During the first session of summer classes the players focused on their endurance, running regular sets of 300s (300-yard sprints). "These build up stamina and endurance and really help with the players' overall conditioning," an observer explained.
With the second session of summer classes kicking off Tuesday, the players are now expected to do more speed work and fewer distance, endurance runs. Their speed is worked with regular 110-yard sprints and a variety of drills, including pursuit drills.
A pursuit drill has the defensive players line up in their base set (linemen generally do not participate in the drill). At the whistle the drill commences and a runner, typically a running back or wideout (a "speedy player"), takes a sideline sprint down the length of the field. Each defender pursues to the runner, with one defender taking off as soon as the previous defender goes. Clearly, the players on the opposite end of the field have a greater challenge in this drill, so the sideline runs are shifted to give each side a workout.
"These drills work speed, but they also test the player's decision making — he has to take the right angle to get to the ball runner."
The players on campus continue their weight lifting workouts generally on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. There are also some Saturday workouts. These sessions focus on various aspects of the body and use a combination of free weights and machines.
Much of this 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 on July 13 — considered the mid-point of off-season workouts and a benchmark for their progress.
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 players who have been impressive in the weight room this summer are:
The units will continue their individual drills, linemen will work on their footwork, engagement technique and agility, for example. Anthony Morelli has been working extensively with a wide variety of receivers: Chris Bell, Andrew Quarless, Terrell Golden, Deon Butler, Jordan Norwood, Derrick Williams and Brett Brackett.
Among the receivers who have looked good are Chris Bell, who is "getting very comfortable." Also, Quarless "has great hands — the guy catches nearly everything." Brett Brackett is also "picking up the [wide receiver] position. He is massive and with consistent catching the guy could be a real weapon as a possession guy."
"[Morelli] has been working their hands a lot — they run a variety of routes and catch balls over and over. It's all about repetition and making it second nature for everyone," an observer explained.
I Get a Kick Outta You
With the NCAA moving the kickoff tee back to the 30-yard line in an effort to add more returns to the game and limit toucbacks, kicker Kevin Kelly has been working his kickoffs to "build up his power and work on his direction," as one observer explained.
Kelly has been looking "fluid" with his kickoffs and is "getting more comfortable with [his] steps." As one observer said, "[Kevin is] trying to over-hit [the ball] a little bit, particularly into the wind."
Kelly is said to be fully healed from the stress fracture of the pelvis he endured during the 2006 season. "[He] hasn't had any [noticeable] problems since last season," an observer explained. "The kicking motion really bothered [him] along with the momentum leading up to the swing."
Kelly is said to be fine now — fully recovered from the injury and kicking "well" all-around this summer.
Stay tuned to FightOnState.com for continuous coverage of Penn State football and recruiting.