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The Inside Track | MORNING BRIEFING

They'll Shake It Up to Shape Them Up

July 30, 2006|Bob Rohwer | Times Staff Writer

College coaches across the country have their football players lifting weights and running wind sprints this summer, but the strength and conditioning coaches at Louisville, North Carolina and Texas have added twists to their programs.

"You've got to keep it fresh," Louisville's Jason Veltkamp told the Sporting News. "And you have to keep them interested."

For the Cardinals, that means boxing -- gloves for the player, focus mitts for Veltkamp and 15 three-minute rounds per session.

"My staff and I box every now and then, go five rounds and get in a good workout," he said.

At North Carolina, players run the steps at Kenan Stadium while each carries a 65-pound bag of cement.

"They dread it. And I'm pretty sure they hate me because of it," said Jeff Connors, adding that the old-fashioned drill "works nearly every muscle group."

And at Texas, there's Madden's Pit -- a 35-yard-long, 10-yard-wide stretch of sand in which players, who are wearing weighted vests, are pushed through position-specific drills by Jeff Madden.

Said the coach: "We tell the freshmen, 'You want to go play on the beach?' "

Trivia time: Who was the first pitcher elected to the Hall of Fame without starting a game in the major leagues?

Re-cycling: Among excuses appearing on David Letterman's top 10 list for Tour de France winner Floyd Landis' flunking of a drug test:

* "Who can resist BALCO's delicious 'spicy chipotle' flavor?"

* "I was trying to impress Sheryl Crow."

* "The world hates Americans already, so does this really matter?"

Along for the drive: One difference between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, noted Tim Kawakami in the San Jose Mercury News: "Woods hit his driver just once in four rounds because he knew that was the smartest way to win the British Open last weekend; Mickelson hit his driver on the last hole of the U.S. Open last month even though that was just about the only way he could lose it."

A nodding approval: Although he said he admired his bobblehead's goatee, White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko complained to SI.com.

"On my bobblehead, my waistline is bigger than my shoulders," the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Chicago slugger said. "I hope it's not true, but it might be."

Looking back: On this date in 1932, a crowd of 105,000 watched as some 2,000 athletes paraded into Memorial Coliseum, which was then known as Olympic Stadium, for the opening of the 10th modern Olympic Games, in Los Angeles.

Trivia answer: Relief pitcher Bruce Sutter, who was elected on Jan. 10 and will be enshrined today in Cooperstown, N.Y.

And finally: On the U.S. Olympic Committee's recent decision to consider Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco for the U.S. bid to serve as host for the 2016 Olympics: "That's an easy decision," comedian Argus Hamilton said. "According to Al Gore, Chicago will be the only one of the three cities still above water by then."

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