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Line Dance: Trying to Work Without Coach

Todd Herremans and Austin Howard sprinted and pushed a weighted sled today in stifling heat at the field in Burlington County where Eagles players have been holding lockout workouts. As grueling and necessary as the work was, it didn't involve any of the concepts new offensive line coach Howard Mudd is expected to emphasize, whenever Mudd actually gets to coach the offensive line.

"We've got to do with what we've got; we can't do that right now. Even if we did have the whole line out here, we wouldn't know where to begin on what to do," Herremans said. "Hopefully, this (lockout) will get ended soon; we've got a lot of work to do when that happens."

Two trainers from Power Train, the Cherry Hill gym where many players have been working out, presided over the session, which attracted 10 Eagles, if you include longtime strong safety Quintin Mikell, now a free agent,. There was a smattering of nonEagles, including Moorestown's Albert Young, who is a running back with the Vikings.

Herremans was asked if he feels the Eagles need more full-team work than some teams, given that both their line coaches are new.

"It doesn't matter how we feel," Herremans said. "We can sit here and complain about it as much as we want, but in the end, it's not our choice right now. We need to keep doing what we can do out here to be ready when that time comes. I can stand here all day and tell you guys we need to go into OTAs, we need to have minicamp, we need to have training camp, but it's not up to me right now."

Herremans is the starting left guard, Howard is a tackle who made the team as an undrafted rookie a year ago. Howard said: "Some type of footwork is generic -- you can do your sidesteps, do little thiongs here and there that help strengthen your core, strenghten your leg muscles, so that whenever you get to camp ... you won't be hurting that much. Obviously, you're not going to know exactly the technique."

Herremans, dogged by foot problems last offseason, said "My body feels the best it's felt in like three years; you see me out here jumping and stuff, I feel great. But who knows, when I get in a stance, how I'll feel?"

Herremans said he knwos that Mudd "really likes athletic linemen, so I'll do my best to train as an anthlete right now, and just convert over to his techniques when I get a chance."

Both Herremans and Howard were able to meet with Mudd before the lockout, so they have heard him explain what he wants, how his ways are different from those of former OL coach Juan Castillo, who is now the defensive coordinator. They think they can visualize it.

"Juan would like the vertical sets for tackles, and Howard wants them to come out at a 45 (degree angle) more. And we're going to be more aggressive inside. Hopefully, that'll make a bigger pocket and more room for Mike (Vick) to work around in," Herremans said.

"He explained a little bit about how the technique is going to be, how the philosophy is," Howard said, "but you don't know until you get out there."

Look for more in Thursday's Daily News.