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Ray Wright Explains The Conditioning Test

Posted by Matt Terl on July 30, 2010 – 1:08 pm

This morning’s practice was much crisper than yesterday’s. The offense — especially the quarterbacks and wideouts — looked markedly better, and a lot fewer passes hit the ground. Trent Williams is in at starting left tackle, and Lorenzo Alexander is doing a predictably remarkable job fitting in at linebacker.

But, hey, who cares about all that football stuff, let’s talk about Albert Haynesworth some more!

Haynesworth again did not pass his conditioning test this morning, so he wasn’t at practice again today. Again he came out with defensive coordinator Jim Haslett for some work on terminology and the like. It was at that point that the media horde assembled — you can get a little sense of it from the picture above — and took pictures of Haynesworth and Haslett chatting. Fans alternated between shouting encouragement and criticism at Haynesworth, and then the defensive tackle walked back into the facility, followed by the media crew. (Which is where this AP photo is actually from.)

But one concrete thing came out of all this: head strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright addressed the media and explained the conditioning test that Haynesworth has been taking in simple terms, explained what Haynesworth has missed, and what he expects from the future.

So let’s lay all the speculation and concern to rest with a quick Q&A format, using Wright’s quotes as our main information source.
So what’s the test?

“The test is two 300 yard shuttles,” Wright said. “The first rep has to be in 70 seconds or better; you get three and a half minutes after, and then he has to run the second rep — that position, O-line/D-line — would have to run it in 73 seconds. 73 seconds for the second one, and that’s the end of the test.”

Wait, shuttles? What are they?

Here’s Wright: “Straight-line run 25 yards, touch your foot on the line, run back, touch your foot on the line. So it’s six times, 300 yards.”

Seems straightforward enough. But I keep reading these reports that he had to run three yesterday! What’s up with that?!?!?

“He didn’t have to do three,” Wright explained. “He ran the first rep and then he had to use the restroom. You get three and a half minutes [as a break] and he was gone close to ten.” Wright said that he suggested that Haynesworth not try to run it again and instead save it for today, but Haynesworth insisted on trying.

Would Albert have passed the test if he hadn’t taken such a long break?

“He might’ve.”

Would he have had to start over if he had gotten the break done in the allotted 3:30?

“No,” Wright said. “He could’ve gone and eaten a hamburger; if he came back in three and a half minutes, he was ready to run.”

Has everyone on the team passed the test?

“It’s actually not a test for everybody on the team,” Wright said, and went on to explain that anyone who was under 50% attendance at offseason work was notified that there would be a test if they finished under 50%. That said, everyone on the team has completed this drill. Wright explained this seeming contradiction: “We ran it as a workout. You guys call it a test but we just use it — we have about fifteen or twenty different workouts, so one of our workouts during the offseason was that ‘test’. Same times and everything.”

But it’s gonna get harder every time he runs it, right? Because his legs are getting tired?

“No,” Wright said, “I disagree. I think what he’s doing is he’s learning how to run. There’s a pace you have to have, a certain tempo each 25 yards. And I expect him to pass it pretty soon. I don’t know when, and I can’t give you tomorrow or two days, but once he familiarizes himself with it, I mean, I think he’ll pass.”

Wait a second. I’m a longtime reader of this blog. Is this the same conditioning test that Randy Thomas’s brother-in-law tried to run last offseason?

Why, yes, it is — although Thomas claimed that offensive and defensive lineman had to finish the first rep in 67, not 70, which would be even tougher. You have an excellent memory, and thanks for sticking with us.

Remind me, how’d that wind up for Thomas’s brother-in-law?

Poorly. Here’s Thomas describing the results to me. “He really embarrassed me, because I put him through the whole offseason workouts. He wants to walk on somewhere, but he walked off today. Today, he really discouraged me, because I thought he was at least getting worked out.”

Wow. So the conditioning test is no joke?

That was, in fact, the title of that blog post. I guess I could reuse it now, though.

And when does Haynesworth run again?

Tomorrow morning. And I devoutly hope he passes, because I am totally sick of this entire saga.

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