Vacation? Hardly.

While most people would consider a couple of months in California as a vaction, Mountaineer linebacker Grant Wiley was anything but a relaxing tourist as he prepared for Pro Day at WVU and the NFL Draft.

"All I did was work out," Wiley told BlueGoldNews.com of his stay on the West Coast. "Everyone thinks I just went out there to relax, but that wasn't it at all. I didn't do any sightseeing. My mindset was to work out and get in the best possible shape and optimize my chances on Pro Day."

Wiley attended a training center and completed a workout regimen designed to prepare players for NFL draft workouts. His manager, Gary Wichard of Pro Tech Management, typically uses the California location for many clients.

"My agent sends a group out there every year, Wiley explained. "All of us that were together at the Senior Bowl went out there.

"It's a popular place for athletes in different sports to train. The Klitschko brothers (boxers Vitaliy and Wladimir) were there running and working when I was there, so it's obviously a good workout. And, some NFL coaches saw us out there too."

Wiley's days were filled with training and eating, and left him little time, or interest, to do much else. He did see Santa Monica and Venice and Manhattan Beaches, but only because they were part of his regular workout routine.

Wiley worked with three different coaches during his West Coast stint, with one overseeing speed work, one tutoring on individual drills, and a third providing guidance on lifting. The workouts were varied and intense.

"They had big sand hill out there - they call it "The Dunes" in Manhattan beach. It's at least as big as the Law School hill," Wiley recalled. "We trained on that for explosion and resistance. Then there were the Santa Monica Stairs, that's a huge set of stairs that a lot of pro athletes train on.

"A lot of the stuff we did was tailored right to what we did on pro day, too," Wiley noted. "All my speed work was for the 40-yard dash, for instance. We concentrated on my start. It's kind of funny, but I didn't run a complete 40 the whole time I was out there. We just did 10s and 20s, working on my start. Also, there's always concern about hamstrings, so I didn't actually run a full 40 until Pro Day back at WVU."

Wiley's drill instructor also taught him the little things that helped in his times on tests like the cone drills and shuttle. Wiley noted that many of those items are "just repetition", and that learning how to run them, in addition to just getting faster, can also result in lower times.

Wiley noted that his weightlifting work, like most other aspects of the program, was tailored more for speed and endurance than brute strength.

"We did a lot of cylce training," WVU's all-time tackle leader said. "We'd use a good amount of weight, and did reps of 10 and 12 in several different sets. The goal is to getting muscles everywhere strong together and building endurance."

The other item that took up a good deal of time was eating. Wiley discarded his usual menu (including one of his favorites, scrapple) to go on a totally different diet.

"I ate the cleanest food I've ever eaten in my life. There was a little shop called "Fresh to Go" on Venice Beach, and I ate there a lot. Just chicken breasts, rice, carrots, all plain."

It was an eating regimen that would make Atkins dieters shudder, as it was rich in carbohydrates as well as protein. Wiley also downed three milkshakes a day, and averaged "around 6000 calories" per day. Of course, the intense, almost day-long workouts burned those off as quickly as they were ingested.

Thus prepared, Wiley retuned to WVU for Pro Day, which would serve as his one big showcase for NFL scouts.

Coming up next: Wiley's workout results, plus his thoughts on the entire scouting process and his plans for Draft Day.


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