Winter conditioning begins for WVU football


This is the time when champions are made.

It’s not the most wonderful time of the year, but some football players can see wonderful results from the work they put forth in the winter months.

For the West Virginia football team, it’s this time of year where changes are made.

This week, the Mountaineers started their winter conditioning program. That means wake up calls come in around 5 a.m. and players report to the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility by 5:50 a.m.

The players will run drills, focus on footwork and strength training and prepare their bodies for the grind of the gridiron season.

It would be easy for some players to put forth a weak effort in these drills. It’s not exactly why the players came to college. During this time, they aren’t scoring touchdowns or making bone-crunching hits on the field. Still, it’s this extra work that’s necessary for players to be ready for the fall.

Though it may seem light years away, the season will be here before we know it. As the seasons change, so does the workout schedule for the players.

The summer workout plan has more to do with weight lifting in West Virginia’s state-of-the-art room in the Milan Puskar Center. So, these light training drills, that include stretches and calisthenics, prepare the players for even more heavy-duty work away from the field.

"“They do a great job,” linebacker Jared Barber said back in 2012. “I can already tell in three weeks that my body is getting a lot faster and a lot stronger. It’s definitely a lot harder, but it is awfully good. We might complain about it, but it is getting us ready for the fall.”"

Barber worked his way through the WVU system and became one of the team’s best defensive players in 2015. It’s because of the work he put in throughout the offseason that allowed him to thrive in the fall.

He set a good example for the current players to make the same impact he did.

Plus, with the West Virginia defense facing a big deficit in players due to graduation, now is the time for some of the younger guys to step up and catch the wondering eyes of some coaches.

Though waking up at 5 a.m. may seem like a nightmare to some players, when it comes to a 7 p.m. kickoff in October, it’s those early conditioning sessions that will keep their motoring running under the lights in front of 60,000 fans.