During the final 49 weeks until Kickoff 2013, we will take a moment each week to look at various aspects of the football program.



Dec. 8, 2012

By Tom Whitestone

Practice ended weeks ago.

Classes finished up this week.  Finals started. 

Coaches are on the road recruiting. 

Of course, with finals upon them, the academic center bustles.  The team gets together for a long study hall period on Reading Day.  Another long session is scheduled amid finals week.

And the weight room stays busy.  Head coach Brad Lambert has said that this time following the end of practice and especially the time at the beginning of the second semester is important in building the team's strength. 

Still, trips to the football stadium, you would think, are a bit different these days.

And they are.  It is quieter.  There is less activity.  Players aren't running in and out to practice.  They aren't clamoring down the stairwell following position meetings.  There isn't the endless parade.

The coaches' area is quieter, too.  So many are out recruiting.  Meetings are still held.  But, this time of year, the road calls.

Most of the team's activity is either within the walls of the football center - in the academic center or in the weight room - or well outside those walls - wherever the recruiting trail may lead.

But there it was.   In the far corner of the stadium opposite Grigg and Duke Halls.

From the road, you could make out the 49ers green first.  Not a lot.  But enough.

Then it took form.  Dressed in practice gear, minus the pads and helmets, you could see the green rising up in the bleachers. 

Players running steps.  

All was quiet elsewhere.  Coaches weren't blowing whistles.  Music wasn't blaring.  Construction vehicles weren't humming.

Just players, on a nondescript day, running steps.

Some coaches were out of town recruiting.  Several players were busy studying.  Others were claiming time in the weight room. 

And some were out in the stadium, running up the bleachers where the student body will soon sit.

It sounds a bit cliché.  I mean, players working harder to get better by running steps. 

But there it was.  On a December day a bit cool, but not cold.  On a December day a bit cloudy, but not gray.  On a December day over eight months away from opening day.

Throughout this fall, one thing has been emphasized on a regular basis.  You want to get better.  Work.

On the recruiting trail.  On your studies.  On the weights.

There is no substitute for good old hard work.  Cliché or not.