Prepping for Fantasy Camp

With his much-anticipated appearance in Penn State's Fantasy Camp about a week away, the FOS staffer addresses his training methods and attempts to squash a vicious "internet rumor" concerning his health.

Let me begin by refuting the so-called "injury report" released on this site last week. It said I sustained "a serious hand injury." That is flat-out not true and whatever Internet Rumor Monger started it is a filthy liar.

I initially considered legal action against this site but decided against it for two reasons: 1). As co-publisher, I would have been suing myself. 2). My wife suggested I forget about.

To be perfectly candid, my left pinky finger did get a bit sore from frequent instant messaging. But it was nothing more than that. As a precaution, from now until camp starts next week, I am writing all emails, forum posts and instant messages out longhand, and then having an assistant type them in for me.

Why the concern about the mitts? Because I'm slated to play wide receiver (and linebacker) at camp, that's why. The last thing I need while hauling in passes is to have tender fingers.

Speaking of which, now seems as good as time as any to let you in on my training secrets for the camp. I'm not sure what the rest of the saps involved have been up to, but I'm here to announce they all better bring their respective "A" games if they hope to hang with old "Trey" Harrington.

Strength: I have been working out primarily with free weights in preparation for the camp. Some may read into that as a shot at Penn State's HIT strength program. But that's not the case. I just like dumbbells (hence my work with Brennan and the other staffers at FOS). I've been doing a lot of reps, working the shoulders, arms, back, neck and chest. I also tend to do a lot of pushups and sit-ups to supplement this work.

I doubt I'll be the strongest guy out there. I was just hoping to build myself up a bit so I could fill out the Penn State jersey without looking like I should have asked for a youth size.

Quickness: Remember the chicken-chase scene in Rocky II? You know, to improve his speed for the rematch with Apollo Creed, Rocky chases chickens through an empty lot in Philadelphia?

That seemed like a good idea to me, at least better than loading up on human growth hormone. Unfortunately, where I live (in suburban Philly), there are no live chickens. So I did the next best thing.

Over the weekend, we were at a Memorial Day party with about 20 kids ranging in ages from 2 to 10. So I took advantage of the opportunity.

Nothing tests you like having 20 little speed demons trying to hunt you down, screaming "get him!" It not only challenges your quickness, but also tests your fears — if they catch you it's a Romper Room smackdown pile-on.

After that — out of respect for Rocky II — I ate some chicken.

Jumping: I have also been working my legs a good amount recently, jumping on trampolines and Moonbounces. We got a Moonbounce for my daughter's second birthday a few weeks ago and if you've never been in one, it's quite the workout. I figure I have increased my leaping ability by a good one to two centimeters.

Receiving: I have been working my receiving skills a lot too — catching passes from various quarterbacks to get used to a variety of tossing styles. I've been working on squaring my shoulders, extending my (healthy) fingers, looking the ball in, avoiding tripping over my own feet and devising clever excuses when I drop a pass.

Read/React Skills: I went down to Virginia for a training session about a week ago, to work with one of the fastest dogs on the East Coast — Butch, a golden lab with break-neck, eye-popping speed. Basically, in a two-acre, fenced-in area, Butch worked my speed and read/react skills. A can't imagine any chicken giving me a better workout

In one drill I would whip a tennis ball and race him to it — on a few occasions I managed get to the ball a mere few minutes behind Butch. We also worked a drill where I would toss the ball deep, drop into a 'backer stance and try to stop him from getting by me. For some reason Butch enjoyed charging me head on and trying to take me out, so the drill was more of a read/run for your life workout.

Film Watching: I have been watching a good amount of Penn State game footage, particularly of defensive guys like Paul Posluszny, Dan Connor, Deryck Toles, Brandon Short and of course Ron Graham — the only other 'backer who wore No. 3 at Penn State. On the offensive side of the ball I have paid particular attention to guys like Bobby Engram, Chafie Fields (I just watch the 1999 Miami catch over an over again), Phil Collins (he's such a great singer) and Zack Mills, who didn't get nearly the credit he should have at wideout — he had more TD catches his senior year than Gerald Smith, Mark Rubin, Paul Jefferson and Tony Hunt — COMBINED.

I have also worked on route-running, cuts, endurance and fundamentals like slowly sipping water to avoid cramps and brain freeze, and holding my hands above my head to catch my breadth.

We'll see if these unconventional workout tactics do the job, but it sounds like a few of the coaches are interested in seeing the results to determine if they are right for the players. Penn State reportedly is already in talks with several daycares in the area and the Centre County SPCA for training resources.


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