The summer rock...pre-Alden Darby with a sledgehammer (Photo: Ben Haber)
The Arizona State football culture continues to be revamped, and today marked a major step in that effort with both the end of summer workouts but the beginning of a mission.
The current Sun Devil players were pushed beyond their comfort zones. All of Coach Todd Graham's coaching and support staff have demanded 100% effort be given everyday in order to bring out the best in each student-athlete. Today's workouts consisted of the player's last bench press test before camp, while also working on their conditioning.
Watching this team persevere through the rigorous workouts was incredible. The unity built on days like today will be invaluable come kick off time against NAU.
Throughout the blood, sweat and pain, every ASU player increased his strength and mobility.
"Summer program was 100 percent effort honestly, everybody gave their all everyday," Linebacker Brandon Magee said. "As you can see, everybody's maxes went up, our conditioning went up and people are in shape now ready to go."
Among the many changes this summer was the new tradition of conquering each rock or obstacle one at a time, striving to climb a mountain. Senior safety Alden Darby had the honors of breaking the summer camp rock.
"It just symbolizes that we crushed our opponent, so the rock we broke today was just the rock of the summer, we crushed the summer," running back Cameron Marshall said. "We're looking forward to moving onto the next thing is camp then we get NAU as the season opener."
Countless players praised strength and conditioning Coach Shawn Griswold and believe his guidance was instrumental in the success of summer camp. Witnessing his relentless work ethic and motivation tactics almost made me put my recorder down and go train with the team.
"Tremendous guy," said Darby in reference to Griswold. "He has had us working our buts off in the weight room and the conditioning." Darby went on to detail how in the beginning of summer, the team did the running drills twice through, and that was really tough. Now the same ASU players do those conditioning drills four times, without it fazing them.
But fans must wonder; Yeah, all this sounds good, but what does it really mean?
A key problem leading to the demise of last season was the tendency of having individuals out on the field, instead of one team all on the same page. While summer workouts cannot directly be translated to wins in the standings, they set the precedent on the hard work that it will take to accomplish their mission: win the Rose Bowl. Last year was extremely disappointing, but rather than feeling sorry for themselves, the Devils have used it as motivation to get better.
"There is going to be adversity on the field and we got to have 11 guys that trust and love each other and will play hard for each other," Griswold said. "Because there is going to be a time in the fall where we can't stop the bleeding, they are running it down our throat, they are throwing it down our throat....we can't have 11 guys out there fighting amongst each other, and they have to look back to hopefully the summer and spring ball."
The core values instilled into ASU players this summer cannot be forgotten in order to have a good season. The Devils have embraced their fellow teammates, regardless if they are competing for the same spot; it appears to be one big family.
"Summer workouts was big for us we came together as a team a lot more," Darby said. "We worked harder then we ever worked before, and we pushed each other to limits that some of us did not think we had in us...nobody slacked off."
Video of Darby smashing the rock: