Stringham Brings Intangibles

While playing for Mountain Vista High School, offensive lineman Brock Stringham demonstrated a number of football-related qualities, including more than just his impressive physical attributes and abilities.

"[During] our season, we went 8-3," said 6-foot-6-inch, 275-pound Brock Stringham. "It wasn't exactly how I wanted my senior season to go because I wanted to win a state championship. For me personally, I thought I had a good season. I thought I played much better this year than I did my junior year."

For his on-field performance as a senior offensive tackle, Stringham has been awarded with various honors.

"During my football banquet I got first team all-conference," said Stringham. "I've already been selected for the all-state game, but I'm not sure which team it is."

Giving honors for a player's on-field performance is easy to do, but what voters don't usually give out awards for is how the player positively influences his teammates off the field. If one were to give out awards for such things, Stringham would be a first-team all-state selection.

"I took on more of a leadership role this year," Stringham said. "I was more of a leader for my team and for the younger guys coming up, and I really liked being in that role. I like it when people depend on you to get motivated. I like helping out the younger guys learn things that they may not have known about football or getting ready for the games. I just really enjoyed taking guys under my wing and helping them get better."

It wasn't uncommon to hear some of the upperclassmen at BYU talk about how they had done much the same with many of the younger players coming in. BYU centers Tom Sorensen and Manaaki Vaitai often spoke of how Sete Aulai would help them learn the position. It was the same with many other Cougar offensive linemen, who helped the younger players learn their positions.

"If you want your team to be successful for years to come, those that have the motivation and the understanding need to help positively influence those that don't," said Stringham. "It not only helps the team overall, but it also helps you. It's just something that helps strengthen the team and keeps it moving forward. When you take on a leadership role, it helps you too. I know they're watching me, and so it forces me to make sure I'm doing things right and to work that much harder."

Aside from taking on and developing a greater leadership mentality for his teammates, Stringham has also further developed his football abilities.

"I've definitely improved my run blocking," Stringham said. "That was one of my weaknesses, but now I feel I've improved that aspect of my game a lot. I've always worked on my quickness and developing my quick feet for pass blocking, but to better develop my run-blocking game, I've worked on my strength [and on] staying low, and did a lot of sled work. I think I've really developed that side of my game a lot better this year. I also feel I did better at hitting linebackers. I feel my angles were a lot better this year in pursuing and hitting linebackers to get them out of the play.

"To be a successful offensive tackle you have to have quick feet to get out and defend the corner quickly. You also have to have quick hands because defensive linemen like to get right into you. You have to know how to use your hands in order to create that separation to keep them in front of you and [to remain] in control.

"When it comes to pass blocking, I like to take that first step back to get a feel of what the defensive lineman is going to do. It gives me a good idea if the defensive lineman is going to bull rush or rip or swim. I like to get that separation by getting into position quickly, which forces their hand. Then I have the upper advantage and can prepare myself to defend against what he is going to do. I've really practiced getting myself into position first to eliminate the inside gap first. Then once I have that sealed off I can use my quick feet to force him to the outside, where I'm able to control the defender and keep him away from the quarterback."

Much of what Stringham speaks of are things that he's improved upon from last year. On top of his on-field development, he's also improved on his weight-room performances.

"I've set goals for myself that I want to reach before I get to BYU," said Stringham. "My coach has told me that he would help me meet those goals, not only my lifting goals but also my speed goals. My strength in the weight room is definitely my explosiveness. Right now I clean 315 pounds and I'm trying to get that up more. My goal is to get 375 before I get to BYU. My goal for squat is over 500, and right now I'm at 420 pounds. At bench I'm above 350 pounds, and I'm progressing so fast at bench I think I could beat that. If I could get 400 pounds, that would make me really happy."

Now that his prep season is over, Stringham is looking forward to joining his future teammates at BYU. Prior to the end of the Cougar season, Stringham was able to attend the BYU vs. Utah game at LaVell Edwards Stadium, an experience that he said made him really excited to go to BYU.

"That game gave me a chance to really see what it's like there in person rather than just watching it on TV," said Stringham. "Being able to see the fans in the stands in person was just insane. I really enjoyed it. It really makes me want to work even that much harder.

"I'm going to take up the challenge and do whatever the coaches tell me to do to be the best I can. I'm going to work hard to be the player they want me to be and to help my team be the best we can be. In talking with Coach Mendenhall, his expectations are high and this is a great team. I'm really excited to be able to play on this team and with those guys next year. It's going to be exciting."

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