Summer Rec!

West Virginia's summer workouts are finally winding down. The end is nigh, just two weeks separating players from August and even harder drills, conditioning and training. So what, exactly, have the Mountaineers been doing to relax during the lazy, hazy days?

It seems players fall into two distinct categories: The doers and the crashers. The former is a unit that enjoys fishing, swimming and cookouts. The latter simply goes to sleep, or plays video games. Neither is, certainly, right or wrong, but the players fall along distinct lines.

Center Dan Mozes has been home often to visit parents and friends in Washington, Pa. He is also a member of the former group that will go fishing and swim in locations around Morgantown, including Cheat Lake. Fellow lineman Jeremy Sheffey is also active in the outdoors, and the tandem, both of whom were named first-team all-Big East selections, often teams to do whatever activity is planned.

"I love just getting out there and relaxing with fishing or swimming," Sheffey said. "We'll go out to the lake and just sit around, get in for a bit just to cool off. It's nice to be able to enjoy some other activities besides just classes and workouts during the summer." Said Mozes, who also has a summer internship with MSN: "You just need to get away from football sometimes. I try to do that, especially with the conditioning we do. It seems like every time we go out there, the sun starts shining and it's hotter."

Fullback Owen Schmitt is a third party participant, though he also likes to ride his 50 cc bike (with a helmet on) around parking lots – it tops out at roughly 40 mph, and likely not even that with Schmitt's size – and return to his Wisconsin roots via mastering the grill.

"I like that stuff, too, but I really enjoy cooking out with the guys," Schmitt said. "I'll get some burgers or hotdogs or whatever and just grill. The favorite is brats. It has to be Johnsonville, stadium-style. We'll put them in a little beer and let them simmer on there. And sauerkraut. You have to have the sauerkraut and hot mustard. That's a favorite thing."

It might not fit head strength coach Mike Barwis' nutrition plan, but Schmitt, a 2005 Iron Man Mountaineer Award winner as the top performer in winter workouts, remains a solid 250 pounds. The NSCA strength All-American and two-time offensive single-game champion (Maryland and Cincinnati) has kept his shape, and he will need it because the fullback might be used in more sets with the departure of former tailbacks Pernell Williams and Tyler Benoit.

Schmitt is a rarity in that he is a skill position player (though the one, arguably, that is closest to being a lineman on WVU's team besides the tight end) who is very active besides summer workouts. Most skill players, like Abraham Jones, Eric Wicks and Steve Slaton, enjoying relaxing via the Playstation or just being around each other.

"Besides classes, I'm also really studying the playbook," Wicks said. "I want to be ready going into fall camp. We know we have a big first game, and that we have big things planned for this season. Anything that gets in the way of that I sort of eliminate. We know that other trams will be playing their best against us and that we are going to get everyone's best shots, so we'll have to be ready."

Quarterback Nate Sowers is taking a similar approach, throwing with the receivers and working out, but doing little else aside from attending classes. He is also providing support for fellow Martinsburg High graduate and WVU wideout Brandon Barret, who has began to ease into workouts while trying to complete mandatory classes so he can be eligible this fall. Patrick White slides into the "easy-does-it" category, as does defensive linemen Keilen Dykes, who has noted that there are major benefits to summer conditioning.

"It keeps you in shape for the ladies," he has said. "But, really, I am trying to step up and be a leader. I am trying to get the guys out there to do a little bit extra every day and trying to stay positive and be a complete player both on and off the field."

Sheffey, too, has noticed West Virginia's improved numbers for workouts, and says that, despite getting some outdoor recreation, the football always comes first.

"I will have time to do other things later," he said. "This is what we need to be doing now. And I think we are. You have to build that foundation. We have more people here this summer than at any time since I've been here. This is my fifth summer and I was here the summer when we had 30 guys and we went 8-3. Around here we have a philosophy that we know what hard work is.

"With Mike Barwis and (assistant head and offensive line coach Rick) Trickett, I don't get away with a day without hard work. If I don't work hard it's a long day at the office. We realize the sky is the limit. We can go out and beat anybody, but we can't just go out and beat anybody by showing up."

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