Ducks run on hot, humid day

Eugene, Ore. -- Running was the order of business for the Oregon Ducks on Friday afternoon. Led by Strength and Conditioning Coach Jim Radcliffe, the team ran a series of 40-yard dashes on a humid day that was more reminiscent of newcomer Justin Roper's Georgia weather, rather than a normal Pacific Northwest day.

"We needed a day like this a couple years ago when we were getting ready for Oklahoma," said Head Football Trainer Kevin Steil smilingly of the humid conditions on Friday in Eugene.

Stoll made reference to the 2004 season when Oregon traveled to Norman (Okla.) for a game in sweltering heat and humidity against the Sooners. Oklahoma will return the favor this season by playing on Sept. 16th at Autzen Stadium.

The day was indeed unusually humid as temperatures reached 95 degrees and with a cloud cover the humidity was nearly 50 percent (according to The Weather Channel) but felt higher. Whatever the actual humidity, the day was hot and muggy.

Through it all though nearly 70 voluntary participants in the summer workouts went through their tasks of running 40s.

The day also marked the final day of the second session of summer term. Some of the players will use the opportunity the go home for a few days of vacation before the start of fall camp on Aug. 7th.

The team huffed and puffed running 10 back-to-back 40-yard dashes and giving each player a gut-check as to where their own individual conditioning was. Running the 40s mark a standard in fall practice for the coaches to determine how much more physical training a player needs to safely participate in football. If a player struggles running the 40s, he then will receive extra conditioning in the fall.

For all intent and purposes the lucky ones (the players) are those that were out on Friday afternoon getting ready for what is in store for them come Fall Camp.

Once the 40s were completed, Radcliffe had the team take off their shoes and the players ran bare-foot in the perfect grass on the training field for another set of sprints -- this time up and back covering nearly 75-yard one way. On the final run of the day, the players and Radcliffe ran up the field and ran backwards on the return trip. Interestingly it was junior quarterback Dennis Dixon finishing first followed closely by Roper.

Nearly the entire recruiting class of 2006 had enrolled in classes at the University and most all of the veteran players participated in at least a portion of the summer workouts.

Roper is one who will use the time between the end of the second session and the start of fall camp to go home to Georgia to visit his family for a short vacation. The freshman quarterback along with several of his new teammates found the NCAA rule to be beneficial as they were able to accumulate up to 10 credits this summer and get a taste of college life. Even if most of the student population will not return to campus until the last part of September.

The NCAA changed its rules and now allow incoming freshmen to enroll for summer session prior to the start of fall camp.

The Ducks begin Fall Camp on Aug. 7th, which is the same day as Media Day. Oregon will open the 2006 season against Stanford on Sept. 2nd at Autzen Stadium.

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