Friday, August 13, 2010


1st Day of Practice Update!
In keeping with the rigorous schedule that Coach Cat has set forth for the team during camp, the Foresters began practicing this morning. When asked about being up in the morning to begin conditioning, defensive lineman Casey Flynn ’12, said, “Starting early is always a different change of pace for the incoming freshmen, but I think that it went very well. We are really getting after it in the weight room. If we keep this tempo throughout the entire season and we take each game one step at a time, I think we are going to have a really good season.” During camp, the Foresters will be spending time building community and strength, both within position groups and among class years.
After observing the performance of the freshmen at this year’s conditioning, quarterback Justin Novak ’13 said, “I think it went a lot better than last year. A lot of the freshmen came in much more prepared than the freshmen were last year. The overall team speed was a lot greater than last year as well. As a result, I am looking forward to the 2010 season.”
In regards to the weight testing, Coach Cat was smiling from ear to ear.
This was our first opportunity to ‘break in’ the new Wes and Sue Dixon weight room. Not only did we break in the weight room, we may have broken EVERY freshman year lifting record!
Our players were really getting after it. Our freshmen were on average forty pounds per lift stronger than our freshman class of a year ago. There were some really impressive numbers being pushed. If this is an indication of playing strength, we are going to have a tremendous season. I know that a number of the upper-class guys were a little surprised at the strength of our new additions. Though there were a lot of bright spots, too numerous to mention, there are also some guys that we are going to have to spend some time with during the pre-season to refine their weight lifting technique.”
Coach Cat continued, saying, “Quite possibly the most impressive stat of the day was that our entire team was able to lift test three different exercises in under an hour. Last year, it took us three and a half hours to do the same lifts with a smaller team. This weight room is amazing, both in its size and its design. I give a lot of credit to our planning staff (Chris Conger, Brian Bruha, and Jackie Slaats) for their plan. I know that they took input from all of our coaches, but their final decisions made for one of the most efficient testing days I have been a part of in over a decade of college coaching.” The impressive performance by the Foresters continued throughout their first day of practice. It was evident that the team was coming together and building bonds, both on and off the field. Coach Cat was again impressed by the freshman class, saying, “I think that it was great that we had so many of our parents at the conditioning test, and they got to see exactly what was going to be asked of their sons playing football at Lake Forest. There were a number of players who really stood out, and a number of the guys who ran track in high school (Marcell Smith, Darrius McKay and Quincy Bagsby) really showed outstanding speed in their tests.

Some returning players that also caught his eye were Aidan Price and Joe Stella, both of whom gained at least twenty pounds in the off-season and returned to perform exceptionally well in this morning’s conditioning test.

As for some on the field football items, the offense and defense remained isolated from each other in the helmet only practice. Today's basic instruction will allow for a sharper learning curve for each player as they set a solid foundation. The two sides of the ball did get together for a "competition circuit" that included a number of challenging agility, speed, and strength drills. The highlights were the tractor tire flip race, the 2 vs 2 tug of war, and the Keg Toss race. The players also met on two different occasions to discuss various topics with the coaches regarding philosophy and X's and O's.

When asked if there was a singular play during the course of the day that truly impressed him, Coach Catanzaro couldn't decide between two of the plays he witnessed: "Freshman safety Alex Gracia made a heck of an interception during a defensive period. He dove, and dragged his feet in bounds while the ball and the rest of his body was hanging perilously out of bounds. Freshman TE Quernellus Jones made a one-handed catch during a passing drill that was really impressive too. Knowing that "Q" was playing in the trenches in high school last year, I was shocked to see such tremendous athleticism and hand-eye coordination. I think that these plays stood out more, because they were made by first-year players. I know that we got a lot of good work done. I can't wait to get back out there tomorrow."

As Coach Cat is working to strengthen his players, I hope that you are all looking forward to game day. 22 days and counting, folks!

-Elise Beckman contributed to this article