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STATE COLLEGE -- The Penn State football program opened the doors to the weight room inside of the Lasch Building for its annual March media session ahead of spring practice.
An event that started with routine stretching and warm-up work including but not limited to ladder runs and stretching with rubber bands eventually turned into a party-like atmosphere as multiple Nittany Lions completed max out squat lifting testing while their teammates cheered them on.
Returning All-American linebacker Micah Parsons and budding star defensive end Jayson Oweh both looked on, but unlike this time a year ago, the focus wasn’t on which of the two ultra-competitive and extremely athletic classmates could run faster (that’s Oweh, by the way).
That’s because, according to head strength Dwight Galt, the two took different paths in the conditioning realm since the 2019 season ended with a victory over Memphis in the Cotton Bowl.
“Jayson’s coming off of some shoulder issues, so he was on a separate program, but had a great winter, and really did a nice job of working around it, but really wasn’t in the kind of position in the training program to go after Micah,” Galt explained.
Parsons, meanwhile, broke Jason Cabinda’s program power clean record for a linebacker, which was previously 370 pounds, with a mark of 385 pounds. He is also currently the program’s linebacker leader in the squad after maxing out at 575 pounds last winter. It’s one of the reasons why his training regime was altered some this offseason.
“We kind of backed him down a little bit with the weights we’ve been giving him, and he’s more velocity based,” Galt said. “He continues to build on his vertical explosion.”
For Parsons, that means finetuning the rest of his body to maximize explosion and reaction time, among other things, to build on the prolific start to his career.
The work during spring practice and through April’s Blue-White game. Then, summer conditioning starts, and Oweh will be back to full strength and ready to push Parsons as the pair aims to lead what will be a 2020 defense that mixes some key returners and plenty of newcomers with high expectations.
“When Jayson comes back this summer, that’s going to be a really interesting resuming of that competition, because Jayson got him a little bit [last year], and we’ll see how Micah responds,” Galt said.
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