Buffs Set to Start Summer Workouts

Colorado begins its official summer workout program Wednesday. Strength and conditioning coach Greg Finnegan, in his third year at CU, and his staff oversee the nine-week program. Inside, Finnegan talks about what's in store for the Buffs over the next few months.

Buffalo Sports News: What's a typical week going to be like for players in the summer program?
Greg Finnegan:
It's different for different positions. Our skill guys will lift MWF. They'll run MTTF. What that allows, Tuesday and Thursday, that's our big speed and explosion day. So we'll go out and work on acceleration, speed, the whole nine yards. They run a lot more than the big guys.

The big guys will lift MTTF, and they'll run MTTF, but the volume is less. Each program is different for every position. My quarterbacks don't have to lift like the o-linemen. And the o-linemen don't need to run like the DBs and the receivers. They need to be in great shape, but they need short, explosive bursts.

BSN: Are most strength and conditioning programs these days as position specific as you run things?
GF:
I don't know as far as other guys. Some guys do (structure workouts that way), some don't. But it's getting that way.

BSN: How did you come to do it that way?
GF:
It's just developed over the years of training guys. Being a former o-linemen, I knew these 300-pound guys can't run what our DBs run. And at the same time, our DBs don't need to be squatting or lifting the same amount of weight that (an offensive lineman) does.

So a long time ago we broke it down by what each position does and what their role is on our team, and we designed our program that way. All our guys need to get stronger and faster, but we need to spend time getting our skill guys in top-end speed mode, where my linemen rarely get in top-end speed mode.

BSN: Do you tweak your program every year?
GF:
Oh, yeah. Every year things change. New this summer, we'll have some different things with our speed work. We'll have some different types of speed running, more sled pulling. There'll be some new specific exercises for each group. We worked with our coaches and brought in some stuff that each position group needs to work on.

(Finnegan also brought in a speed consultant in May to work with the staff on new techniques).

Summer's a good time for us because the kids are taking maybe one class, two at the most, and they can devote time to their training.

We'll control the amount of sets and reps guys do in here and the amount of yards they run. We'll control the amount of plyometrics, the amount of ground contacts we have in jumping.

BSN: Why is everything so controlled and measured?
GF:
We're walking a fine line. We're trying to train their bodies to the maximum point to get them to adapt, and get stronger and faster, but if we go over that line, then we lead to overtraining, we get tendonitis, we get muscle strains and we'll get injuries. We're walking a very fine line.

What makes it harder on the college level is these kids' diets and how they take care of themselves away from here. We'll do a better job this summer. We've got an actual dietician on staff now.

(Allison Maurer was hired full-time in December as an assistant strength and conditioning coach. She specializes in diet and nutrition).

She'll be around and we've really tried to pinpoint some of the guys who need to gain weight and she can help us with them achieving their goals.

We sat down with each coach and determined what each kid needs coming out of spring ball. We all meet as a staff and say, ‘So and so, what does he need?'

BSN: Can you get a guy like Hugh Charles faster than he already is?
GF:
We can help him out. We can help, but that guy, we can't take credit for his speed. He was fast coming in here. We can refine his mechanics, we can give him more power when he puts his foot in the ground.

We had some success this offseason with guys like Joel Klatt. Joel dropped a 10th off his 40-yard dash. We can do it. It's hard. But it goes back to the old axiom: How do you get faster? As a strength coach, do you work at it, or do you recruit it?

BSN: Word was your training between the end of the 2004 season and spring ball went well.
GF:
We've got a good group of kids who work hard. They're an intense bunch. We had a nice offseason.

And we'll put it on in the summer. We put it on our guys in the summer. That's one of the great things about the University of Colorado – these are some of the hardest working kids I've ever been around. That's just an atmosphere, a culture that's been created by Coach Barnett and the other coaches. We've got a culture of guys that get after it.

BSN: What are your overall goals for the summer?
GF:
Our goals are somewhat generic. We need to get our big guys bigger and stronger. We need to get faster and more explosive as a team.

BSN: How much is being a motivator a part of your job?
GF:
That's a big part of it. We've got to motivate these kids and get them excited, not only to do what we want them to do here, but to take care of their bodies and do the things away from here that are going to help them be successful. That's one of the things we really need to do.

We've spent a considerable amount of time educating them about what they eat, how much sleep they get, how they take care of their bodies and how that affects their bodies. They're all going to get after it here.

BSN: Has the science of nutrition changed since you got into the business?
GF:
It's continually evolving and changing like everything else. That's one of the reasons we added a dietician, because that's her area of expertise. She can really dig in with the kids, really get into them about what they eat.

(One of the things Maurer has worked on the student-athletes with, is keeping food diaries, then going over the nutritional value of what they are eating.)

When I talk to them about what they eat, I get certain responses. When she gives them a three-day diary and makes them write every single thing down and then analyses it, it opens the kids' eyes. It's helped us a lot.


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