At the moment, current players are enjoying a short reprieve between semesters. Even FSU's strength and conditioning coach Jon Jost is recuperating from a busy first season, vacationing in Costa Rica. But that's not to say the Seminoles' revamped weight room inside the old Florida High School gymnasium is not being used. A handful of players worked out Monday and more were expected later this afternoon.
Now is just the time to rest and recover.
"The kids who are leaving (to go home), you just tell them, 'Hey, get your mind right, get your legs back under you. Heal. Get the bumps and bruises out. If you can, jog a little bit and lift a little bit on your own.' This is a recovery period for everybody," assistant trainer Dave Plettl said. "But spring was good. I believe we maintained a lot of the strength that we built prior to spring ball. The key is to build a foundation physically with these guys."
Jost's strength and conditioning system has earned high marks from players and coaches alike. Of course, the most notable difference in Jost's system is how the players are tested. Last summer he implemented a performance and strength index created by legendary Nebraska strength coach Boyd Epley. Basically, the index produces a number that should be indicative of the player's potential/performance on the field. Additionally, Jost also has placed a major emphasis on lower body strength in workouts.
That approach hasn't changed this offseason.
"(We) felt a weakness was just the ability to bend the knees, and to get the legs and the hips, as well as the torso, stronger," Plettl said.
"We are going to focus on those things during the offseason. We don't want to isolate those areas but really emphasize those areas without neglecting the strength they have -- the upper body strength and athleticism. With lower body strength and torso strength, they are going to get even faster than they already are. Power is generated from the hips. If we can bring that weakness up, there's no telling what we can do."
FSU players returning for the first summer session are scheduled to resume their strength and conditioning programs Monday, May 15. Veterans who have earned high marks for their weight-room leadership and intensity include Anquan Boldin and Michael Boulware. Improvement is everywhere.
Assistant trainer Bryan McCall, for example, has spent a majority of his time monitoring the workouts of injured/recovering players such as Darnell Dockett (Achilles), Travis Johnson (foot) and Bobby Meeks (ankle).
"Darnell has been doing a great job. It's the hardest I have seen him work since I've been here -- and I've been here about a year or so," McCall said.
"He looks like he has a lot of direction, a lot more focus and he sees a goal. He wants to get to the next level, and he sees this is going to help him get to the next level. He has done a tremendous job. Travis is another guy that has been tremendous. He's starting to become even a leader in here now. In that injured group, he's starting to emerge a little bit better. I am really proud of what he has done."
McCall, who worked with Jost at SMU, has noticed a change in the players' approach. He believes they now accept Jost's system.
In terms of testing, for example, former strength and conditioning coach Dave Van Halanger had players run the 40-yard dash, participate in several weight tests, such as the bench and squat, and finish up with the annual mile and a half run to open preseason practice. Jost tweaked the testing procedures, including the elimination of the annual mile and a half run.
"It's a change, it's a little different but guys are starting to see results now," McCall said
"That's the biggest thing, they are seeing results and improvement out of the system and they are going to buy back into it. (The difference has been) mainly lower body strength. That's what our focus and our goal was and our objective, to increase their lower body strength. Starting with their hips and their legs. They see a lot of improvement in that. And I think that's going to carry over directly to the field in their running mechanics, their speed, their jumping and their explosiveness"
It's no secret the Seminoles will need to be more focused and determined than ever in terms of strength and conditioning. FSU plays a 13-game schedule this season, opening against Iowa State in the Eddie Robinson Classic in Kansas City Aug. 24. Consequently, camp opens earlier than usual (late July).
"We are going to jump back into it," McCall said. "We are going to work on strength, because we believe strength is the foundation of everything -- power, speed, agility. Around June, we are going to start some running. More speed training, more agility, more pylometrics. We are going to try to put that complete puzzle together to make a complete athlete."
Jost also continues to tweak his system. While the Seminoles' weight room is relatively quiet at the moment, that will soon change.
"We've added a lot more things," McCall said. "We are trying to focus more on single-leg (movements). Before, we did a lot more two-legged squats, double-arm movements. Now we are trying to work on single-leg stuff. We feel like most of our guys are really strong in terms of two legs, but the game of football you are always using one leg at a time. So, now we want to focus on strengthening each leg individually."