Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Despite Sand, New Drill Is No Day at the Beach

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Despite Sand, New Drill Is No Day at the Beach

Article excerpt

Byline: VITO STELLINO

In the NFL's version of the arms race, the Jaguars have come up with a new wrinkle to help their conditioning program -- a sandpit.

The sandpit, which is 40 yards long and 8 yards wide with 12 inches of sand, was built in the back of one of the team's practice fields this spring.

"It's not a new idea, but it's another tool in our toolkit [to condition players]," strength and conditioning coach Mark Asanovich said.

Asanovich puts together four-player relay teams, which run against each other in the sand.

Asanovich, who said the sandpit was built at a cost of $17,000, also said the next item on his wish list is to build a hill the players can run up.

"At some point, we're going to run out of land around here," joked coach Jack Del Rio, who must sell owner Wayne Weaver on the projects.

Del Rio has a wish list of his own, and a practice-field bubble is at the top.

"I'd like to avoid those 20 interrupted practices we get a year [because of the rain]," he said.

Former Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin also campaigned for a bubble, but the cost has been prohibitive for a small-market, low-revenue team.

ROOKIE PASS-CATCHER COULD LEAD

Don't be surprised if the Jaguars run a lot of two tight-end sets this fall, and rookie tight end Marcedes Lewis tops the team in catches now that Jimmy Smith has retired.

Lewis caught more passes in minicamp than the two wide receivers -- Reggie Williams and Matt Jones -- drafted by the Jaguars in the 2004 and '05 first rounds. Jones missed the final session Sunday because of a tight back.

Del Rio did give Williams good reviews.

"I thought he had a great weekend," Del Rio said. "He's running crisp routes."

Del Rio said that in the past, Williams would rush through his routes and not create separation, but he now understands how to set up the defender. …

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