Bowden Boot Camp Prepares Team For Spring Practice


by - Correspondent -
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Linebacker Chad Carson was second on the team last year with 12.0 tackles per game.

CLEMSON, SC -- We would take you live inside the football team's early morning workouts,
but we were told that it's like a brotherhood. And the only way to get in is
to be a participant.


Thanks, but no thanks.


"I'm not really looking forward to it," said linebacker Chad Carson, a
veteran of the workouts. You can, apparently, get over the shock of the
workouts, but that doesn't mean you fall in love with getting up at five in
the morning for some physical training, or PT in military terms. And Parris
Island comes to mind when you hear the stories.


That's why we wanted to see it first hand. You can hear about workouts and
picture a bunch of guys kicking their knees up, getting in shape.
Apparently, this isn't about getting shape as much as it is about survival.


"I think last year was worse because we just didn't know what to expect,"
said Carson. "Now that the coaches have been around for a year and we've
been through this, we know what we have to do to get through it."


It sounds simple enough: arrive around 5:30, stretch out and then go though
seven stations of drills at three minutes per station with a three-minute
break in between stations. And it's just three days a week during the month
or so leading up to spring practice.


After four weeks of workouts, Carson prays for spring practice to arrive.
"It seems like a lot longer than three minutes," said Carson of the drills.
One drill that sticks out in Carson's mind is the two-point wave. It's led
by offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez.


"Three guys jump up there and he points you one way and back the other, down
to the ground and back up," said Carson. "You do that then you run to
another coach for another drill and as soon as you get there he tells you to
get back in line."


There's plenty of yelling and all the while there are other coaches watching
to make sure that none of this makes you tired. It's not permitted to bend
over from exhaustion or to touch a rope on the rope drill or mess up on any
of the drills. Every time it happens a check goes down next to the player's
name.


What a check translates to is more running after the workouts and a
different color jersey. There are "suicides" at the end of the workout for
those with checks.


At the next practice, those that had just a few checks get to wear an orange
jersey. The checks aren't the only thing that goes into deciding who wears
an orange jersey, but more than one or two checks usually means a white
jersey and more than four checks usually means a brown jersey.


Carson estimates that 90 percent of the players are wearing orange jerseys
by the final week of workouts. Bowden seems satisfied with how the players
have responded.


"Our winter workout starts at 5:45 and we started this morning at 5:35,"
said Bowden. "That was one hundred percent attendance at 5:35. Two days ago
we started earlier than that. That's what you need at this point in time.
We're not as talented as some of the teams we play. We have to milk what we
can out of this."


Carson just wishes he wouldn't milk that three-minute clock.


"In the middle of the drill you're waiting to hear that horn blow," said
Carson. "If they wanted to, they could let the clock go a little longer and
see what they can get out of us."

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