Part III: Q&A with Shawn Griswold

Recently we spoke with Arizona State sports performance head coach Shawn Griswold about a wide variety of subjects. Here's the third and final segment of this interview.

Chris Karpman: What do you think about guys doing alternate type training methods on their own? Like yoga or pilates or other things? 

Shawn Griswold: "I don't mind the yoga stuff. That's all fine because it's flexibility stuff. But when (senior receiver) Tim (White) said he wanted to start jogging extra miles, that's not good. It's like, trust me, I'm going to have you in shape. What's going to happen is you're going to de-train yourself if you do too much of that. You're not going to make progress, you're actually going backwards. Some guys like to do boxing. Certain times of year that's okay, but if you're trying to do anything on top of what we're doing during the summertime, you're just going to break down because we do so much. That's why you typically don't see guys doing a bunch of extra."

Karpman: Is there anything you encourage guys to do when they're outside of working with you? 

Griswold: "Nutrition and sleep."

Karpman: How hard is that? Some kids have a world of potential but you can't control someone's eating habits at night.

Griswold: "That's the thing. I only get them for two hours out of the day. We harp and harp and educate and educate but until they click it sometimes just takes a long time. Some guys get it quickly and others it takes four years."

Karpman: What about the interaction with you and the nutrition staff? 

Griswold: "We do all the meals and stuff, all the menus, all the snacks, what we're giving them at halftime, the day before the game, all those kinds of things. That part has been good. That's probably the thing we need to improve on most here. Right now food is unlimited but it takes money too. Some places, like Central Florida according to Marcus (Castro-Walker) has training table seven days a week and it's open from seven a.m. to seven at night, and the can come and go as they want. We give them one meal a day and then snacks, which is really pretty good, it's more like a breakfast."

Karpman: Is there a plan to change that?

Griswold: "Yeah, (Vice President for Athletics) Ray (Anderson) is doing a good job raising money and trying to get that going. I want it for everybody, every sport should be able to have meals, not just men's basketball, women's basketball and football."

Karpman: Is that your goal? 12 hours a day of just being open? 

Griswold: "It would be nice. It gives them flexibility to come and go as they please. It's not, 'you have to be here at this time,' or a kid has class and has to hurry up and go."

Karpman: And so how much does that help with the building of bodies? 

Griswold: "Oh absolutely, nutrition is everything. It was funny, (offensive linemen) Vi Teofilo got up to 330 pounds and finally started to eat right with this guy [doing Pro Day prep] and he said, 'I didn't know nutrition meant that...' and I said, 'yeah I've been telling you that forever.' It took him all the way until he graduated to go, 'oh, it does make a difference.' These guys and gals do so much, it's community service, school work, volunteer stuff, their film study. There is so much on their plate. What's easier, to go by five for $5 (at a fast food place) or to prepare something that's better? That's why with the training table, if we can get it like that where we can have it as open as possible for every athlete, then you're going to have better athletes, healthier athletes."

Karpman: How widespread is that now, having it open?

Griswold: "It's [widely varying]. Like Nebraska has it for everybody."

Karpman: That's a recruiting advantage? 

Griswold: "Yeah, so Marcus said down there (at Central Florida) they're getting that, they get their lieu checks (stipend) still, they're getting another thing, a grocery card, and they live 50 yards from the facility. This place is tough because the parking is so expensive and then where do you park? Getting the kids up here is hard, so that's where [the new facility] hopefully helps us out over there." 

Karpman: When you guys add the Dickey Dome over there and the grass field next to the facilities building, that will make a big difference? 

Griswold: "That will be a huge difference, especially for me because we have to tram guys and it takes time to get everyone there, then everybody getting back. For the student-athlete it would be nice because it just makes you more efficient. We're still only taking our two hours but it's harder on them."

Karpman: When you trip kids (official visits) I know you measure and weigh them, get their arm lengths, those types of things. Do you talk to the coaches, like Todd Graham and give an opinion, like, 'I don't know if that's a good kid for us to work with physically.' Is there veto ability? 

Griswold: "I talk to every recruit and look at every recruit and sometimes I'll get asked, 'do you think he has potential to grow?' And if it's a linemen who has narrow shoulders and little skinny wrists, it's like, 'I don't know.' You try to factor that into the process. You try to look at that stuff. Does he have huge hands? A guy like (fifth round NFL offensive line pick) Christian Westerman, he obviously was [as a five star recruit] a guy who just looked different. Some things are a concern, like a short armed receiver. Now if he's good he's good."

Karpman: Have the body types improved here over time as the recruiting class rankings have? 

Griswold: "Oh yeah, and they work hard at it, recruiting. That's a hard thing to do man, hard to evaluate talent."

Karpman: You're having a June 17 event here in your weight room. Walk me through what season ticket holders who come will see? 

Griswold: "So they will be able to sit on the catwalk or come down if it gets that crowded. They'll watch the warm up, they'll watch the kids life. They'll see exactly what they go through in their day, and they we'll turn it over and run. Now I'm not going to [overdue to]...we're not going to run 300 yard shuttles. I'm just trying to create some buzz in Year 5 that's different and I had this idea in January and kind of pitched it and they all seemed to like it."

