Nittany Notes: Summer Work

It may be the summer, but that doesn't mean the Penn State football team is taking a break. In fact, the Nittany Lions continue to work in preparation for the 2007 season as the weather heats up. Get an update on their effort.

After classes wrapped up at University Park in mid-May, the players got a week off to enjoy some time for themselves before a majority of them headed back to Penn State to continue their conditioning and preparations for this coming season. Since their return the players have gotten back into the swing of things with workouts, conditioning runs and fundamental drills.

This week the players have seen a focus on footwork and conditioning, with cone drills, 110 and 300 sets.

Get Your Motor Runnin'

After a warmup job around the practice field the players will generally run 110 and 300 sets. Basically, these are sprints where the players have to run the prescribed distance (110 or 300 yards) in a set time based on their position. Skill players have faster times to hit in these runs than linemen.

Typically the wide receivers, defensive backs and running backs will run as one group (Group A), the linebackers, fullbacks, quarterbacks, defensive ends and tight ends will run as another group (Group B), and the offensive and defensive linemen will run as a third group (Group C).

Group A players will have roughly 54 seconds to sprint the 300-yard distance. Group B will have 56 seconds and Group C will have 65 seconds, for example. The players are also expected to regularly beat their times, which are periodically decreased.

These runs are meant to build endurance and stamina and are run a few times during the week.

Among the players mentioned as having been particularly impressive in early run seesions are Chris Bell, who "has really been pushing himself," Maurice Evans, "who often leads the pack," Navorro Bowman and Deon Butler.

Lift Me Up

A major focal point of the summer sessions is weight-room conditioning. Each player has a set schedule where they work various parts of their upper and lower bodies, focusing sets on arms, shoulders, torso (chest and back), midsection, upper and lower legs. Players have weight and rep "milestones" which they are expected to exceed regularly.

The players have set stations and exercises for each section of the body. For instance, when working the legs they will focus on exercises like leg curls and leg presses.

Much of the conditioning, aside from preparing the players for the coming season, is also used to get them in shape for the coming Lift For Life competition in July — considered the mid point of off-season workouts.

Lifting during the summer months often can take place five days per week with each day focusing on a different area of a player's physique.

Among the impressive players in the weightroom are Abe Koroma, described as "all out" with workouts, A.Q. Shipley, said to be "a workout warrior," Dan Connor, Sean Lee and Andrew Quarless.

Drill It

Although the drills the players are engaging in are limited currently, as the summer progresses they will add unit specific drills, like Drill 6 (7-on-7 pass sets), 1v1 and 2v2 (line assignment drills), read-react drills and a number of other drills which work the various skills required for each position.

General Practice Notes

  • The players' conditioning schedule includes run sessions on Tuesday and Thursday and lifting workouts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. There are also some Saturday workouts.

  • Although the unit is only running footwork and agility drills currently, the defensive line starting front four continues to run as Josh Gaines (DE), Abe Koroma (DT), Phillip Taylor (DT) and Maurice Evans (DE).

  • Sean Lee has been "more and more vocal" and is "emerging as a leader" according to observers. As one observer explained, "The guy has learned from the best (Dan Connor and Paul Posluszny) and will be that much better for having played with them."

  • Juco transfer offensive tackle Nerraw McCormack is on campus and working out currently. Described as "huge" by observers, McCormack "runs well" and is "impressive early on. He looks the part at least."

  • Prep school offensive guard J.B. Walton is also on campus currently and conditioning with the team. "He's got good size and footwork. He's pretty quick although I need to see him matchup on some assignments," an observer explained.

  • The remaining freshman in PSU's Class of 2007 are slated to arrive on campus for the second summer session, which begins the first week of July. -30-

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