Aug. 29, 2012
By Stephen Trembley & Stephanie Juncker
FRESNO, Calif. ---Camouflaged 10-pound flak jackets and a return to the grass inside the track at Warmerdam Field had the Fresno State men's basketball team bonding closer as brothers Wednesday morning during day three of the Bulldogs' week-long boot camp with the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC).
"So many of the things that the ROTC is about is what we are about in terms of team building, the mental over the physical, picking a teammate up, and having each other's back," Fresno State head men's basketball coach Rodney Terry said. "We've really tried to incorporate what those guys do into what we do on a daily basis."
The Bulldogs started the morning with another mile run for the third straight day, but this time, the exercise was split between half-lap jogs and sprints. Returning guards Garrett Johnson and Tyler Johnson steadily built an eventual quarter-lap advantage by the end of the exercise. Both then supported their teammates as everyone finished their fourth lap.
"Coach is talking to us about staying close, picking one another up, making sure that no one is left behind, looking out for each other, and staying mentally strong, which is exactly what this is designed to do," Garrett Johnson said.
That mentality is at the forefront of the skills and leadership development taught by the Fresno State Army ROTC Cadets of the Bulldog Battalion.
"The mental part of it is 90 percent," Cadet Command Sergeant Major Corey Souza said. "Your body can do amazing things. There are all kinds of military schools and military training that is a testament to that. You have so many preconceptions about what you can and cannot do that when you actually push yourself beyond what you think you are capable of, you'll be astounded by the results."
Following the warm-up, the team then put on the flak jackets for rest of the hour-long training. The 10-pound jackets created a mental obstacle along with the physical protection aspect.
The 'Dogs then went through the same 30-yard limited cover scenario as they did on day one back on Monday, starting with a low crawl before a three-to-five second sprint and finishing with a medium crawl. On that same course, the Bulldogs continued their growth from day two with more buddy carries and lunges, and the addition of step and calf-raising training.
But it was the next challenge that was arguably the most difficult of the day as Cadet CSM Souza turned up the intensity by having the team lift and later hold a 45-pound water jug over their head. This immediately preceded more hostile environment cover training.
The 'Dogs then held the water jugs over their head again as the Cadets challenged the team to all maintain a hold for 15 seconds, which wasn't accomplished by the two-minute mark. That resulted in a 60-yard sprint and then another chance at the 15-second hold that was completed on the first try.
The rest of the morning featured more frontwards and backwards running, dropping for cover on a whistle, push-ups, overhead claps, push-up to jumps and air squats.
"We figured that there was going to be a lot of running and jumping, but when we got to carry the water jugs and jumping around and crawling through the grass, that was a blindside but it's for the better," Garret Johnson added. "This makes us mentally stronger. We've got a lot more guys this year also, so a roster full of guys that are mentally strong and on the same page will take us a long way."
The five-day camp is just one part of the Bulldogs' preseason conditioning. Individual workout sessions went on for the rest of the morning.
With six returners and the addition of at least eight newcomers, Fresno State continues to work on getting better each day and as well as developing leadership skills that will be vital when the 'Dogs go into hostile environments and defend their home floor at the Save Mart Center.
"We really want all of our guys to take some ownership and leadership responsibilities," Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry said. "I think for the most part, our guys have. I think our young guys have helped the older guys and vice versa throughout the first three days. By the end of the week, I'm hoping that we have everybody. We are only going to be as good as our weakest link."
Fresno State opens the season at Texas on Nov. 9 with the home opener a week later against Pacific on Nov. 16. In total, the Bulldogs will play 12 of its 29 regular season games versus teams that made the 2012 NCAA Tournament, with six of those games to be played at home.
Fans can secure their 2012-13 men's basketball season tickets for as little as $149 by contacting the Bulldog Foundation at 559-278-7160.
To view all pricing and priority seating locations, please visit: www.bulldogfoundation.org.
To learn more about the Fresno State Army ROTC Bulldog Battalion, please visit: http://www.fresnostate.edu/ROTC/home/index.html.
GETTING TO KNOW: Cadet Command Sergeant Major Corey Souza
Cadet CSM Corey Souza, a senior Fresno State kinesiology major from Turlock, Calif., designed the specific boot camp workouts for the Bulldogs' men's basketball team and has led each of the hour-long sessions this week.
This summer, Souza took a Leadership Assessment Development Course in Fort Lewis, Wash., where he achieved an End of Camp "Excellence" rating and "Recondo" rating, and graduated from the U.S. Army Air Assault School at Fort Benning, Ga. In 2011, he attended the Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency in Costa Rica. Souza has captained the push-up crew for Fresno State football games and aspires to be an Active Duty, Infantry Officer in the Army.
BULLDOGS/ROTC BOOT CAMP SERIES:
Monday (Aug. 27) - DAY 1: 'Dogs Start Week of Boot Camp with Army ROTC
Tuesday (Aug. 28) - DAY 2: Mind Over Matter Pushed
Wednesday (Aug. 29) - DAY 3: Ownership, Teamwork Key
"Discover Fresno State Athletics!" - Remember to wear your Bulldog red on Aug. 31 for College Colors Day to support your Fresno State Bulldogs. Fans can participate in a photo contest for free tickets and parking passes to a home football game. To enter your business, send photos of your office space decked out in Bulldog red, which can easily be done with a Gameday in a Box available for $125 in person at The Bulldog Shop. Photos should be sent to Hank Charles at firstname.lastname@example.org by 12 p.m. on Aug. 31. The winner will be drawn that afternoon.
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