Offseason conditioning and training
Hard work, Determination and Togetherness jumpstart the Beavers IN 2005
By Rustin Pickett, sports information assistant
July 28, 2005
No pain, no gain is the mind set of many Bluffton University football players this off season. Any other way of thinking would make the hot days in the weight room seem twice as long. The Beavers are heading into the final stages of their summer weight training and gearing up to report for camp on August 14.
Fourteen football players have been using the university's facilities to prepare for the 2005 campaign. The class breakdown consists of four seniors, five juniors and five sophomores. Right around four o'clock every Monday, Wednesday and Friday the guys start to swarm the weight room for an intense team workout. "Monday, Wednesday and Friday are our heavy workout days," said Ben McCullough, (Bluffton), junior fullback. "Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday we concentrate on agility and running."
The Beavers are seeing what it takes to take the team to the next level and its being proven by personal results. "After two months I have seen great results," said Jon Mershman, (Ottawa), senior defensive back. "My numbers have increased and I am quicker from the agility drills." Senior linebacker Robert Bailey, (Bellefontaine), is also satisfied with the strength he has gained from the workouts. "At the end of last summer I just maintained my strength," said Bailey. "This summer I have increased in every lift."
The players are seeing results in every lift and that is the main focus for the summer workouts. "The main thing is for everyone to focus on everything, core, flexibility, oxygen base, speed and any other aspect of being a great athlete," said Greg Brooks, head football coach. "It's not enough to be strong in the most popular areas." The players and coaches hope for strength to be gained continuously through out the summer.
Webster's Dictionary identifies the term comrade as a close friend or companion. Over these two months of summer the football team has been building trust and closer friendships during their workouts. "For a team to be successful it is important for the players to have great team camaraderie," said Sam McCullough, (Bluffton) sophomore linebacker. "The summer workouts have benefited the team by bringing us closer and building a trust that will carry on to the field of play."
Off season workouts may not be the easiest but with teammates around it gives the players that extra push. "It's hard to have high intensity when lifting alone," said Ben McCullough. "When teammates are around it helps because we are putting in the time and going through the pain together."
The Beavers also want the incoming freshman to feel apart of the team as soon as they step foot on campus. To help make this possible, the football team has a big brother program that starts in the middle of each summer. "The big brother program is a method to help ease the adjustment of college life for incoming freshman," said Brooks. "We try to assign every upperclassman to a freshman." Once each player is assigned a freshman it is their duty to contact them at least twice before everyone reports for camp. The players can either contact the freshman through email or a phone call."
Getting stronger, working together and building team camaraderie are all being taken care of this summer by the Beavers. The players are staying focused so that their expectations and goals can be met for the upcoming season. "We don't just want a championship," said Bailey. "We want to make a run in the playoffs and we are approaching every lift and running session with that in the back of our minds."
The Beavers start their 2005 campaign on the road against the Colonels of Centre College. The competition will square off at 1:30 pm on September 3.
"Winning the Heartland Conference is the ultimate goal," said Mershman. "But it is a must that we win the first game to start us on the right track and take it one game at a time."