Aug. 16, 2005
SEATTLE - Perhaps the most dreaded part of any college football season, at least for most players, comes when two-a-day practices begin. Today was that day at the University of Washington.
The Husky team worked about two hours in both the morning and the afternoon. Thankfully, for most at least, the weather was much cooler in Seattle, something that most players would count as a good thing during this time.
Two-a-days give the coaches that much more time to work with, coach and evaluate the players, but it also serves as a challenge to the athletes.
"It's kind of a test of your mental strength," said senior offensive tackle Robin Meadow. "Obviously, you want to be working on your technique and doing the things you need to do to get better, but at the same time two-a-days are a test to see who's tough."
While most players openly dread two-a-days, most realized their necessity, both in terms of team building and improving skills.
"You look forward to it just to get through it," said senior linebacker Evan Benjamin. "It's best to just get into it and try to get the most out of it. It's going to happen anyway, so you have to work as hard as you can."
One key that veteran players learn is that rest and a good diet are good ways to get through the long days as smoothly as possible.
"I try to keep myself on a good routine no matter what's going on," Meadow said. "My daily schedule helps keep me on top of things."
"I try and do the same things," Benjamin added. "I try to get to bed pretty early, eat the same food and keep on hydrating."
As the hardest part of camp gets started, the feeling among the team is running positive in terms of the effort and enthusiasm being shown at practice each day.
"I think we're coming a long really well in terms of peoples' effort," Meadow said. "I think we have our eye on our goals and we're all really focused."
"The enthusiasm is definitely up there," Benjamin said. "We all have the same goals in mind and working towards that together helps."
Their coach agrees, noting that while there are ups and downs, he's been generally pleased.
"The camp is going forward well," Willingham said. "I think our young men -- though stressed -- have not hit a wall. They seem to be functioning as well as they can at this time of the year. "
As mandated by rules introduced by the NCAA a few years ago, teams may no longer conduct two-a-day practices on consecutive days. So, Wednesday, the Huskies will return to their split-squad single practices before another round of two-a-days on Thursday.