The football program has released their strength and conditioning "award" winners for the winter and spring session. It's always fun to see the linemen bench stats and runningback forty times. Here are a few things that stood out to me:
OL Nate Solder - workout freak. He was the top performer in five out of the seven categories for the offensive line with an impressive 407 pound power clean and a 4.86 forty. All of this from a guy that was a converted tight end who is now 6'9" 300 pounds. Solder led the entire team, regardless of position, in total power clean weight and hang clean as well. I am little surprised that Ryan Miller only made one appearance on the list, coming in 3rd in the bench press for offensive linemen.
C Mike Iltis - a guy who shouldn't considered completely healed from last year's knee injury also has impressive numbers considering that injury. He ranked in the top three in five of the seven events for linemen. Iltis certainly won't be mistaken for Solder but he was definitely had the second best offensive lineman performance.
DE Marquez Herrod - he showed very well among the defensive linemen, specifically in the strength categories where he was the leader in power clean (370), hang clean (426), squat (677) and bench (405). Herrod also had the second best forty time among the line at 5.00 seconds. Hopefully that leads to increased quarterback pressures in 2009 . A year ago, Herrod played in 11 games but only for 187 total plays and still was tied for second on the team in sacks (4). I am sure the coaches want to see more consistency in his play this season, hopefully his workout performance transitions to the field.
No one on the defensive line outperformed another team unit in any single workout (i.e. an offensive lineman was the overall best in bench, a cornerback was the best in forty times, etc.)
LB Marcus Burton - just remember this guy is 6'0" 260 pounds. Low center of gravity, not too tall so he should be expected to do do well in some of the strength exercises but the guy pretty much blew it out of the water everywhere. The senior just keeps surprising this year. After being an afterthought a year ago, Burton quickly inserted himself as a starter this spring.
At first glance, he seemed like a strong candidate for a move to the defensive line. I mean he is 260 pounds. Forget that thought. Burton is not only the biggest linebacker on the team but also the fastest, running a 4.78 forty. He led the linebackers in power clean (381), hang clean (445 pounds which tied him with Nate Solder as the strongest on the team), squat (666 good for second on the team), bench and forty time. He finished second in vertical jump and third in pro agility. Right along with Solder, Burton had the strongest performance on the team.
Running backs - Demetrius Sumler and Kevin Moyd led the group in the strength categories while Brian Lockridge, Rodney Stewart and Darrell Scott showed well in the vertical, forty and pro agility. Brian Lockridge ran a 4.45 forty followed by Darrell Scott at 4.49 and Rodney Stewart at 4.54. Brian Lockridge had the best vertical on the team at 36.5 inches. Scott, Lockridge and Stewart's strength will catch up with experience. All three are considered coming off of injury.
Wide Receivers - Markques Simas or Scotty McKnight did not finish first in any one wide receiver workout with the best forty time coming in at 4.65 by walk-on Dustin Ebner. Markques Simas ran a 4.75. Jason Espinoza performed well among the receivers, leading in four of the seven workouts. These results confirm the importance of Andre Simmons, Terdema Ussery and Jarrod Darden coming in and excelling.
CB Jimmy Smith - he was in the top 3 of all seven workouts for cornerbacks, finishing first in three: hang clean, bench and forty time. His 4.44 forty was the best of any player on the team, edging out Brian Lockridge. Ben Burney had the best pro agility on the team at 4.0 seconds.
For fun, I put some of the team leaders for the Buffs against last year's 40 yard dash NFL combine results to see how the Buffs stack up in speed. The rank column assumes if the player(s) would have ran in the combine for their position in last year's event, where would they have been slotted:
|Forty Time (seconds)|
|Position||Buffs Leader||Potential Rank||Top Combine Result|
|Offensive Line||OT Nate Solder - 4.86||1st||OL Lydon Murtha - 4.89|
|Defensive Line||DL Nick O'Neill - 4.84||t-7th||DL L. Sidbury - 4.64|
|Linebackers||LB Marcus Burton - 4.78||11th||LB Aaron Curry - 4.56|
|Tight Ends||TE Pat DeVenny - 4.79||t-11th||TE Jared Cook - 4.50|
|Runningbacks||RB Brian Lockridge - 4.45||t-1st||RB Cedric Peerman - 4.45|
|Defensive Backs||CB Jimmy Smith - 4.44||1st||CB Darius Butler - 4.46|
|Wide Receivers||WR Dustin Ebner - 4.65||30th+||WR D. Heyward-Bey - 4.30|
|Quarterbacks||QB Hawkins/Hansen - 4.88||t-8th||QB Pat White - 4.55|