The skill positions, QB's, RB's, WR's, LB's, and DB's, were sent to the stadium stairs while the big guys stayed on the field with the "sleds."
Us skill guys were sent repeatedly up the visiting side Martin Stadium bleachers for sprints that are meant to improve our linear speed. Meanwhile on the field, the offensive and defensive lines pushed the weighted down "sleds" back and forth on the turf. Once this workout was over the skill guys were left with legs that felt like Jell-O while the defensive linemen I talked to were saying that that was one of the most difficult workouts they had ever done.
Coach Loscalzo was not fazed and rewarded our hard work with another hour of lifting primarily focusing on the upper body. Needless to say, it is always interesting to see what the strength staff has planned for us on a daily basis.
Some of the guys that continue to stand out and to go above and beyond expectations during workouts: Adam Coerper, Corey Laufasa and Nolan Washington.
Coerper to me is easily the biggest and most imposing guy in our program and seems to be getting stronger by the minute, as witnessed by the increasing amount of weight that he is throwing around in the weight room. Laufasa and Washington have both displayed an outstanding work ethic and especially stand out during workouts such as Thursday's.
We are still doing our 7on7 three nights a week. It's extra stuff we do on our own and a pleasant sign has been the fact that most of the position groups are coming out 30 minutes prior to the scheduled time to work on position specific drills.
The receivers and running backs are going through drills aimed at quickness while the offensive and defensive linemen are hitting the "sleds" and emphasizing using their hands.
Players that deserve praise here are Isiah Myers, Brett McDonald and Tracy Clark.
Myers and Clark are continuously going at each other during 1on1's and it is only making each other better. Brett McDonald is a slot receiver who seems to always be in the right spot at the right time and had a monster day earlier this week when he caught several touchdowns during 7on7.
You guys came up with some great questions last week and I am going to do my very best to answer as many as I can.
ripling12: What's the biggest adjustment you've had to make in going from mostly a stay at home tight end to a wide receiver who's now out in the pattern a lot? What do you like best about Mike Leach's Air Raid.
The biggest adjustment for myself under Coach Leach's system is getting used to lining up in the slot and doing the majority of my work downfield. Instead of focusing on the defensive front and figuring out who I have to block, it is my job now to identify coverages and find green grass to get open. My most favorite thing about the Air Raid is how much freedom us receivers are given to execute the offense.
CrimsonJT: I was wondering if you speak Russian or ever go back there to visit family. How old were you when you moved here? Does your family maintain any of the old country traditions with food or celebrations?
Every time I come home or speak to my mom on the phone she is always talking to me in Russian. She puts an emphasis on maintaining the language with both myself and my younger brother Pavel. My grandmother and aunt actually came to visit last fall and even came to the Idaho State game. It is always a pleasure when they visit because they cook more Russian food than I can eat in a month complete with my favorites -- pierogi and pelmeni.
metprof: In your new role. Who do you see defending you in the Air Raid? A safety? LB? With your size and speed you'd be a mismatch for most defenders I'm thinking.
A tight end/big slot receiver who can get vertical is seen as a mismatch because he is bigger than defensive backs and faster than linebackers. This is the exact role that I am trying to fill. It really depends on what coverage the defense is in and what the play calls for.
cougpeach25: Question for Andrei, do you know if you will still be playing out of the traditional TE spot at all, or will you be spread wide in the slot most of the time?
Most of the formations and plays we ran during the spring had me lining up in the slot, however there are many instances where I will want to line up as a TE based on the down and distance, play call, or formation. I have not forgot my roots and look forward to putting my hand in the ground and mixing it up inside.
Crazy4Cougs: I suppose this is a dumb question but do you have aspirations to play in the NFL?
Obviously playing football professionally is a dream for anyone who suits up at any level, especially on Saturdays and I am no different. However, that is still a long ways away in my mind and right now the only thing I am focusing on is getting better each day during workouts and preparing for our season opener on August 30!
That wraps it up for this week. I hope you guys enjoyed my update on the team and answered your questions. Please ask more questions on the CF.C boards and I will do my very best to answer them next week. Other than that I want to say thank you for all of your support of our program. Go Cougs!