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News & Notes: An 'Old School' Welcome

Mike Rumph had not done an "up-down" drill since high school. But there he was, at Redskins Park, sweating it out with teammates as assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams presided over the drill.

"Up-downs" are common in high school football practices. They typically require a player to run in place, then at the coach's command, drop to the ground for a series of push-ups.

"It took me back a couple of years," Rumph said of Wednesday's drill. "But it was all worth it so I could be on this team."

Antuan Edwards didn't know it was coming, either.

"I haven't experienced something like that in a long time," he said. "Going straight from up-downs to individual drills--that was tough."

Two of the newest Redskins were indoctrinated into Coach Williams' way of doing things. Rumph and Edwards, both defensive backs, were joined by cornerback Julian Battle and linebacker Jeff Posey in the "up-down" drills.

For Williams, the drill helps set a tone for new players and sends a message that a lax effort won't be tolerated.

"That's a high school football drill, and I'm an old high school football coach," he said.

Williams first saw the drill used in the NFL ranks by Buddy Ryan, the former defensive coordinator at Chicago and head coach at Philadelphia. Williams was an assistant under Ryan in 1993 with the Houston Oilers.

"I was helping to coach the secondary and I was the special teams coordinator, and Buddy comes in and gets everyone's attention with up-downs," Williams recalled. "I was thinking, 'Hey, this is pretty good. We can do this in the National Football League like we did in high school?'

"And what I learned from Buddy is this: This game is the same game at every level. It's how you mold men. It's not about X's and O's, it's about what you do around those X's and O's.

"That's a hard conditioning drill that we do. It's a conditioning test. It's let them know that when you're on the ground, you better not be on the ground very long in this league as a Redskins defender, or else you're not going to be around here."


Defensive end Phillip Daniels underwent an MRI on his back on Wednesday and the 11-year veteran has been advised to "rest for a week or two," head coach Joe Gibbs said.

Daniels experienced back spasms during Tuesday's practice and had to be helped off the field.

Said Gibbs: "Doctors had a good look at it and I think we're going to be okay there. He's going to rest for a little bit and then come back."

Gregg Williams also was not concerned.

"I don't need to see anything more from Phillip," Williams said. "I know what he can do. He has worked extremely hard and well in OTAs and training camp so far, and he's one of the more highly conditioned players we have in here."

Daniels started all 16 games last season and recorded 72 tackles, eight sacks and two forced fumbles last season. He was particularly strong down the stretch, when he logged six sacks in the final three regular-season games.

"If we can take some of the pounding off of him and have him fresh, that'll help us in December," Williams said. "I just want to make sure he's available on opening day."

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