Captain's Corner: Practice & Staying In Shape

The main thing going on this time of year for the OSU football team is practice and workouts. In recent years, there have been too many reminders that going as hard as possible in the summer heat can be a terrible mistake. In today's Captain's Corner, Jerry Rudzinski gives his thoughts on workouts and practice this time of year and what the players go through.

The smothering heat of August is upon us. The thick, hot, wet air will be in full effect for the Buckeye camp. There will be two-a-days mixed with some single practices in the coming weeks. I think that format makes a lot of sense.

Probably too much attention is put on "how many" practices are in a day. Three quick practices are often easier than two extremely long practices. Two practices in shorts and helmets would often be easier than one practice in full pads going through scrimmage situations. Do the coaches need to whip these players into shape? Absolutely. They also want to create camaraderie and mental toughness during camp. However, there is no need to put player's health and lives in jeopardy.

I come from an old school mentality of "more is more" in terms of training camp. It used to be, "Let's practice during the hottest time of the day," "Let's put those sweaty pads on three times instead of two," and "Let's condition very hard after every practice." I have changed my tune though. Education and, of course, the Korey Stringer situation have taught me that usually "less is more."

You can't play if you are not in shape. The Buckeyes have poured a lot into this off-season to get themselves in shape. While they struggle through the mandatory workouts, these guys often find time to work on things with their own spare time. When you enter camp in shape, you can make some concessions that you otherwise couldn't afford. It's similar to a student in college. If you don't go to class and you don't take notes and you never study, you will find yourself pulling two consecutive all-nighters before the final exam. If you attend class regularly, ask good questions, and review notes daily, you can simply put a few hours in before the final and do much better than 48 hours of coffee and cramming would get you.

The Buckeyes need to be put in scrimmage situations to prepare for the RedHawks because nothing can get you ready for a football game quite like simulating a football game. Coach Tressel has done this enough to know when to hit the brakes with scrimmaging and when to hit the gas pedal.

The college game is becoming more and more like the NFL. The NFL doesn't have their starting linebacker take on an iso with their starting fullback all day, every day in camp. They have plenty of contact, but they do it in a way that will allow them to stay somewhat fresh and keep practice fast and crisp. You don't want sloppy, slow practices. You want upbeat practices with great execution. Isn't that the result we want on Saturdays?


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