Incoming freshman tight end Patrick Danahy (6'5" 235 pounds) is known as a football standout to Stanford fans, but back on his home turf in Sarasota, Florida he has made just as big an impact as a competitive high school weight lifter. Some of his Class of 2003 Cardinal teammates conditioned this winter and spring with basketball, track & field or their own personal workouts, but Danahy is one who has taken weightlifting as a competition unto itself.
In his senior season of Florida lifting, Danahy competed in the 238-pound weight class. He won his region, but when it came to the state competition, one slip-up cost him his shot at the Florida title. "I benched 350 and cleaned 290, but I had hoped to get to 360 and 300," he describes. "I missed one lift, where I had cleaned the weight but screwed up my balance. It was definitely a heavy weight, but I think I should have finished it. It was a big disappointment."
Though the competitive season is long behind him, the Cardinal Mooney graduate has continued his lifting - albeit a different regimen. Danahy has picked up the workout sent to him by Stanford strength and conditioning coach Ron Forbes, which was also distributed to the rest of this incoming freshman class. For someone so already ingrained in his own lifts and technique, there have been some changes to take in.
"The biggest difference is that Coach Forbes didn't put any cleans or snatches in the [freshman] workout," the seasoned lifter notes. "For me that was a little disappointing because it's such a great lift. I understand the logic, though, because at least 75% of kids out of high school don't know how to do it properly and can seriously screw themselves up. It's still a hard workout and gives me a good burn. I'm definitely getting stronger.
"My emphasis is pretty balanced right now. As a tight end, you have to have strong legs for blocking as well as a big upper body. If you are uneven in what you work out, you can cause injury or just plain-old bad play."
Danahy has also been running hard with a personal trainer, three times each week. "I've been looking to not just improve my speed, but also my form - particularly my hands," he comments. "I think the shuttle is the most important time to measure. You never really run a straight 40-yard pattern. The shuttle is more telling of lateral quickness, which is what you need to get open."
Danahy is in full football mode right now, in the middle of a three-week stay at Stanford to get himself acclimated to the speed of Pac-10 football, the mechanics of the offense, the gridiron and weight room workouts, and of course the chemistry with his new Cardinal teammates. Danahy is one of several incoming 2003 freshmen spending some part of their summer on The Farm in preparation of their first college season, and this Florida tight end is doing so with the hope and expectation that he has to be ready to play on the field this fall.
"I kinda feel they want me to come in ready, but they haven't pushed me too hard," he says of his talks with Buddy Teevens and the Stanford coaches. "I know Coach Teevens expects me to be ready to go, and I certainly really want to get in and play. I'm not someone who can sit on the sideline during the battle. I want to play, be it at tight end or special teams. I don't think there is better preparation than game experience."
His learning curve at the tight end position can only be ascended on the field with his teammates during July, but he has been in communication with TEs coach Tom Quinn throughout the off-season. "We talked a few times during the spring, but we'll really dig deep during this July time. We can look through the playbook, and then I can take what I learn to the field with the other tight ends," Danahy says.
We'll be sure to update you later in the summer on just how much progress the freshman tight end made, and how close he is to game readiness for the September 6 season opener versus San Jose State. He will return to Sarasota on July 25 for one last stint at home, before reporting with the rest of his class on August 6.
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