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Hightower Honored As A Richmond Great

Posted by Brian Tinsman on February 21, 2012 – 2:27 pm

Redskins running back Tim Hightower was honored yesterday for his athletic contributions to his alma mater by being inducted into the University of Richmond Hall Of Fame.

Hightower holds the all-time records at Richmond for most yards rushing in a game (295 at Bucknell 9/27/07), season (1,924 in 2007) and career (3,712). He is also the top scoring back in Richmond history, with 20 in 2007, and 34 in his career.

A particularly fitting element of his induction speech was his appreciation to the Spiders staff for giving him an opportunity (and scholarship) even after he was injured in his final season at Episcopal High School (via John O’Connor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch):

“It seemed like the end of the world,” Hightower said. A scholarship was his ticket to a college education. “Where am I going to go?” Hightower asked himself. For a while, there was no answer.

He started getting phone calls from Jim Reid, the University of Richmond’s coach at the time, and Jeff Hanson, one of Reid’s assistants. They visited Hightower in Alexandria.

“The next thing you know, I’ve got a scholarship to the University of Richmond, which I knew nothing about,” Hightower recalled on Saturday, when he was inducted into the UR athletics hall of fame.

“It truly was a blessing. I went from this kid who was very unsure of his future, had no clue what the next day held, to being a kid with a support system, with a coaching staff, with teammates, who helped me become somebody who people respect.”

Interestingly, Hightower finds himself in a similar situation going into free agency this offseason.  Teams that had previously been following his contract season closely were certainly disheartened by his injury in Week 7 against the Panthers.

Now, no matter where he ends up, Hightower has announced that he intends to be ready for the start of training camp this season.  Although there are some good and bad days, he also reported that his rehab is going well  (via the Richmond Times-Dispatch):

“You have those days when you wake up and you’re a little sore, and you’re thinking you’re not doing better. And then you go out there and do something functionally that you couldn’t do last week. That lets you know you’re progressing.”

“I don’t know how to throttle down. I don’t know how to back off,” said Hightower, Washington’s leading rusher (321 yards on 84 carries) before suffering the torn ligament in his left knee.

Hightower also told reporters that he hopes and expects to be back in Washington next year, keeping him close to his Alexandria, Va. home.

Congratulations to Tim on the well-deserved honor after a dazzling Richmond Spiders career.

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Carriker Looking To Be ‘Explosive’ In 2012

Posted by Brian Tinsman on February 21, 2012 – 12:59 pm

AP Image

Redskins defensive end Adam Carriker is widely considered to be the team’s strongest player, and one of the top forces in the NFL.  Last season was a bit of a breakout year for the defensive end, who has steadily increased his production since coming into the league five seasons ago.

I recently chatted with Carriker about his time in the gym, and how he was able to translate that into football success in 2011.  According to him, this is a year-round process to exceed his prior limitations.

“Two years ago, I was the strongest I’ve ever been in my life, and last year I was even stronger,” he said.  “I’ve been around for long enough and I get tips from other people, so this year it’s my goal to do that again.

“I can tell you that I’ll be stronger next year than I’ve ever been.”

In 2011, Carriker made it his goal to bench over 500 pounds, incline press 450 pounds, dip 550 pounds, squat 600 pounds, and clean and jerk 405 pounds.  Check, check, check, check, and check.

This year?

“I wanna do the same exact weight and same exact reps–but I wanna do them faster and more explosively,” he told me.  “Instead of struggling on the seventh and eighth reps and barely getting them, I want to do four incredibly fast, and then four where I don’t even need a spotter.”

He continued: “I can be a body builder, I can be a power lifter, but at some point with strength, you need to convert it into something else.  When I say, I should say ‘stronger,’ I  really mean ‘to be more explosive with the same weight.'”

Carriker employed his explosiveness in 2011 by registering 5.5 sacks from the 3-4 defensive end position, an impressive stat that led the Redskins defensive linemen for 11 weeks.  He finished the season a half-sack behind teammate Stephen Bowen, but rarely played in nickel packages on obvious passing downs.

Carriker maximized his opportunities on defense, finishing tied for fourth in the NFL for sacks by a 3-4 defensive end.

“Y’know, London can run around and get 166 tackles and lead the NFL, the outside guys get the sacks, and it’s not our job to do that,” he said with a shrug.  “We can still make plays, but we know that our job won’t get the numbers.”

Carriker likened his role on defense to what his opponents in the trenches do for the offense–hard work with little glamour. Read more »

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