Friday workout update

S&C Coach Ruben Mendoza capped off "the most grueling workout week of the year - to this point" with a smile on his face. . .

"This was the best week of the offseason we've had. We stepped things up quite a bit this week and had a lot of hot weather, but the kids responded. We finished off the week today with some heavy lifting and then 16 110-yard sprints. As tired as they are, they all lifted with good technique and finished their runs in the required times. I am very happy with the way they fought through the extra demands and heat of this week," Mendoza noted.


* Senior TE Eric Rice, after two years of nagging injuries, says he's entering his final campaign "with a clean bill of health." Eric weighs in at 238 pounds - he'd like to be 245 when August practice starts and play at 240 - and is excited about the possibility of some multiplicity in his role and duties. The coaches installed some sets in spring that line him up in an offset fullback type of position and put him in motion in some different sets. "Those things added to the tight end package are tailored for me and my skills, I believe," said Rice.

* S Tavarus Horne is near the end of the long road of knee rehab and feels good about himself at this point. "I'm 90% right now. The knee is sound, physically, but I'm having to continue to add strength to get it to 100%," said Tavarus. "I'm able to do all my lifting and running and feel good about it."

* S Edwin Gelin is quietly going about his business to become a player, according to Assistant S&C Coach Noel Durphey. "Edwin is someone to watch in the future, maybe very quickly. He is a great worker, and I don't say that lightly. I can literally see his body changing. He has taken off some body fat and added some good weight. If he stays on this path, which I'm sure he will, he will have a great career. He's a quiet kid who comes in here and does his work, and extra. You have to admire that," Durphey noted. Gelin started making a move in spring, but the coaches tried him at whip and strong safety to try to find him a "home." Once he settles in at one position, he will be someone to reckon with.

* TB Jamal Pittman has fairly large tattoos on his arms that are very visible unless he has a long-sleeved shirt on. But what isn't visible is the large tat on his back. It's a cross with a bible verse beside it - "I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me." . . We're not big tat fans, but that one's pretty impressive. . . Jamal said he feels "perfect" and is anxious to getting back in the flow of things.

* RS Frosh Marcus Cohen spent a lot of last year tearing his body down to shed body fat. He's now a somewhat svelte - for him - 285 pounds and is in the process of putting on quality muscle weight. "The coaches want me at 290-295 this year and to put on about 10 pounds a year of muscle. I feel good at 285, but need about 10 more pounds before August starts," he stated.

* Sophomore DT Andrew Wicker is tipping the scales at "about 290" right now and is not alarmed at all. "I will head into August practice at 285 - I'm on schedule. Then I'll probably lose another five pounds in the heat of two-a-days," he explained. "I'm right where I want to be. Eventually, I'd like to play at 290 because I'm taller than a lot of DTs and can hold a little extra weight, but 285 is my goal this year."

* Senior OG Doug Buckles - along with 12 other Rebs - went to Costa Rica at the first of the summer to earn six quick hours in Spanish. The two-week trip took its toll on his conditioning, but he's catching back up now. Missing two weeks of workouts doesn't affect "little guys" like it does the big uns, but Doug is confident he can be in peak form when August begins. "He struggled some when he first got back from Costa Rica, but this week you could see him coming around," said Mendoza. "He'll be fine."

* RS frosh DE Brandon Jenkins had wrist surgery a month or so ago and is still feeling the effects a little. "My wrist is weak and it has limited my lifting some, but it's getting stronger daily," said the 270-pounder. Brandon had a broken wrist and had to have a screw put in it to strengthen the break. He tapes the wrist during weightlifting and is fighting through the "dull pain." He is optimistic about the healing process.

* RS frosh RB Alan Abrams had gotten his weight up to 210 pounds a month ago, but a two-week illness cost him five pounds. That may not be a bad thing at this juncture in his career. "The weight I had gained was good weight, but I didn't feel I was adjusting to it, speed-wise, the way I wanted to. I didn't want to lose weight by getting sick, but I feel quicker at 205. I think I'll try to stay there this year," he explained.

* RS frosh QB Robert Lane doesn't look like he weighs 230 pounds. There's not a lot of body fat involved there. But when you look at him from the side, he's thick. Barrel-chested and thick lower body. Great kid, too.

* Former Rebel OT Stacy Andrews was working with the team today getting ready to go to the "big camp" with the Cincinnati Bengals. Stacy is optimistic about his chances. "I'm going to make the squad," he declared. "There's a spot for me if I have a big preseason camp and bust some heads." Stacy appears to be in the 6-7, 350-pound range and says he's in "real good shape." What a mountain of a man.

* The Rebs will be wearing Nike's latest football shoe this year. It's technically called the "Air Zoom Blade D". The difference from its former shoe lines is the weight - it's lighter - and the tongue and heel protection are made of dri-fit material that is made for comfort. We were holding a pair of size 13s and they felt like size 6s. Very light.

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