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June 8, 2014

Summer no longer hands-off for coaches

NORMAN — A tradition developed every late July among college football coaches. They would meet the media en masse for the first time since April, but all questions regarding the current team’s health, fitness or work habits were quickly deflected.

An NCAA rule prevented coaches from attending any workouts with players in the summer months.

However, that changes for football on Monday. As long as the player is enrolled in summer classes, coaches can work with him for two hours a week.

OU coach Bob Stoops doesn’t believe the rule will alter his team’s summer routine. The conditioning program operated by sports enhancement director Jerry Schmidt will remain in place.

“I don’t want to change our conditioning, speed, strength training regiment. It’s been very positive for us,” Stoops said.

What Stoops envisions is using about 90 minutes for some extra football tutoring with younger players.

“To have meetings with freshmen or new guys to go over tape and teach a little bit of what you are allowed to do,” Stoops said. “They’ll be able to be coached up with terminology and what we are doing quicker with us helping them.”

Summer workouts have become mainstays in both football and basketball and most other sports over the last two decades. Long gone are the days of players going home for a two-month summer break.

“If you are going to compete at this level, it’s a year-round process,” Stoops said. “When I played however many years ago, you go home for the summer, paint houses, work out when you could and come back and still be OK; that’s not the way of the world now. You try and do that now and you’re not going to play. Someone else is going beat you out or you are going to get hurt.”

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