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Could You Pass Maryland's Fitness Test?

If you don’t know Bearthur Johnson, he is a 364-pound redshirt freshman offensive lineman. I have a particular fondness for him because he is from Hoboken, N.J., a little north of my neck of the woods. Maryland teammates also have a fondness for him.

But Johnson has not been able to practice, at least not much, because he still has not passed Maryland’s conditioning test. Here’s the test: 14 100-yard runs with 35 seconds of rest in between each. Ralph Friedgen does not think it’s too hard. In fact, only five of 105 Maryland players did not pass it. Think you’d pass? Usain Bolt can nearly run 100 yards and back in 18 seconds, but, well, that’s Bolt and no one in history can run as fast as Bolt.

Anyway, here is Friedgen on Johnson’s progress:

“Bearthur Johnson, if he ever gets in shape, he is a pretty good athlete. He is very talented, just right now he doesn’t move fast enough to get where he needs to get. He was 364 today and came in at 380, on his way down. I give him credit. I wouldn’t let him practice until he passed the test, and he still has not passed the test. I have never seen a guy so happy to play football in my life. He is loved by all the players.

“He has to be productive and the only way he will be productive is if he passes the conditioning test. The one thing about the kid, in anything he has ever done, he does not quit it. I have seen kids stop. He might finish it with a sun dial but he will finish the race. This is a whole new world for him. He has never had to deal with the amount of work academically or on the football field. He has the tools to be a good football player. I just don’t know if he has the work ethic, that’s what I have been trying to find out.”

By Eric Prisbell  |  August 26, 2008; 5:10 AM ET
Categories:  Football  | Tags: Bearthur Johnson, Ralph Friedgen, conditioning test  
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Next: Questions for Ralph?


great quote from fridge

Posted by: Ted | August 26, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Whats Friedgen's own personal fitness test???

Posted by: Ryan | August 26, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Great leaders only ask the people that follow them to do tasks that they can do themselves.

Except at UMD football.....

Posted by: Sandwich | August 26, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

How much time do they have to get 1 set of 100yds? So in essence there is no jogging, then a 35 second break??

I don't know too many people who can get pass the 5th set.

Posted by: Darren | August 26, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

The way the test is described doesn't make sense. How long do you get to run each 100? Can it be a jog? Is there a total amount of time it must be completed in? Is 35 seconds the total you get for each 100 (running plus rest)?

The way it's described, it seems the kid gets to do a 100, probably as fast as he can, but no speed requirement. Then he gets to rest for 35 seconds. Then he does another, then another rest.

With no frame of reference for how hard to run, this doesn't seem difficult at all. If the question is whether I can do 14 100 yard dashes in any amount of time without passing out or quitting, then yeah, I think I can do that. Hell, I wouldn't even need any 35 second breaks--I'll just do one 1400 yard walk, thank you.

I think we need more details here, Eric.

Posted by: Josh | August 26, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

@sandwich: Name more than 5 NCAA football coaches (or 1 NFL) coach that can bench 225lbs more than 10 times? Your point is ridiculous, no football coach can do what they ask the players to do. It's why the players are so impressive. Truly good leaders do ask their people to do what they can't, because they are smart enough to surround themselves with people who are more capable than they are at specific tasks.

@eric: The above are right, we need more details to understand if this test is hard (35 seconds total for each 100) or easy (jog a 100 with 35 seconds rest).

Posted by: Chris | August 26, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Mike Tice could easily bench 225 lbs ten times. Art Shell could bench 225 lbs ten times. Rod Marinelli did when he was in the Marines. That's 3 NFL recent/current NFL coaches right there.

Posted by: sandwich | August 26, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

the fitness test is actually not so hard if you run on a regular basis. 100 yards in 35 seconds is about equivalent of a 10 minute mile. I run this on a regular basis without taking any breaks.

Posted by: terp fan | August 26, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Let me start by saying that I've always wholeheartedly supported Coach Friedgen however I have to take issue with some of these comments.

Why would this kid stop? I really do not see anything here to give him credit for. He is getting a free education which at an out-of-state rate is probably in excess of $30,000. This is the second year in a row that he has come to camp out of shape. We used a scholarship and don't even receive a body to practice with in return.

There are probably 30 or more walk-ons on the team who pay there own way and come to camp in shape and practice. It would be nice to hear an occasional nice word about them as opposed to crediting a scholarship player for trying to get into the shape he should have been in when he reported to camp.

Posted by: Disappointed | August 26, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

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