Iron Wolfpack

Published 6:19 pm Friday, August 27, 2010

WESSON – They run and pass, make amazing receptions and knockdown defensive linemen. On defense, they leap and stretch to defendpasses, fend off blockers and make crunching tackles. Such is thelife of a college football player.

Football fans see the finished product at games. What they don’tsee are the countless hours of preparation leading up to a game.Also overlooked are the demanding offseason workouts that pushplayers to their limits.

At Copiah-Lincoln Community College, the offseason workouts arestrictly disciplined and players are required to dedicatethemselves to self-improvement. Guiding the workouts is DrewO’Daniel, Co-Lin’s strength and offensive line coach.

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In a typical afternoon workout, O’Daniel props on a weight machineand barks encouragement. Players go through a series of stretchingexercises before lifting weights.

“Overall, we are really pleased,” said O’Daniel, reviewing thesummer regimen. “The fun part is the competitiveness of the playersand their willingness to learn.”

O’Daniel installs a series of lifts that focus on the muscles usedin football. Each sport requires different exercises andlifts.

“We are all going to be on the ground playing football

,” O’Daniel noted. “How quickly you can get off the ground isimportant. The power-clean really helps a player. We want to builda platform to a level of explosive strength. You want to strengthenthe muscles that are used in football.”

Two of O’Daniel’s prize pupils are center Keith Dee of Natchez andlong snapper Ricky Stutts of Flowood (NW Rankin). They possessexceptional strength.

Dee (6-1, 285) was a state champion powerlifter at Natchez. Hisstrength in the squat is maxed at an awesome 700 pounds. He cansquat 10 times with 500 pounds.

“Coach O.D. preaches about how to strengthen your legs,” said Dee.”I have good position and muscle memory. It helps me blockbetter.”

Dee can bench 315 and power-clean 275.

Stutts (5-8, 186) is the total package in terms of lifting, poundfor pound. He also was a state champion powerlifter at NorthwestRankin.

“Being a smaller guy, my being stronger helps be against biggerplayers,” said Stutts. “Lifting makes me a little faster and I canhit harder, too.”

Stutts said the summer workouts were intense. “Coach keepseverything going. You can hear him all over the weight room.”

Stutts has a max of 365 in the bench. He can squat with 520 andclean 280. He has a 700 in the deadlift.

O’Daniel said offensive line usually are the strongest in the benchpress. Joe Bonner can bench press 225 pounds 29 times. Otherleaders are Larry Banks, 27 times; and Charell Carter, 24times.

“We had a great summer in the 500 squat club,” said O’Daniel.”Defensive end Jason Catchings and tackle Roland Dampier, both fromMendenhall made progress. “They had really good summers, bothrunning and lifting,” said O’Daniel.

He said freshman running back from Joel Davis of Natchez and safetyCalvin Jones of Petal made an immediate impact. “Those two guyswere absolute dreams. They are true competitors. They compete hardevery day. They are an Iron Wolf.”

He said freshman long snapper Adam Ogden of Brookhaven “was atrooper for us. He was well prepared for the intensitylevel.”

Ogden spent the last four years win the U.S. Marine Corps.

Most of the players spend the summer on campus, attending summerschool and working out four days a week.

O’Daniel teaches weight training and a football theory class.During the fall, he teaches basic person community health.

Lifting weights doesn’t conclude when preseason practice begins inearly August. O’Daniel said, “We like to do a lift on the day afterthe game for a recovery. It’s a total body workout to get thesoreness out. We also do some running.”

The Wolves also lift two other days of the week. It’s mainlydumbbell work that isolates different areas of muscles.

O’Daniel said the Co-Lin team might not be the biggest in theconference this year but the Wolves are strong and fast. “You canclose your eyes and pick a name on our roster. We have kids who canrun this year. That will be a plus for us.”