Six hours a day, four days a week, Andre Hall is training.
With every two hours on the field with draft prospects such as Marcus Vick, two hours working on speed and agility drills and two hours in the weight room, Hall is preparing himself at the Competitive Edge Sports complex outside Atlanta. If it works out for USF's all-time leading rusher, all that time will add up to, perhaps, one-tenth of a second.
"They tested us in the 40 (Monday)," Hall said Tuesday, taking a break from a workout. "They had me at 4.33 seconds."
A 40-yard time like that at next week's NFL combine in Indianapolis could be worth a fortune for Hall, who is hoping to solidify his status as a first-day draft pick, which would make him only the second USF player drafted in the first three rounds.
"I have to keep improving myself," said Hall, the Dixie Hollins graduate who rushed for a USF record 1,374 yards and 13 touchdowns last fall. "That's why I'm out here busting my butt."
For a draft prospect such as Hall, a training regimen like Competitive Edge is a smart choice, costing about $1,200 a week, including meals and a room at the neighboring hotel. He has been there five weeks, and the company's founder, Chip Smith, said his athletes typically can shave a tenth of a second off their 40 time, add 3 or 4 inches to their vertical leap and add between four and six repetitions in the 225-pound bench press, the NFL's measuring stick of upper-body strength.
"Our goal is to increase all his measurables," said Smith, who has sent more than 600 players to the NFL in his 16 years running Competitive Edge. "And Andre is a wonderful young man. He's been an absolute pleasure to work with, the first one here and the last one to leave."
Hall, who has bulked up to 213 pounds, isn't the only USF player training there. Guard Frank Davis hasn't been invited to the combine, but he's still working out, trying to convince NFL teams he's worth a draft pick.
Hall had only two carries in the Senior Bowl last month but said a strong week of practice there helped his draft stock, as well as his humility.
"It was a great experience, a humbling experience," Hall said. "Most of the reporters there wanted to talk to other players, and I needed a little of that."
MOVE OVER, HOWARD: The new partnership announced this week between the Big East and satellite giant XM Radio is more a corporate sponsorship than a major broadcasting commitment. XM, which boasts more than 6-million subscribers, will air three men's basketball games in the next three weeks and will broadcast every game from the conference tournament next month, with unspecified plans as to how football will be handled this fall.
XM has full channels devoted to the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-10 conferences, but the limited Big East programming will air on the company's general XM Live channel. Four Big East schools - Louisville, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia - have independent partnerships with Sirius Radio, and USF officials have held internal discussions into the possibility of adding a satellite broadcast for Bulls games.
THIS AND THAT: Five USF football players were named to the Big East All-Academic team, requiring a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher: kicker Kyle Bronson, tight ends Derek Carter and Mike Ruegger and receivers Marcus Edwards and S.J. Green. Junior Neyssa Etienne had as big an upset last week as you can ask for in tennis, knocking off Florida's Diana Srebrovic, ranked No. 1 nationally in singles. Etienne, unranked in singles, got a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 victory in Gainesville. She and Gabriela Duch are ranked fifth nationally in doubles. Today's 5 p.m. softball game at Florida can be seen on UF's official site, gatorzone.com, as a free preview of a subscription product called GatorVision Online. Three of USF's top four hitters in their 2-3 start are Chamberlain graduates Krista Holle, Carly Griffin and JoJo Medina.
Greg Auman covers USF athletics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his "USF Bulletin" blog online at www.sptimes.com/blogs/usf.