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Don Hansen's Football Gazette Blog of information, comments, notes, and tidebits on Small College Football. NCAA 1-AA & Mid Major, Division II & Mid Major, Division III, NAIA, and NCCAA

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Throughout the Summer, Football Senior Captain *Michael Ononibaku has agreed to write a weekly journal.

/Throughout the Summer, Football Senior Captain *Michael Ononibaku
has agreed to write a weekly journal, filling us in on the progress of his and his team's training in preparation for the upcoming season. This is his first journal of the year...

View it online at guhoyas.com

Although training for the 2005 Georgetown football season began in January, summer definitely marks the pinnacle of our off-season training. Collegiate football is a year round commitment that pervades all four seasons of the year; fall, winter, spring and summer. For me, fall has always been the most enjoyable, especially if we're able to win games and reap the rewards for all the work we have put into the season.
Little can compare to the joy of working as a team to beat a tough opponent.

Winter signals the start of the off-season. Preparation for next season begins, and we enter a transition period before the spring. It is a time for players to gain their base strength back, and Augie Maurelli (Strength and Conditioning Coach) puts together a precisely crafted program, customized for every individual on the team. We use sisusystems.com to log our progress in each week, so that Augie can keep track of us and formulate our next program. The base of our off-season training consists of Olympic movements as well as plyometric work. These "winter workouts", as they are called, get us ready for spring football-an integral aspect of the off-season.

For the most part, the spring is a time when jobs are won and lost on the gridiron; it's an opportunity for younger players to showcase their skills so that they can get on the field. For older guys and starters, the spring is an important period of self-improvement, allowing them to reach a higher level of playing ability. I saw last spring as an important time to fine-tune my technique and improve my play at defensive end. By April, the Spring Game culminates spring ball, and with only a few months left until August we realize that next season is just around the corner.

As the school year winds down, plans for summer training pose important implications for the final phase of the off-season. Players grapple with the choice to either train on campus with Augie, or to enjoy the comfort of training at home. The self-fulfilling rewards that come from Augie's intense workouts far outweigh any inconvenience that living here may entail. Furthermore, the extra work that we are able to put in, like the weekly 7-on-7 match-ups, are so beneficial to player improvement, especially for skilled players and younger guys just learning the system. Like fellow captain Moe Banks, this will be my fourth summer here in DC and away from home, yet each summer here has been enjoyable as well as rewarding. Moe wanted to add that, "training with the team builds unity and character and helps us become one step closer to where we need to be as a team in order to be successful". I definitely agree with this sentiment, because I feel that football is the ultimate team sport and we can only be successful if we're all on the same page.

We usually play Howard University and Bowie State in 7-on-7 match-ups every Saturday at noon. Recently, we gave Bowie State a serious beatdown in our 7-on-7 match-up with a score of 28-14. Five defensive players had interceptions against Bowie State, including Maurice Banks, Matt Bassuener, Brian Tandy, Jackson Dismukes and myself. Banks and Tandy excelled in the secondary, especially Tandy who basically shut down half the field with his play at corner. We also had a chance to see two of our team's quarterbacks perform well against a speedy Bowie State defense, including Matt Bassuener and Nick Cangelosi
.
Veteran receivers like Dominique Saunders and Jonathan Edwards had solid performances, helping us rack up all those points. The return of Mehdi Hassan this summer, after a one semester hiatus, also provided a strong force on our defense.

Seven-on-seven match-ups like that one exemplify how summer workouts can be fun and challenging. However, by no means are these workouts just all fun and play. What I believe has really improved among our team is an attitude to work hard, and understanding that only hard work reaps success. At least with the 25-plus guys that are here this summer, I definitely see a change in attitude from each and every person. Our summer workouts consist of lifting and running, four times a week.
Wednesdays and Saturdays are two additional days designated for seven-on-seven match-ups, thus our only real break is on Sunday. The hardest days are usually Tuesdays and Fridays, but each workout seems just as intense as the next. For some, Monday would be considered the hardest day, because on top of our conditioning and intense lifting we also run stairs, and not just any stairs, I`m talking about the "Exorcist steps". Most people know about the dreaded stairs, just next to tombs, and many complain just walking up a single flight.

As part of last Monday's workout, we didn't just run, but sprinted 10 stairs with minimal rest in between. It was hell, but you know what, nobody quit, everybody gave it their all, even if it meant crawling up those steps. I really admire that attitude, because it shows a complete turnaround from the prevailing attitude when I first got here as a freshmen three years ago. Chances are, I never saw big offensive linemen doing the type of sprint work that athletes on the track and field team do, yet the guys now are getting after it. Linemen like Robert LaHayne Robert Browning, Thomas King,
Liam Grubb
,
and Jerome Brown all show a lot of heart and hard work. This is the type of attitude we need in all of our players in order to win games and hopefully also win a championship. Other players that have excelled in our workouts include Alex Buzbee,
Shaun Johnson, Julius Griauzde, Dan Cordisco, Steve Smith, and Nnamdi Obiako, all of whom happen to be defensive linemen - it's no wonder we're the strongest part of our defense! Steve Ekechuku is another player who has been giving all he has, and there's no denying his dedication and work ethic after having been through two ACL injuries on each leg, and still working as hard as he does with the team.

Some guys, including myself and Jason Carter, find ourselves enduring long exhausting days because we have internships from 9am to 5pm in addition to our workouts. For example, my day starts as early as 6:30 am, when I take the metro to Bethesda to get to work by 8:30am. I intern at Chevy Chase Bank as a credit analyst, where my workload gradually picks up each day, but I am enjoying the work experience. At 5pm, the rush-hour metro is at its peak, and I'm lucky to make it to the six o-clock workout on time. I'm usually about five minutes late, but lately I've been trying to leave work early so that I can be on time with the team. Workouts typically run from six to eight pm, but I like to stay a little bit later with some of the guys to get extra work in. So my day, which begins at 6:30 in the morning, doesn't allow me to get back to my house until about 8:30 or 9 at night! But in my opinion it's all worth it, because I know that the hard work that we're all putting in, whether in DC or at home, will definitely pay off for us during the upcoming season.

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