Looking Good At Big East Media Day

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Now that's what I call, "Representing the C."


All eight Big East head football coaches brought several of their top players to Newport, RI for Big East Media Day this week, and no contingent looked sharper that the UC quartet of Butch Jones, Zach Collaros, J.K. Shaffer, and Armon Binns.


Bearcats in Newport.jpg 

"I think I'm underdressed," Coach Jones said with a laugh.  "Armon Binns may be the best-dressed person in the Big East.  The thing that you look at is pride, and our kids are wearing Red and Black.  We talk about 'Representing the C' and having pride in your football program.  This is just another example of what's going on in Cincinnati."


"We're definitely trying to represent the Bearcat colors," Shaffer said.  "I certainly wasn't going to come in here wearing a blue shirt and a yellow tie."


But nice clothes are not the only way the Bearcats are looking good these days.  New strength coach Dave Lawson and his assistant Mike Szerszen and taken the off-season conditioning program to a new level.


"It's been brutal," Binns said.  "They ran us a lot and lifted us hard, but I think it's going to bring a tougher mentality to our team.  We'll be able to push for four quarters and keep pressure on teams."


"I've put on about five or six pounds of muscle," Collaros said.  "They've really taken us to different levels of work that we haven't seen in the past few years.  No disrespect to Coach Longo - we loved him and his program - but it's a different philosophy that Coach Lawson runs.  Everyone has bought into it and people are in the best condition that I've seen them in.  Our bodies have changed significantly.  They really believe in being the best-conditioned team in the country, and I'd put us up against anybody."


"It's been tough, but I love that stuff," Shaffer said.  "Without that, I'm not as good of a player.  That's the kind of workouts that I used to do in high school and I've missed it.  It's been a tough winter, spring, and summer but we're all benefiting a lot from it."


"They have a lot of confidence coming from our strength and conditioning program," Coach Jones said.  "Dave Lawson and Mike Szerszen have done an extraordinary job of getting these guys going.  They've all had personal bests - not only in running, but in lifting too.  For us to play the up-tempo style of football that we want to play, they have to be in the best shape of their lives and right now you can see it in their eyes."


In their eyes . . . in their bodies . . . and even in their clothes.  It's all about "Representing the C."


"To me, it's about how you carry yourself - on and off the field.," Binns said.  "It's about how you work and the demeanor that you have in anything that you do in life.  You're representing the University of Cincinnati and you're a different breed."


"For me, it's really special because it's not just talking about our team - it's talking about the city and you know how special the city of Cincinnati is to me," Shaffer said.  "So it's more than just representing the Cincinnati Bearcats for me.  I try to live that every day."


I'd love to hear from you.  The address is dhoard@pawsox.com.


And if you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard

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