolla was next at 4.39. Those were the only two receivers in the top 10 on the team.

At 5-foot-8 Sinorice Moss had the best vertical jump at 37.5 inches. It came as no surprise that Devin Hester (37") would have a good vertical as he often shows in dunking a basketball. Darnell Jenkins and Roscoe Parrish both recorded jumps at 34.5 inches.

During the outdoor track season Hester recorded the top 100-meter time at 10.42 followed by Jenkins (10.47) and Jolla (10.60). The other three receivers did not participate in the track season.

Best Performer: Devin Hester. His 1.40 10-yard split while running the 40-yard dash was tops on the team. Swasey likes this test to measure a player's explosiveness and is extremely important for receivers. Look for Hester to be a solid contributor on offense at the ‘Z' spot this season.

Offensive Line

The starting offensive line of Eric Winston, Tony Tella, Joel Rodriguez, Chris Myers, and Rashad Butler all recorded 40 times in the 4.90-5.00 range. That is a great range for these guys to be in. Tella is the slowest of the five, but had the highest bench press (365) of the group.

Redshirt freshmen Andrew Bain had the highest bench press (435) and the highest squat (515) on the team. He has lost some weight since arriving on campus and will compete for playing time as the sixth lineman this year.

Walk-on Brad Kunz also had a very impressive testing. He squatted 500 pounds, power cleaned 323 pounds, and benched 340 pounds. Kunz is very good in the classroom and was on the field goal unit last season.

"Our bigger guys better be doing more because they weight more," Swasey said. "I want them to squat, clean, and bench more than the other guys."

Best Performer: Eric Winston (500 squat, 350 power clean, 4.9 40-yard dash, 1.69 10-yard split, 32" vertical) His numbers are off the charts and Swasey is enamored by the numbers he puts up as a 6-foot-7 310 pound tackle. The NFL won't have a problem with his numbers as well.

Kickers

Jon Peattie has improved his overall strength from a season ago especially with his leg. He is currently working with world-class strength and conditioning specialist Juan Carlos Santana in Boca Raton.

Mark Gent is still on campus and is working hard to challenge Peattie for the kicking duties. Gent will be considered to do kickoffs again this year, but he will have to fight off Peattie for the duties.

Summer Workouts

The team begins summer workouts on May 20. That is when all the ‘fun' begins. Swasey knows this is a critical stage for the team to be successful during the season. He is ready to prepare the team for the stage that separates the men from the boys.

"We find out a lot about the mental part of the team. There are no fans around or friends around to support them. They have their teammates to talk with. It is a time they mentally and physically prepare for the season. It is tough, but that is when you find out a lot about people--when their backs are against the wall. When you get them out of their comfort zone you find out if it is really that important to them."

"It is a key time," added Swasey.

Tomorrow - Part 4: "Inside the Weight Room: Defense"

Christopher Stock is a Staff Columnist for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@grassy.com.

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