Karpman: I asked our audience if they had questions for you and said I'd ask some of the good ones. Here goes...How much has your philosophy changed from the start of your career until now? 

Griswold: "Well my philosophy hasn't changed but some of the things we do have changed. I'm a ground based guy. We're going to clean, we're going to squat and we're going to do a lot of it. I'm a firm believer that to train and be good, you've got to do a lot of it. We have to be well conditioned for the style we play with the tempo and all of that. But even if we were ground and pound, three yards and a cloud of dust, I still wouldn't change the way we train because most people are air raid or up tempo so you have to be in shape. So that stuff has changed, as far as the volume, the amount we run is a lot more than we used to. But before you weren't playing teams that went 100 miles an hour either."

Karpman: With regard to NFL Combine/Pro Day training prep, are you of the opinion that you know these guys better than anyone and therefore they should train with you? Or are there places you recommend and steer guys away from? 

Griswold: "There are places that are better than others. Coach (Graham) wants us to train all the guys here. I can do all the stuff as far as the testing portions, physical and speed, all that stuff. But I can't get [quarterback Mike Bercovici] on the grease board and go over quarterback stuff. We can't do the nutrition stuff that goes on at the higher end places, where those guys are getting three squares a day and snacks and it's all laid out for them. That's why Vi went from 330 to 305 and they had to increase his intake because he was burning it so far. We don't have the cryotherapy for recovery. So there's some [advantages]. And I think sometimes it's good for the kids just to get out. Like when (former ASU offensive linemen and current Miami Dolphin) Jamil (Douglas) went to Miami (to train). It's eight weeks for one day, focus on you and training. Like I don't mind doing it at all, Nick Kelly was here and we did it with him. When Jamil comes back he lifts with me, when (Houston Texas receiver] Jaelen Strong comes back he lifts with me. But we lack some of the things we can't do just because facility-wise. We don't have a nutrition program like that. And sometimes after four or five years a change of pace isn't a bad thing."

Karpman: How much involvement did you have with the plans for the new football building? 

Griswold: "It was all me as far as that goes, as far as what's in it, how we're going to set it up, the design, all that. It's going to be nice. What we're going to have is, as long as the Pat Tillman Foundation is fine with it, I want to have a Pat Tillman rack that is American flag, camouflage, a tribute to him, that we vote on each week and only those guys get to lift on that rack. I think they'll be fine with it but we'll show them all that stuff. He's such a big part of what we do and how we talk about what we want to be. I think it would be a nice tribute to that? 

Karpman: Who is the fastest player on the ASU roster right now? 

Griswold: "I always say (junior running back) Kalen Ballage everyone else says [senior cornerback De'Chavon Hayes]."

Karpman: You guys don't do any kind of races? 

Griswold: "They'll compete, like when we do 110 (yard runs) they'll compete. They're both really fast."

Karpman: What are your thoughts on the best supplements out there now?

Griswold: "We use muscle milk (contractually). That's our biggest one which I like the best anyway. We use regular chocolate milk, we use Shamrock Farms, we use honey stingers. I give them a daily liquid vitamin, I give them some B-12 if they want it. We do some Popsicle things that are for hydration, we do some other things for hydration. I want them to eat though. I want them to eat more food than anything else."

Karpman: You weigh guys before and after practice right? And they have to drink a certain amount of fluid that corresponds with that? I know there are some programs that don't even let guys practices now if they're dehydrated. 

Griswold: "Yeah we do that stuff and we won't let them (practice) either because you're at the risk of getting in bad shape. There's probably 10-15 guys we test hydration on Friday nights before games. If they're not, 'here take these three bottles and they need to be gone before the end of the night.' Especially the guys we knew would cramp, we always check those guys."

Karpman: Is there any stuff you do that's unique and other programs don't as far as you know? 

Griswold: "Like the play stuff we do is very unique (simulating play length and intervals in conditioning)...our Fridays are very specific to the positions and what they do on the field. We try to tailor it very specific."

Karpman: How much do you bench? 

Griswold: (laughs) 'Not much."

Karpman: The Suns staff are known for movement muscle flexibility assessment to determine if there are issues with certain muscles that could affect other body parts. You guys do that kind of stuff? 

Griswold: "Yeah, functional movement screening. We do a variation of it. When we get a kid in our first week is teaching. We ask them what issues they've had with injuries, muscle pulls, sprains. Then in our first few days with movement stuff here, we can see if his knees crash we need hip strength. Almost every guy need extra core because they're so big, most of them need extra posterior chain. It's all stuff like that. No different than Jalen Bates, I could see the first day he squatted, 'here are the things we need to do with this kid for him to be successful.' It gets pretty specific."

Karpman: What about hyperbaric oxygen chambers? 

Griswold: "I don't know that much about them. The hard part is you just don't have enough to do that you know what I mean?"

Karpman: How much of your stuff is plyometric-driven?

Griswold: "We do a fair amount of that, mostly in the bubble. We do some in [the weight room] but mostly in the bubble. We do some of it almost every day we run, whether it's single leg or double leg, we want to keep those knee, ankle joints strong."

Sun Devil Source Top Stories