July 2, 2011

Harrington on Tech summer strength and conditioning program

There is a saying that football season never ends and many college athletes will attest to that. During the summers these athletes go through vigorous voluntary workouts to prepare themselves for the arduous season ahead. Louisiana Tech is no different. For several weeks now, Tech strength and conditioning coach Damon Harrington has had the Bulldogs doing strenuous work to prepare them for the upcoming season.

Specifically, Harrington has the players on a "4-day split". Mondays and Thursdays are "speed days" and both days he starts them outside. Mondays he begins with plyometrics to work on their straight ahead speed. Thursdays are more of a lateral speed day where they run drills competitively that make them compete against each other.

"When guys get tired and the hotter they get this teaches them to bend their knees and stay low," said Harrington about Thursday "speed days."

After running outside on Mondays and Thursdays, Harrington brings the team inside and works on explosiveness. The specific workouts for explosiveness range from power cleans and squats to curls and grip work.

Tuesdays are when the team works on their upper body like the incline bench press and in the evening they do an agility run followed by conditioning.

Fridays they do a 6 AM competitive team run. At the beginning of the summer the team split into drafted teams. Once the teams were decided the strength and conditioning staff paired up players and they compete for points.

"This week we'll have a Myles White vs. a Quinton Patton. If they win the agility they get a plus if they lose a minus. Also if they win they are rewarded if they lose they get up-downs," said Harrington.

Fridays are also what Harrington calls their "upper body blowout" and they do "theme lifts". They use these lifts as a way to motivate the players when they are tired at the end of the week. Week one's theme was "Fireman". Below is a glimpse into "Fireman" in the locker room.

"[Theme lifts] are a way for us, at the end of the week when they're tired from running all week, to do something fun and interesting for them to where they get excited about it and they put in great work," Harrington said about his Friday "theme lifts".

The most improved player this summer said Harrington is Stephen Warner.

"[Warner's] leadership, how he handles himself, and the way he works has made him into one of our best leaders. He's worked on his weight and gotten his weight down. You just tell him to do something and he'll do it," Harrington said of Warner.

A primary concern for Tech fans coming into this season is how well the new junior college offensive and defensive linemen can handle the rigors of long sustained drives on the field.

"They'll be ready. They got here in enough time to see spring ball. So, they know the expectation for practice and what kind of shape they need to be in," said Harrington of the condition of the junior college linemen.

Additionally on junior college players overall Harrington shed some light on what happens when a junior college player comes into an FBS program.

"I hate to really single out guys as a whole but any junior college guys, not just lineman, are coming from a different atmosphere and expectation. It's a big adjustment for them and there's a lot of teaching involved. It takes some time for them to get it and these guys have gotten it and they fit in well," said Harrington of the junior college players in his program this summer.

Tech has some strong players in their football program. Harrington spoke about those guys and named someone in each position group.

Defensive line - Justin Ellis
Linebackers - Chip Hester and Antonio Mitchum
Defensive backs - Terry Carter
Offensive line - Stephen Warner
Running backs - Ray Holley
Receivers - Chandler Spence and Andrew Guillot
The Quarterbacks are not in the same program as the rest of the team because a quarterback does not need the bulk the other positions need.

So far the Tech off-season strength and conditioning program appears to have been a success but in classic coach fashion Harrington was not about to call it a success yet.

"We've got a long way to go and by no means are we where we want to be. But overall, I like the teams attitude and loving how they're working. It's a lot of fun right now with these guys," said Harrington.

July 11th the incoming freshmen report and begin working with Harrington.

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