Terps beef up to move up in ACC More power, speed may halt late fading COLLEGE FOOTBALL

August 07, 1993|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,University of MarylandStaff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- The calendar said it was spring -- June 10, to be exact -- but temperatures in the 90s and the humidity suggested otherwise.

A dozen football players were bounding up the bleachers at Byrd Stadium. A scream, half primal and half get-out-of-my face, roared out of the 7,000-square-foot weight room in the football complex. It went through the training room, the locker room and a hallway before finally reaching the players lounge.

"Preseason" conditioning at Maryland makes folly of the notion that college football begins in August and ends on New Year's Day. Year-round conditioning is more like it. Veterans don't officially report to camp until Thursday, but that warm feeling they've had the past eight months is more than emotional residue from 1992's season-ending upset of Clemson. A quickened pulse contributes.

Yesterday was the final day of a conditioning program that began last December, one designed to make the players bigger, stronger and faster, and in turn beef up Maryland's record. Improved bench presses, -- times and durability -- five of the Terps' eight losses last year were decided in the fourth quarter -- could mean more victories.

"The conditioning program is most important," coach Mark Duffner said. "The better your condition, the less susceptible you are to injury. We're always trying to make improvements in speed and strength, plus you get in the habit of working hard.

"The training methods are different than they were 20 years ago, but there's a tradition here because Jerry Claiborne was a pioneer in this area. He really established the importance of weight training."

Duffner had the players for 15 days of spring practice in late March and early April. The rest of the off-season, players have been in the care of strength and conditioning coach Dave Ungerer and his assistant, Dwight Galt.

They're charged with improving the players' physical makeup, and helping Duffner sell them on the logic that hours spent in February and July make a difference, be it in the fight for a starting position or against Florida State.

"Our calendar for training never ends," said Ungerer, one of six assistants who worked with Duffner at Holy Cross. "The players might have been given a week off after the Clemson game last year, and they've been going hard ever since. Conditioning isn't mandatory, but players know that it's part of the expectations we have of them."

Following the season, the players train together until they go home before Christmas for semester break. During semester break, they're asked to train three days a week in a weight room. From the start of spring semester in January until spring practice, they lift three days and run two days a week.

After a week off for spring final exams, the pace quickens. An accelerated four-day-a-week, six-week program begins in late May. Players who aren't in the area receive a manual to help them with the program, but the 55 veterans who participated here this summer had their own program of lifting and running.

"Every day, each player gets a personalized workout," Ungerer said. "We're trying to improve one of four things: their speed, condition, explosiveness and agility. A kid never comes in and just lifts weights. There's some other component besides weight training."

Two dozen veterans started another, shorter version of the program in late July that ended yesterday. Conditioning continues when two-a-day practices start, but installing plays becomes the prime objective.

"If you've done what's asked, you don't have to worry about conditioning when you come into two-a-days," said Steve Ingram, Maryland's top offensive lineman.

Ingram, who in the past year grew from 280 to 300 pounds and improved his 40-yard -- time from 5.48 seconds to 5.32, is among the weight room success stories, along with superback Mark Mason, center Jamie Bragg, linebacker Jaime Flores and the leader in the Iron Terp competition, defensive end Mark Sturdivant.

In testing done last spring, the 263-pound Sturdivant had a team-best combined total of 1,343 pounds in the three lifts: squat, power clean and bench press. Even though he had to squeeze in workouts after his job as a counselor in a youth program at the College of Notre Dame this summer, Sturdivant expects to test even stronger next week.

"Sturdivant has done that all by himself," Ungerer said. "He made himself into a great player."

On a larger scale, the Terps hope they can build themselves into a better team.

STRONGER, FASTER

Mark Duffner took over the Maryland football program in December 1991, and since then player performances in weightlifting and the 40-yard -- have improved. Averages for weightlifting and the -- are listed below. Total lift is the average of the total for players who were tested in all three lifts: squat, power clean and bench press.

.. .. .. .. .. .Fall .. .Spr. .. .Fall .. ..Spr.

Category .. .. .'91 .. ..'92 .. ..'92 .. ...'93

Total lift .. ..858 .. ..877 .. ..883 .. ...918

40 dash .. .. .5.00 .. .4.96 .. .4.95 .. ..4.92

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