Nittany Notes: Runnin' Wild

Recently Fight On State has been providing extensive coverage of the off-season weight room conditioning the players have been going through and their participation in Lift For Life. Well, that is only half of the story related to how the Nittany Lions are conditioning themselves for the 2006 season.

"There's no time for a gradual build-up this season. We're looking at some early big-time national games. So the guys have to be in mid-season shape in September," one practice observer explained.

With early clashes against Notre Dame and Ohio State on the docket, the Penn State coaches are focused on getting the team in prime condition out of the gate. Lifting is only half of the solution though, as the Nittany Lion staff has the team running and running and running.

"I am not sure I can recall when the team has run so much in the summer," another observer explained.

Lemme Check My Schedule

Here is the current summer practice schedule for the players:

Monday: Lifting
Tuesday: Running
Wednesday: Running
Thursday: Lifting
Friday: Running
Saturday: Lifting (optional)
Sunday: Off

Weighting Game

During the lifting sessions the players perform full body sets; long workouts consisting of workouts for the legs, back, chest, shoulders and arms.

Though Saturday is an optional workout, "a lot of guys participate — I'd say a large majority," according to one observer.

This is just one indication that the majority of players take their off-season lifting seriously. Another is the participation levels in the recent Lift for Life, an optional team lifting event. The squad had an impressive 92 players participate, with several being held out as precautions, including Paul Posluszny, Pat Devlin and Austin Scott.

On Your Mark...

When it comes to running, the players do more than their share. During running days the players will often run a variety of sprint distances that vary from 20 yards to 300 yards. Aside from this it is not unheard of for the players to run upward of 50 sprints in a session.

Here is how a typical run session can break down. The number describing each run is the length of the run in yards, the second number is the total number of sprints each player runs:

Warmup Run (110): 2
110 sprints: 16
80 sprints: 8
60 sprints: 8
40 sprints: 8
20 sprints: 8

Generally, these sets are run in groups by position and each group has a set time they are expected to beat on each run. Here is how the groups break down:

Group A: WR, DB, RB
Group B: LB, FB, QB, DE, TE
Group C: OL, DL

Special Runs

The team also has certain sessions where they run some "special" sprints.

300s: This is a 300 -ard sprint. "It is hard as hell, but it tests the players' ability to push through," an observer explained. "Obviously [the players] will never run 300 yards in one shot during a game; but if their bodies can handle 300 consistently, it's a good bet they can handle 20 or 40 easily."

Hills: Another "special" run type is the hill set. These sets are where the players sprint up an inclined plane for an extended distance to "build endurance and power in their legs."

Fresh and Fast

In terms of the freshmen, we asked observers who they felt were among the best conditioned young players up until this point.

Pat Devlin: Devlin is in great condition and "consistently beats his times" on runs.

Aaron Maybin: Although the consensus is that Maybin needs to add some size to effectively play defensive end, "he is in great shape and flies on his runs," one observer pointed out.

Jared Odrick: The assessments about Odrick are he is a "beast" and "man-child," stating that he is in fantastic condition at around 280 pounds. He carries his size well on runs.

Brett Brackett: Brackett, like Devlin, has been impressive with his condition and does not quit on runs. "He's tough and pushes himself," one observer shared.

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