When Mikel Horton's teammates would leave to go home for the night, he would take his place on the stationary bike.
And even though the Kentucky running back went mile after mile after mile without getting anywhere, he's hopeful that all that extra work will take him where he wants to go.
"Being a starter, being the man, being the face of the program," he named as his desired destinations.
Just a true freshman last season, Horton played in all 12 games as a reserve running back and ran for 45 yards and two touchdowns in his first game as a Wildcat. They were his only scores of the season.
He had a long run at Missouri and averaged 5.2 yards a carry his first year.
All of that was nice. But he wants more.
So he started riding. And he stopped eating bread.
Horton would do all of his normal off-season workouts with teammates and then get back on that bike.
"When I first came here, I was about 245 pounds and about 14 percent body fat," he said recently. "Didn't really look like a running back; looked more like a linebacker."
At his most recent weigh-in, he'd dropped 25 pounds and cut his body fat to 8 percent.
When he watches film of himself, he doesn't recognize that running back from last season.
"I was sluggish and I felt heavy," he said. "Now I'm shooting the gaps and making one cut and my coaches have said I'm looking spectacular. I'm glad I did what I did because I felt great."
It's been frustrating having to sit out the past few practices with a high ankle sprain, but he has high hopes for next season. He sees himself as so much more than a situational running back.
He thinks he's better than the 57 carries for 306 yards, his production from last season. He said he feels like a different back.
"I'm moving quick," he said. "I feel great as far as my attitude and confidence and everything and I'm glad I took that initiative to change my body for myself and my team."
Horton called himself a "selfish" player last season.
"I wasn't giving my all as far as my body weight," Horton said. "So I got fit and ready to practice. I feel like since every time I got on that bike, I'm doing something better for myself and my team."
Horton's teammates have noticed the highly chiseled frame and the pace at which it moves these days.
"He's a lot more cut and he's running a lot better," quarterback Patrick Towles said. "He was kind of that big, lumbering guy last year, but he's going to surprise a lot of people this year with his speed, that's for sure."
Horton's in a crowded backfield with last year's top running back, Stanley "Boom" Williams (74 carries, 486 yards and five touchdowns), and Jojo Kemp (70 carries, 323 yards and four touchdowns), plus newcomers who haven't arrived yet.
There are plenty of carries to go around, coaches insist.
The 6-foot-1 running back from West Chester, Ohio, is doing what he can to make sure more of them will be his carries.
He's making his move, going places without leaving the Cats' cardio room.
"He looks really good," Coach Mark Stoops said before Horton's ankle sprain. "We saw signs of that last year and the talent that he has and the vision for a big guy. He's very light on his feet. He's in much better shape, and it's only helped him. He's an impressive player and he's looked really good."
After watching film of Saturday's open scrimmage, Stoops seemed especially pleased with quarterback Patrick Towles' play and a little closer to naming a starter.
"Really impressed with Patrick," Stoops said of last season's full-time starter. "He really played very well Saturday. Made a lot of good decisions, got rid of the ball quickly. He was very accurate with the football."
Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, who said the Cats' offense had 29 first downs in the scrimmage, also was happy with what he saw from the Cats' most veteran quarterback.
"He had a really good day," Dawson said of Towles. "I thought he was solid throughout, accurate, good zip on the ball, got it out on time, made good decisions other than two or three times, really."
Dawson wasn't displeased with Drew Barker either, saying that the redshirt freshman quarterback had an efficient day and that his two picks weren't completely his fault.
It also sounds as if Stoops might name a quarterback sooner rather than later.
"We'll name a starter," he said after teasing media for always wanting to know the ins and outs of that position. "We'll name one. No, we will. And I think there's some merit to (doing that) with getting that leadership going through the summer and letting the guys know where they stand and being fair with them if we know. I think we're getting closer to that point."
The coaches plan to sit down with both quarterbacks after the spring, Stoops said.
■ After having surgery to clean up some loose cartilage in his surgically repaired knee, wide out Alexander Montgomery has returned to the practice field the past couple of days "in a limited role," Stoops said.
"It's good to see Alex getting back out there and getting some reps in before the summer, just to get that confidence going."
■ Running back Jojo Kemp, who has had a lengthy battle with an illness, was able to return to practice Monday.
■ Tight end Darryl Long missed the scrimmage last weekend with an injury, but it's not a serious one, Stoops said.