A day in the life of a football player during preseason is brutal, but it will all be worth it come playoff time.
The team arrived a little over two weeks ago and has not relaxed in their time before the students arrive on campus. After a summer running and lifting, the team has been hard at work. Training from 6:45 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. with practically no breaks in between ensures the players will be resting their heads on their pillows at the drop of 10:00 p.m.
Still, the team has ramped it up a notch this preseason.
“We are playing at a different level than last year,” said John Troxell, head coach of the football team. This preseason the team competed in the “Tough Mudder,” a British Special Forces obstacle course known as one of the most rigorous obstacles in the world. Coach Troxell’s implementation of the Tough Mudder was not only to get the team in better shape, but also to bring the team together. “[Activities like this] help create a bond,” Troxell said. Integrating the first-years into the team is important to Troxell. With the same goal in mind, each season the team spends their first night together in Weis College House to get to know the first-years.
During the team’s time off they spend their breaks together: eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner together, and watching movies like Band of Brothers as a team. “This is something they can take away for years to come,” Troxell said.
The team also prepares for the season by scrimmaging competitive teams. This past Thursday the team scrimmaged Lycoming College, who is ranked twenty-fifth in the country, making them very tough competition. Playing teams like this will give F&M the chance to play against some of the best collegiate players in the country.
Earlier in the offseason, in the spring, the team lifted four days a week to maintain mass and strength. Staying in shape is a year-long effort for those on the football team. Coach Troxell was pleased with their efforts in the offseason.
“The guys came back in really good shape,” Troxell said.
The team this year also came together compiling a list of why they play the game. The team sat down in the beginning of preseason and put together a list. The list that is hung prominently in the football locker room states they play the game for 1) family, 2) loyalty, 3) pride, 4) competitiveness, and 5) integrity.
“That is what we’re trying to teach the kids,” Troxell said.
With these goals in mind, the team will succeed.
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