LOI Day not only major February event for WSU

ALL EYES RIGHT now are focused on recruiting and Letter of Intent Day, which falls this year on Feb. 5. But the Cougs will hold another significant event prior to that in the month of February, and it's one that will last well after Signing Day has come and gone…

Midnight Maneuvers.

"Midnight Maneuvers will start I think on the Saturday prior to the Super Bowl (Feb. 1)," WSU defensive coordinator Mike Breske told Cougfan.com as part of a wide-ranging conversation.

The WSU workouts don't actually start, or go past midnight. But they tend to make for some intense evenings.

"We'll go at night, at 10 p.m. in the bubble. We have eight sessions there, and then spring ball will be the next major deal after that."

The NCAA allows a two-week winter conditioning circuit during the offseason in February. The supervised workouts are capped at two hours per session, and at eight hours per week. And while Mike Leach doesn't usually use all two hours per session or the full 16 hours available, Cougar players the last two seasons have told Cougfan.com the workouts are some of the most grueling they've ever gone through.

Agility, footwork and (obviously) conditioning are stressed. In "Swing Your Sword", Leach said bear crawls, dot drills and obstacle courses are among the nine workout stations used. In general, a player will be at a station for three minutes and given one minute of rest in between and by the time that ninth and final station is completed, players are very much looking forward to calling it a night.

In his book, Leach wrote that he likes the late night start because that was often when his teams would be playing in the fourth quarter.

BRESKE, IN KEEPING with WSU policy under Leach, declined to go into detail when asked if any specific defensive players might miss the Midnight Maneuvers sessions due to offseason rehab or surgeries. But in general terms, he did indicate the Cougs came through this past season quite healthy.

"Everyone should be right there. As of now, everyone… should be ready to go. It's a lot better than last year, we had so many surgeries a year ago – this year we're much healthier," said Breske.

That's a tribute in part to WSU strength coach Jason Loscalzo and the work the Cougs put in under him this past offseason. And with school starting back up on Monday, the work for 2014 has now begun in earnest.

"Where we're at right now, we haven't had a chance to meet defensively, the kids just got back and they had their meeting with Coach (Jason) Loscalzo on Sunday for him to lay out the offseason," said Breske.

  • Leach and the coaching staff assign different colored shirts based on effort after each Midnight Maneuvers sessions. A black shirt is given a player for busting his tail off, a gray shirt if the work was satisfactory and a pink shirt if the effort was deemed lackluster.

  • Breske said he didn't anticipate any major position changes on defense. "As of right now, position changes, I don't see any…As we get closer to spring ball, obviously things could still change. But nothing really significant," said Breske.

  • We'll have much more from our talk with Breske in the days to come here on CF.C.

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