The Penguins completed an eight-week conditioning program.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Todd Burkey is in his fourth season as strength and conditioning coach at Youngstown State and has never seen the Penguins in better shape than they are this spring.
There were some changes last winter to the team's workouts by YSU coach Jon Heacock.
But whether the workouts made a difference or not, the Penguins worked harder and came out stronger than ever before.
The eight-week winter program consisted of seven workouts a week, broken down to four days of lifting, one of team conditioning and two of running.
"We started the second week of January and went right up to spring break," Burkey said. "We're stronger now than we were last summer. We had a lot of younger guys last year, and they've all stepped up this year.
"The overall attitude of this group is also much better," Burkey added. "Instead of lifting to get stronger, these guys are lifting to become better football players."
Burkey said while every one of the players who took part in the program improved their overall weight totals, there were several outstanding efforts.
He listed players like Mike Andrews, Dorian Chenault, Regis Edgerson, Justin Reams, Bob Perez, Jeremiah Wright and Tom Zetts as all having outstanding winter programs.
"Wright increased his lifting by 30 pounds in the squat, 30 pounds in the clean and jerk and 25 pounds in the bench press," Burkey said. "Zetts had increases of 20 pounds in the squat, 30 in the clean and 20 in the bench."
Burkey said the entire offensive line made major improvements.
"Everybody who came out for the program set some type of personal high," he said.
Burkey said attendance at the workout was 100 percent.
"Everybody made every workout," he said. "Some who missed a session would come back at another time to make it up. Nobody missed one workout."
The difference, according to Burkey, has been the players' attitudes.
"We've had players like Brandon Brown and Josh Cayson, who actually hated the weight room in the past, but this year they were there every day," he said.
Burkey will set his goals for the upcoming summer workout program.
"We start June 6 for another eight-week program," he said.
"The summer is different because we're the only ones around here, usually it's just me and about 60 players," he said. "We'll work out Monday through Thursday, and I usually give them the weekends off so they can go home."
"We are expecting to have a phenomenal summer session," he said.