You know that sand pit everyone made a big deal about when Leach was hired? The one that sits on the edge of the practice field, kind of taunting players. It's a constant reminder that punishment is lurking, ready to rear its ugly head at any moment.
It's the worst. Not in a bad way, or that it's unnecessary. But it's very easy to feel bad for players working in the pit. Probably the least enjoyable way to spend part of practice is by hanging out at the beach.
I've seen players work in it before -- during spring, those dealing with ankle injuries would do drills to work on their leg strength. That's not so bad. It's certainly a good way to build up those smaller muscles.
But break rules, loaf in practice or do something deserving of punishment? That pit gets less and less fun. It's almost painful to watch.
Take Tuesday, for instance. An unnamed player spent a lot of time at the beach. It started innocently enough, with a little bit of rolling from end to end. This isn't fun in the least, but was only an introduction to the sand.
What followed was a variety of different drills involving hands and knees, bear crawls and rolls. It was a workout and a half, and I got winded just watching. The time in the pit made regular practice look like a piece of cake.
The pit serves its purpose in many ways. It is legitimate conditioning and does work a variety of muscles that wouldn't get worked with regular weight training. And running, rolling and playing around in the pit is good for cardio.
It's also one hell of a deterrent. Get sent to the beach once and I doubt a player would want to go back. And the pit is always looming.