Aug. 10, 2009
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Georgetown University senior football captain Dan Matheny (Fairfax, Va./St. Paul VI) has been down this road this before. He has been through the orientation day with his coaches and he's been through the first practice of the season. And he's also been through the first really hot practice of the season. So days like today - when the temperature is hitting near triple digits - don't faze him too much.
The Hoya football team returned to campus on Sunday morning, with 91 players and their parents checking in to the team's preseason camp. Head Coach Kevin Kelly, his staff and the team enjoyed a relaxed dinner at Leo's on Sunday evening before heading over to the Reiss Science Building for its orientation meeting, with athletics department representatives from compliance, equipment, sports information and sports medicine each addressing the team.
As long as Sunday may have been for each of the players, Matheny has been through this before. He knew sitting through meetings would be a piece of cake compared to what he and his teammates faced on Monday. And when the heat and humidity began to pick up in the District over the weekend, Matheny knew today was going to be a tough one.
"It's a lot tougher with the heat, I'll admit that," Matheny said over the phone Monday afternoon. "It makes it tough getting out there, but once we get going, we'll be fine."
To adjust to the scorching heat in the area - temperatures on Monday afternoon had reached as high as 96 degrees near 5 p.m., when the team was scheduled to be in the midst of its first practice - Kelly moved the team's practice to 7 p.m., and the Hoyas first run-through will be under the lights.
"For sure, that will be really cool (no pun intended)," Matheny said. "It will be a pretty neat feeling to start the season under the lights and it will give us a feeling for what's coming up in September (when Georgetown hosts Lafayette on Sept. 12 at 6 p.m.)."
Despite the heat, Matheny was excited and ready to go. "can feel a completely different attitude in the guys," Matheny said. "It's the best attitude I've seen since I've been here. The way guys carried themselves in our meetings, they way they carried themselves in our run this morning (Monday). I'm sure it will show in practice."
The players had a bit of a taste of the heat on Monday morning when they had to go through their conditioning runs, a pair of 300-yard shuttle runs.
"That's always a tough way to start things," Matheny said. "Once you get through that and the first day or two of practices, it's not bad. The toughest part is the mental stuff - going to meetings for four hours, having the coaches throw stuff at you and having that translate to the field. For the freshman, it's like learning Japanese."
Matheny and his teammates, his senior classmates, are looking forward to the camp.
"It's never easy," he said."I'm not a pro at this, but I know what's coming at me. I know that all the work we did during the summer is going to show in the next few weeks."