Football Camp Notebook (#6)

August 7, 2001 · MT Media Relations
(following orientation on Aug. 7)

LIFTER OF THE YEAR, BEST CONDITIONED ATHLETE ANNOUNCED: Following the summer workout program each year the Blue Raider Strength and Conditioning staff honor the Lifter of the Year and the Best Conditioned Athlete. Lifter of the Year is voted on by the players, who pick someone who has been dedicated, hard working, and has shown great improvement and determination, while the Best Conditioned Athlete is someone who scored the highest in their lifting. Redshirt sophomore Joey Montalbano, out of Nashville, TN, was voted the Lifter of the Year for 2001, while Kendall Newson came in second and Kerry Wright placed third. "Joey's intensity in every workout and commitment in every workout is well evidenced and respected by his teammates," said strength coach Robb Rogers. Montalbano played in 10 games last year as a member of the kickoff team and recorded eight tackles. The Best Conditioned Athlete went to Glen Elarbee, Lucas Frost (dropped over five percent body fat and still gained 17 pounds), Chris Gatlin and Newson whom all scored a perfect 34 out of 34. The point system is based on bodyweight, body fat percentage, strength tests and conditioning tests. "Those four guys made a tremendous commitment both at the facility and the other 22 hours when they were at home," Rogers stated. "It's obvious by the physical change in two of their bodies (Lucas and Elarbee) and the strength scores of the other two (Gatlin and Newson)." For the summer, over 90 percent of the players attended 90 percent of all the workouts, which is the goal set each year by the staff. "The year we won the conference title at Baylor we had seven guys doing penalty runs for not hitting the minimum allowed score," Rogers said. "This year at Middle Tennessee we had only two, which is the fewest I have ever had in all my years of coaching. This is objective numerical proof, and really shows the commitment by the players." Senior signal-caller Wes Counts was the only player to have a perfect attendance during the summer workout program.

WESTBROOK JUST MISSES - AGAIN: For the second straight year, offensive tackle Brandon Westbrook missed being one of the program's Best Conditioned Athlete's by a mere one point. The sophomore scored 33 out of a possible 34 points to join Don Calloway and Ben Howze for second place honors. The 2001 workout program was a little different for Westbrook since he was coming off an injury, which makes his accomplishment even more impressive. "To put together that high of a score fresh off a serious injury is remarkable," Rogers said.

HENDERSON NEWEST COACH: The newest member of the Blue Raider coaching staff is Curtis Henderson from Humble, TX. Henderson, who makes his way to Murfreesboro via Baylor University, will be a graduate assistant helping coach the defense. Henderson played free safety for the Bears from 1995-1999 and was the team's sixth leading tackler (64 stops) as a senior. Henderson was a high school all-american at Humble where he tallied 142 tackles, four sacks and six fumble recoveries as a senior.

WEDNESDAY'S SCHEDULE: Two-A-Day practices will get back in full swing with the first workout starting at 8 AM and concluding at 10:20 AM, while the evening practice will begin at 5:20 PM. Two-A-Days will conclude on Aug. 18.

TIDBITS: The Blue Raider Football Preview will begin airing on MTSU Channel 9 on Comcast cable television on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. It will air each Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7:00 p.m., Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. and Sundays at 4:00 p.m. for the next three weeks. The show features last year's Blue Raider highlight video along with preseason information on the football team, parking, ticket packages, and more - Fan Day/Media Day is scheduled for Aug. 18 at Noon at Floyd Stadium (free hotdogs and cokes will be provided along with opportunities to get autographs and pictures with all the players and coaches) - If you would like to purchase a 2001 football media guide the cost is $12, plus $3 for handling and shipping - To order, please call 615-898-2968 or email your request to mrowens@mtsu.edu.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.