Entering the 2012 college football season, expectations aren’t particularly high for the Northwestern football team. Coming off a 6-7 season, and playing in a brutal Big Ten division that features Michigan State, Michigan and Nebraska, things won’t be easy for the Wildcats in 2012.
But if Northwestern were to exceed expectations, well, it may be courtesy of a team bonding experience that happened during fall camp. No, it had nothing to do with a Remember the Titans-ish trip into the woods for fall camp or a getaway to the pool like the Kentucky football team had earlier this summer.
Nope, instead it would have everything to do with an unexpected visit from some of America’s finest military personnel.
That’s because late last week when the Wildcats were told they had a day off from practice, most assumed it’d be a nice chance for them to rest their bodies and recuperate their minds. And even when they were told that Navy SEALS personnel would be visiting the team, most expected it to involve some sort of speech on team unity.
Instead, the Wildcats went went to work.
Sophomore defensive back Ibraheim Campbell best described how quickly the events of the afternoon changed, when he told NU Athletics:
“First I thought it was going to be a little talk about team work and stuff like that,” Campbell said. But then he’s got us down doing push-ups and I started to realize it was a little more.”
A little more is right, as the Wildcats went into full-scale SEALS training mode. It included water exercises and crawling through the sand, occasionally with a teammate on the player’s backs.
But watching the video, it’s safe to say the team bonding did work. Several players spent the second half of the video gushing at how much closer the club now is after the experience, with one unidentified player going so far as to say:
“Personally, I’m a little bit worn out; it was a pretty tough workout they put us through,” he said. “But I do feel like a better team and better teammate as well.”
Whether that sentiment holds true or not, well, we’ll begin to find out soon.
Like in 11 days when the Wildcats take on Syracuse.
Video courtesy of NU Athletics, with a big thanks to Crystal Ball Run's Kevin McGuire for the tip.
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