Greg Finnegan Interview — Part II

Strength and conditioning coach Greg Finnegan has been the main coach overseeing the CU football players during the past offseason, and the Buffs have just finished a nine-week workout regimen in preparation for spring practices, which begin April 2. We sat down with Finnegan recently to get his thoughts on the offseason, specific workouts, and how he thinks the players have handled the controversy that's surrounded the program the past six weeks. Here is Part II of that interview.

BSN: How different are the workouts for different football positions? An offensive lineman's going to have different needs than a linebacker, right?

GF: Yeah. Each of our position groups will have a different kind of workout. Our offensive linemen will squat a little more, they'll press more. There's certain things each group is gonna do. Each group's gonna clean, each group's gonna squat, each group's gonna bench. But how we adjust is through the volume and the intensity.

So we'll do more straight power for our big guys. And our speed guys or our quarterbacks, we'll do something too. Quarterbacks, we don't want to bulk them up too much up top, we want to keep them good and loose. The only difference would be our big guys would do four sets of squats, and our skill guys would do three, and they'd get a set of single leg curls or something for their hamstrings. And our program is cycled. It goes from January all the way into the fall. So as we go into the summer, things will diverge even more. By the time we get into the summer, we'll be going out and doing completely different runs with the big guys than we do with the skill guys. We'll really get into positional stuff.

And at the end of every workout, no matter when it is – spring, summer, even now – we have something that we call "position specific." We have these cards (shows card with player names, graphs and charts). So we have every set, every rep a guy does recorded. But we always have position specific. So every day our receivers will go catch jugs balls in the garage, our offensive linemen might be working punch drills, our defensive linemen might be working on their forearm strength so they've got good hands.

Everybody always has something so that it's brought back to football and their specific position. In my mind, that's the key. We can get bigger, and stronger, and faster, but if we can't translate it over into something we're doing on the field, it doesn't help us. If we've got a whole bunch of guys squatting a lot of weight, and yet our offensive line can't come off the ball, surge and push guys around, then it hasn't helped us any.

BSN: It always amazes me when I'll talk to a player and they'll say, ‘They want me at 227 this fall.' How can you be so specific in getting a guy at a weight?

GF: It's a little different in college. In the pros, if we gave a guy a weight, he was at that weight. Here, you know what you want guys at. And that's not really set by me, that's set in conjunction with a position coach. Every athlete has an optimal weight — where they can run the fastest and move the best. It's not always the heaviest weight.

Players will hit a certain weight, and once they get past that weigh in body fat, they start stumbling more, they're not as quick coming out of their stance. We can get pretty close to a specific "this is what we'd like you at" type weight. And it works well for most of our players, because it gives them an idea.

And in using body fat (measurements) along with weight, we can adjust for the guys who are bigger. We've got a tailback like Daniel Jolly, who is 225 pounds, and we've got tailbacks that are 205 pounds. We can know how much fat they have and how much fits their frame. We can get pretty specific with it.

BSN: How much do you encourage alternative types of workouts? I know Yoga is big around here.

GF: It was great this year, because our whole team went to yoga on Wednesdays. We encourage anything that is going to help them. I like to tell our recruits, we'll go to any length we can that is going to help you as an athlete that is legal through the NCAA. So we do the yoga. Our trainer Steve Willard does a great job. He has chiropractors come up here and align our athletes. He has students from a deep tissue massage school in town here come up and practice on all our athletes.

Anything that we can find like that that is legal and has been proven to work, we encourage it. We're attempting to find a martial arts guy to work hands with our offensive and defensive linemen.

BSN: You're the coach that's been around the football players the most during this whole ordeal the past month or so. How do you think they've handled things?

GF: I think they've done a great job. They've been very mature about it. I think it's helped draw them together. Weight training became a refuge for them. In here it's all athletes. They can't get the dirty looks, the jokes.

I think our kids have done a great job with it. You know, they haven't said anything crazy in the papers, they haven't over reacted when they could have. They've had situations with reporters chasing them around and stuff, but they've handled it in a very mature, adult-like fashion.

They've actually had some conversations with Ron Stump, the vice-chancellor for student affairs, and they voiced some concerns with what's been going on and they're working in conjunction with him. They're going through the right channels and handling things the right way. I've been impressed.

We've got some good kids. This is going to draw us closer together.

To read Part I of Finnegan's interview, follow this link:

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