2008 Conditioning Test: Hutch = Clutch!

Here's a quick report on yet another interesting item in Coach Jim Harbaugh's seemingly bottomless bag of program-culture-building tricks! A wild hair drove the master of "EUTM" to invite former players and friends of the program to attempt to pass the same pre-camp conditioning test each Cardinal player is required to pass. Talk about getting in shape for the season! Read on for the skinny.

1996 Sun Bowl MVP Chad Hutchinson tops short-list of "2008 Stanford Football Conditioning Test" survivors!

At 11:00AM on August 3, 2008, on a sunny Sunday morning at Stanford Football's Practice Field #1, half a dozen former athletes of various vintages stretched statically and struggled to warm up in dynamic fashion in preparation for a voluntary test of  strength, stamina and will. Always focused on innovative ways to build a culture of winning and competitiveness, Coach Harbaugh had invited all former Stanford Football players to "train with the team" as it prepared for the upcoming 2008 football season. They would have an opportunity to demonstrate a perfectly disciplined will, one that refuses to give in to "fatigue", an enemy that, as the great Vince Lombardi once said, "makes cowards of us all". Six brave souls stepped to the line.

Participants were challenged to attempt to pass the 2008 Stanford Football Conditioning Test - the very same formal conditioning test that each and every member of the 2008 Stanford Football team had to pass in order to be deemed ready for the fall football camp. However, unlike the taxing physical penalties that are assessed to current players who fail to pass the conditioning test, it was agreed that prizes would be awarded to the former players who managed to pass this grueling physical challenge. Of course, beyond any material prizes was the attractive prospect of securing endless bragging rights over former teammates. There is something infinitely more satisfying when you prove that you've still got it, that you aren't yet past your prime, that your athletic ability is not a frustratingly fleeting thing of the past.

Current members of the Stanford Varsity, who were preparing for the 2:00PM First Fall Contact Practice, did not participate that morning, having been required to pass the test before camp started (all did, with some injury-related exceptions).

At stake was an all-expenses-paid road trip with Stanford Football to the TCU game in Fort Worth on September 13th. Home game sideline passes were thrown in as an additional reward for those who gave it a go and all participants earned coveted "blue collar man" shirts complete with personalized name badges!  Stanford's Training & Conditioning staff were on-site to ensure safety and, naturally, members of the football staff were on hand with stacks of iron-clad liability waivers in case someone literally were to "bust a gut" in the present pursuit of past glory. Following the Conditioning Test, participants were invited to join the football team for lunch in the Manzanita Dining Facility at Kimball Hall.

Leave it to Jim Harbaugh to have the unbridled enthusiasm to encourage former players and friends of the program to come back and submit themselves to an exhaustive physical extension. Six bodies showed up this year. We all know by now that Coach Harbaugh is into creating and promoting new traditions and it would surprise no one if there were 50 or more participants next fall. (Will you be one?)

It's one thing to "win" a team conditioning competition. The Stanford Football Conditioning Test is more something folks just try to pass. It can be a little tricky. Some of the better athletes on the team have struggled to pass the test because it isn't just a measure of athletic ability and speed, but of endurance and stamina and the all-important ability to keep something left in the tank. You don't want to go out too fast like a "rabbit" in the mile and fade miserably down the stretch.

The premier performance was turned in by 31-year-old former QB Chad Hutchinson, who thereby scored the team road trip to TCU. In addition to Chad''s somewhat predictably stellar performance (the former quarterback and pitcher spent ten years as a professional athlete), it should be noted that former Stanford wide receiver, soccer player, LSJUMB band-member, and Buck/Cardinal member Kit Rodgers showed remarkable form. Recently-graduated "young guys" like Chris Horn (now down to a svelte 220 lbs., a post-career normalization which is highly recommended for formerly loaded-up linemen), Tim Sims, and aspiring model Emmanuel Awofadeju managed to show they've still got it! The Bootleg community was to have been represented by "Snapper61", but he allegedly tweaked a hamstring training for the test. Finally, a surprisingly game, if unsuccessful showing was made by "the one & only" railbird regular Phil Harsh, who surprised not a few folks with his out-of-nowhere effort - giving hope to the 50+ crowd.

The 2008 Stanford Football Conditioning Test:

1st Quarter - "Tempo Runs" @ :10 x 6 = 390 / 438 / 480 

Line = 65 yards Big Skill = 73 yards Skill = 80 yards 

Rest x :25 between reps

(Rest = 1:00 between quarters)

2nd Quarter - "Cut 120s" @ 40 yards x 4 = 480 

Line = :24 Big Skill = :22 Skill = :20 

Rest x :15 between reps

(Rest = 2:00 at Halftime)

3rd Quarter - "Tempo Runs" @ :07 x 6 = 270 / 300 / 330 

Line = 45 yards Big Skill = 50 yards Skill = 55 yards 

Rest x :15 between reps

(Rest = 1:00 between quarters)

4th Quarter - "300-Yard Shuttle" @ 25 Yards x 1 = 300 

Line = :72 Big Skill = :68 Skill = :64

Volume by position group = 1,440 / 1,518 / 1,590

Final Note: At the recent ME97/ME97-Hottie wedding reception, a certain Bootleg co-founder was challenged cheerfully by Coach Harbaugh to come out and give it the old college try! "No, thank you, not with my hammies"... at least....not this year. Frankly, I honestly don't have the prerequisite pigskin glory in my personal past to justify a pursuit of present-day pride. [I actually worked for several minutes on that sentence!]

Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our award-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up)!

The Bootleg Top Stories