To give you a feel for what we've been doing -- We've been doing agility and conditioning drills for extended time, getting our feet and lungs ready and we've been smashing the iron inside.
We had a bench max day and several guys showed some great improvements. A couple that were pretty impressive were Kevin Freitag tossing up more than 400 pounds three times and Zack Williams also breaking the 400 barrier while tossing up three. Along with those big numbers, we had a lot of guys in the mid- and upper-300s -- proving their dedication to getting stronger.
I'll be headed down to Pac-10 Media Day (July 30) next week and I'm really looking forward to it. It should be interesting to have the chance to put some faces and personalities with a few guys that I've only seen on the field in their pads. It's always a very cool experience to see what my weekly enemies have to offer in a different setting -- not as competition, but as human beings.
With that, I'd like to answer some of the questions that came up on the message boards from last week.
First, for radninjaskills: What caused the decline the last few years? That is somewhat of a difficult question for me to address personally, partly because I started as a true freshman in the fall of 2005, but if you want my take, I'd say it's been a truly humongous combination of things. The issue stems from injuries, players leaving/failing out, general misfortune and a lack of player accountability on and off the field at times. There is no solitary finger to be pointed in any direction, but more of a mass of issues that we're working daily to fix.
For JdubCoug: Randy Johnson is a tough one to miss, he's a big dude! He's a great guy also, and he's got a very strong work ethic. I've got no doubt in my mind that when he gets his reps, he'll be in the right place at the right time with great intensity and focus.
For 89steep: Will we be ready to run the entire offense of coach Sturdy by the end of fall camp? The whole idea is to get better every day, especially in camp, and to not allow ourselves to regress at all. We really have a great opportunity with several days to devote only to football and I know that guys on the team are ready to take the challenge head on.
For Crazy4Cougs: Fall practices are devoted to the Cougs and that first team on the schedule this year, of course, it'll be Stanford on Sep. 5. Each week is individually important and focused upon, but obviously, the Apple Cup carries a little (read: HUGE) something with it.
The overall feeling around Martin Stadium and in Pullman after last year's AC was something I'll truly never forget and it served as a good dose of positive energy heading into the offseason. It's a lot of fun, coming from an area on the West Side so saturated with purple, to be able to wear some nice Crimson and Gray with an extra smirk to my smile because, as you said, it's pretty special being a Coug. I know I wouldn't trade my pride for anything. Editor's note: If you missed the CF.C story last week, click HERE for a 2008 Apple Cup video retrospective.
For Cougb4u: Having so many rookies on campus early has been a great thing. Our new teammates are working very hard and have been showing their intent to be bought into the program since their first day. The guys are all making their workouts and pushing to get better. It's really been clear, they are wide eyed and acting like sponges, soaking up all and any advice they can take in. It's hard to say how each individual will react to their first real taste of college life this fall, but I'm sure they'll all dive in head first.
Finally, for ohhmalley: With different coaching staffs come different styles of play, especially with regard to coaching techniques and of team management. Both coaching staffs that I have played under have so many different intricacies that it is a very complex situation to attempt to analyze them all, so I'll just say that the largest changes under coach Wulff have come in the form of energy, managerial style and culture.
Thanks again to all of the CF.C posters. I really deeply appreciate all of the kind words and thanks. It's a lot of fun for me to be able to interact with other Cougs out there and I'm looking forward to next week's questions from you, on the Cougfan.com message boards, already.