April 26, 2006

The results are in! FSU is fast and strong

With the start of football season still months away, one of the more interesting off-season diversions is the player performance and strength tests. In the past, tests such as the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and bench press were completed near the conclusion of the summer workout program in July. Invariably, the tests always yield interesting results.

This year, the Seminole strength and conditioning staff decided to change things up and have the players complete a full round of testing before and after spring football practice. However, this won't be the end of the testing for the year -- there will be some re-testing done in July. The exception is the the 40-yard dash, which won't be run again until next spring.

"To line up and run 40's, the risk just ends up being greater than the benefit," strength and conditioning coach Jon Jost said. "We already know these guys are fast. It also ends up being a distraction."

In past years, the 40-yard dash test was completed on Mike Long Track and timed with a handheld stopwatch. As a result, the times were unrealistically fast when compared to the times at the NFL Pro Combine, which is run on synthetic turf. In order to make the times more realistic, FSU went to electronic timing last year but the test was still run on FSU's fast track. This year, the test was moved to the new synthetic turf field near FSU's Circus, which is the same surface the NFL uses in Indianapolis. As a result, you would expect the 40-times to be a bit slower, but that wasn't the case for FSU's four fastest players.

Sophomore wide receiver Kenny O'Neal led the way with a blistering 4.28 40-time, which is slightly faster than the 4.31 time he posted last summer on the track. Considering you can generally deduct one-tenth (.10) to two-tenths (.20) of a second to get a comparable time to running on a track with a stopwatch, O'Neal's time would translate to somewhere between 4.08 and 4.18 under the old system. Reportedly, the top time ever recorded at FSU was 4.17 by Laveranues Coles in 1998 but that was on the track and recorded by a handheld stopwatch. Also, O'Neal's time would have been tops at February's NFL Combine -- Clemson's Tye Hill had the fastest 40-time in Indianapolis at 4.30 seconds.

Just as surprising are three other players that came in with times just behind him.

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