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21 August 2006

More Goes into Jax State Two-a-Day Practices
than Meets the Eye

Two-a-day workouts have started at Jacksonville State. The familiar shrill of the whistle is in the air. Players are giving it all to make the traveling squad, sweating, running, running more and sweating even more.

But what goes on behind the scenes so that the players can get ready for the football season? Calls to JSU Sports Information Director Greg Seitz and Assistant Equipment Manager Scott Graham and finally to Chris Glenn at food services provided answers.

Let me put this bluntly Ö two-a-days are a lot of work for everybody concerned. Take for instance the equipment managers. Everything you see on the field, all of the equipment, the cones, pads, balls, everything is there because the equipment managers make sure it is there.

For two-a-days, this dedicated group of people get up about 3:15 (thatís a.m.!) so that they can start setting up the practice field at 4 a.m. Thatís four a.m. Who gets up at that time of morning? After the 6 a.m. practice comes the real heavy-duty work ó cleaning the uniforms (that means pants, jerseys, girdles, under armour) everything that needs to be washed for 90 players and 20 coaches.

Two washers ó big, commercial sized washers ó and two dryers do all this work, and seven staff members. Before the players come back for their afternoon practice, the clothes are washed, dried and folded in the lockers, a process that has taken three to four hours to complete.

After the afternoon practice is over, the process is repeated so that everything will be ready for practice the next morning. The equipment managers leave to go home at 9 p.m, having put in a 17-hour work day.

Feeding these players is quite the task, also. These are still growing boys, and growing boys can eat! Glenn at food services tells me they eat to the tune of 800 pounds of meat, 600 to 700 pounds of potatoes and 80 to 150 pounds of vegetables (they usually have two to three choices per day) per week! That breaks down to about 65 to 75 pounds of ham, turkey or chicken per meal, 20 pounds per vegetable per meal, and 90 to 100 pounds of mashed potatoes! Now thatís a lot of potatoes!

Despite trying to get the players to bulk up and get enough to eat (who could go away hungry? Oh, sorry, there are those who are watching their weight) the meals are well balanced and are prepared after conversing with the trainers. They do try to be very health conscious and stick to baked rather than fried foods.

The players are also offered a lot of leafy things like greens, collards and spinach. A lot of pasta is also available with the main noodle of choice being spaghetti, about 280 to 300 pounds worth per week.

The football players usually eat off of the main line with choices of pizza, hamburgers, hotdogs, rice and sizzling salad. The players opt for drinks like Power aide, lemonade, water, sweet tea and juices, staying away from carbonated drinks.

See story at The Jacksonville News's website: .

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