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June 22, 2011

Strength or Not?

Let me start by saying this: I am cautiously optimistic about the strength and conditioning changes made earlier this year.  It is clear that the program wasn't working, based on stats and the eyeball test. I place no stock whatsoever in the typical blather coming from Athens about how tough it is and how this is the most intense summer evah!

Even if it is change for change's sake, it will be better due to JT2's intensity and no-BS approach to things.  I like the hires that have been made in Gilbert and Brown.  Both are winners who get what dedication means.  Both, by all accounts, were strong leaders who showed up to work during their playing careers.


I do worry about Brown and Gilbert's approach as rookie coaches.  It isn't out of the ordinary for teams to hire former players to work the weight room.  It provides a good connection to past successes.  The current players connect better with dudes in their 20s than with dudes in their 50s and 60s.  If Brown and Gilbert are left to working accountability and work habits/ethics into the player's routines, those hires are probably wins.  I do worry about the 'this ain't how we did it' issue and falling back to whatever DVH was doing, potentially bringing back bad work habits.  If they start thinking they are still players and go all buddy buddy with the current roster, instead of being coaches, nothing improves.

I think JoeT2 is a good choice to lead the S&C program.  He has extensive experience in S&C.  He won't be confused as anyone's buddy.  I am pretty sure he eats live wasps for breakfast, just to get the juices flowing. Were there other good options? Sure.  Would I have been happier if the program had done a more thorough search? Yes.  I still think JT2 has the tools to be an effective leader of the program.  I hope he listens to the younger coaches in the program, continues to evaluate what is working in the program and what isn't and makes changes nessisary to reverse the slide.   

Now, I don't normally think that a college degree in your field is a must to be good at your job.  However, as a buddy put it when we were discussing the S&C hires: "The human body is at least moderately complex."  My biggest concern is how much does the regimen actually improve performance past mere excellence.  We are talking margins here.  Stopping a fake punt late in a game.  Executing a fake punt late in a game. One missed block. Not blocking somoene in the back on a big return.  One sack.  One blown coverage.  One less blown time out because someone needed a breather. Out jumping someone for the ball.  Cutting back inside, instead of to the sideline. One tackler shucked off.  Hunkering down one more time.

Do I think you have to have a degree in physiology to be a good S&C coach?  No.  It wouldn't hurt to have someone who could tell the players how working on one muscle group impacts other muscle groups or how to recruit and control quick reflex muscles (I have to admit, I am out of my depth here; working out for me involves dragging 300 lbs of equipment to a tailgate 5-8 Saturdays a year*).  It seems that Rex Bradberry is that guy, although he is in charge of nutrition, so I wonder how much he works on weight training.  Conditioning needs to improve, too.  Nutrition is a huge part of that, so I don't discount his role in conditioning.

As with everythig this off season, the answers won't come until we get to live football in 70 or so days.


*Even fewer times now that UGA seems to want every home kickoff to be at a Big 10 like 11am.


Ludakit said...

"The human body is at least moderately complex."

That's a money line if I've ever seen one.

Dawgnoxious said...

...he eats live wasps for breakfast, just to get the juices flowing.

TD +1

Sam, Dawg Fan said...

Since I have a master's degree in exercise science, I will stick up for the folks who have degrees along with practical experience in strength and conditioning. Bradberry's bio does not really give me confidence in his nutrition knowledge. He shows no RD or CSSD--the gold standard in sports nutrition.

Find the info on the Gators S&C guy. Tons of experience. (Although I have never heard of a master's in strength and conditioning certification).

Anonymous said...

It's not rocket science. We lacked motivation on the field, in the weight room, hell we probably couldn't even shotgun a PBR before getting arrested downtown.

Joe T will change THAT part of things. I'm not smart enough or even pretend to know crap about the science of creating a spartan like football player. That's where I'm trusting someone like McGarity to see to it that CMR finds the right people for that.

But there's no question we needed our asses kicked and Joe T answers the bell.

Anonymous said...

Knowledge of the modern science aspect of strength, conditioning, and nutrition or not, the problem of the hire of JT2 is that it is reflective of the ongoing problems of Richt. That being his stubbornness and nepotism. His stubbornness to accept the poor results from some of his hires and some parts of his strategy and his obsession to try to keep his hires in house as much as possible. Putting it all together, one would think that he keeps hiring in house because he doesn't want outside thoughts challenging his rule and ideas.

MUDawgfan said...

Glad to see you mentioned the Nutrion aspect of the of the S&C program. Perhaps the margins that you mentioned earlier will improve simply with 6-8 months of our boys eating properly and focusing on fueling their bodies for max performance.

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