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March 26, 2010

Strength and Conditioning

Doing some catching up here....on Tuesday, Anthony Dasher wrote a long article about the transition to a "full body workout" routine for the Bulldogs as part of a revamped strength program.

The article mostly drew a hoo-hum from me because I've never heard anyone involved in our strength program say anything other than (pick at least two):
  • "This is the best off season we've ever had"
  • "Team chemistry is very high this year."
  • "The guys are lifting more than ever."
  • "Setting new records like crazy in the weight room."
So the fact that they are evolving their approach and talking to other programs about best practices is a big non-event in my eyes. I want to see it on the field. Having said all of that...what did interest me was this blurb:
Richt indicated Tuesday that changes in Georgia's overall conditioning needed to be made, not specifically related to the changes being implemented now, but also in regards to the Bulldogs' nutritional needs.

"I think we've done a tremendous job of getting them of getting our guys prepared for the season, but I think in-season we have had some guys who maybe lost some weight," Richt said. "I think the biggest part of it is the nutritional aspect. We've got to make sure we're feeding these guys right. Some of the guys who live off campus, they get their meal money and it's hard to really gauge what they're doing so we'll have to make sure they're getting the food, the nutrition that they need in-season."
That was an attention getter for me, and it should be to anyone else that followed Jeff Owens and Mike Moore's twitter feeds last season. They are good guys and damn good dawgs, but As David Pollack said on Twitter after yet another post about a late night Owens run for fast food, "Dude, eat a salad."

If Twitter feeds are any indication...and with Jeff it would just about have to be given the volume of posts on the topic...We've got some guys off campus that have got to start eating better, and if this is a point of emphasis going forward that's a good thing. As a general rule of thumb, if you're smaller or slower than a blogger (particularly this one) we shouldn't recruit you. And if you eat worse than me, you're not eating right. I have a Body by Playstation. I know out of shape.

Back to the S&C Program
To me...the cries for revamping our strength program this off season are valid, but I think they are misplaced. It's not the drills that worry me. It's the attention to detail and the expectations for the kids. My questions are...
  • "Are we staffed properly?" I've heard (but not confirmed) that other programs have many more S&C assistants than UGA. Are our players getting the individual attention they need?

  • "Are we focused on the little things?" Generally speaking, I think the staff had let quite a few details slip last season. Seeing more attention to detail in areas like player diet encourages me. I think a fresh set of eyes on the defensive side is probably a big part of that. Another part is Coach Van Halanger being healthier than he was last season.

  • "Are we expecting greatness and holding guys accountable?" This is an area where I got really concerned last season. I'm hoping to hear about progress in this area, but I doubt we will until a kid slips up and describes the differences in the S&C attendance monitoring now vs. last year. Or some other area.
Overall, I like where things are trending. But I'm not getting excited because of vague quotes about intensity, chemistry or hard work. I'm getting excited because it sounds like we have our sh*t together on some of the basic stuff that had started slipping.




Chris said...

One thing that I never want to hear is an issue about when we are running so much more in the black than any other program is the fact that we are understaffed with allowed assistant positions that would cost the school (everything included) probably 50K a year each

Anonymous said...

"Another part is Coach Van Halanger being healthier than he was last season."

PWD, can you elaborate?


Anonymous said...

To be fair to Michael Moore, though...whatever that guy does and eats, it works. Dude's got, like, negative body fat.

But your point is well taken.

Tommy said...

I was shocked at all the tweets about Burger King runs.

I coached middle school lacrosse, where, given the across-the-board lack of technique, the difference between wins and losses largely comes down to hustle. So, in addition to running these kids' legs off, I was adamant that parents not let them near fast food, carbonated beverages, processed foods, etc. Every day after practice, before the players went home to dinner, I'd say, "Eat what grows. We made an investment in our bodies today. Protect your investment." And that's baseline stuff -- every other coach in the league was requiring the same things.

Frankly, it's a bit of a disgrace that a top tier athletics department is just now getting religion on this point. You basically undermine half your investment in S&C when you let players poison themselves with crap food.

IveyLeaguer said...

It's not just about body fat, Anon.

Nutrition has a direct affect on energy, stamina, and mental clarity, among other things. Georgia would do well to get up to speed on nutrition. Up to this point, its been terrible.

Click the link to read a longer post about it.

Sam, Dawg Fan said...

I cannot recall the program, but a friend of mine is a RD specializing in sports nutrition. He did some consulting with college teams. For the off campus athletes, he took them to the grocery store and taught them how to shop. They also held cooking classes for them.

Think back to when you were 20. How did you shop and cook? And you did not have what amounts to a full-time job mostly like (2 really as school and practice/conditioning both are nearly full-time jobs).

Hire a cute RD (ideally with a CSSD) and get her to teach the athletes how to shop, make good selections and how to cook easy meals.

Richt does not expect them to come to practice knowing the offense (or defense) or to know how to do every lift in the gym without some instructions.

Anonymous said...

as a student seeing the players on campus eating... hot wings, pizza, and french fries are much healthier than fast food in my book but maybe its just me?

Anonymous said...

Damn, must be an awfully slow off-season. Now the underlying story behind our 2009 record is the lack of leafy greens. And, with teachers and state employees being laid off right and left, you want to hire $50,000 babysitters to make sure D-linemen eat right. Ye gods, stop your panicking, you boneheads. The season opener can't get here soon enough...

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