There really is no off-season when it comes to college football these days. Players go from the season to an off-season program to spring practice and into the summer program.
UNT is no different and has really benefited from the work of strength coach Frank Wintrich, who has turned the off-season in a competitive situation. The top performer each year receives the Iron Eagle award.
I bring it up because a few weeks ago now a reader sent us a photo of punter Blake Macek, this year’s winner, with his trophy that goes along with the honor.
Wintrich was nice enough to pull the curtain back a bit and talk about what goes into the award. Players are evaluated during the Winter Training Campaign competition on a daily basis in in five areas:
1. Warrior Mindset
3. Technical Soundness
5. “In the Fight” – a term which represents whether the athlete is performing up to his standard
Wintrich said this is the tightest competition UNT has had in years. That’s a great sign for the future of the program and an indication of just how hard UNT’s players worked in the months following their win over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl to build on the best season in recent program history.
Punters tend to be overlooked, but Macek was a weapon for UNT, averaging 41.1 yards an attempt. He had 14 punts of 50 yards or more and had 27 kicks downed inside the 20-yard line.
A great off-season for Macek puts him on pace for another good year and shows he’s becoming something of a leader with the Mean Green through the example he sets.