Coach Stroud speaks with NoleDigest part I

Strength and Conditioning Coach Todd Stroud spoke with NoleDigest recently about a number of topics.

What are you trying to accomplish during mat drills?

Matt drills are a small part of the puzzle. The first thing is that it really helps in bringing the team closer together. It's really important to build chemistry which shows when they're on the field. So it's more of an intangible thing. Obviously other goals include overall conditioning and also to improve football skills. Those are the things we are trying to accomplish but not necessarily in any order. We've tweaked them a little this year and added some different things and added some different drills to them which are a fresh change for the kids who have been going through them for a while. So we've changed the format a little and from what I've gathered from the feedback is that the team is further along at this time than they were last year which is good.

How is the team progressing?

I think of any team I've ever coached, this team has shown the most improvement through the first three days. It is definitely a bigger improvement from day one to day three than I've ever seen in the past. Last year we did a nine day workout and this year we're doing a 12 day workout before spring football starts up. You really won't start to see the players' peak until around the 9th or 10th workout. That gets them to the point to where they really won't be able to do any better in the final few workouts, but it puts them as ready as they can be by the time spring football starts up. Right now, I'd say they're definitely on track to be where we want them to be.

Who has stood out performance wise? Leadership wise?

We've seen a lot of improvement in a couple of our athletes. I know Justin Mincey looks like a completely different guy. H's a few pounds lighter going into this year than he was this time last year. Antwane Greenlee, from day one up until now has looked great. Last year he was injured and got himself in a bind with a spinal injury and he has responded better than any of us could have asked for. I just wish he could have gone through a season with Coach Trickett to help the toughness a little, but I'm not worried; I know he's gonna get there.

Leadership wise?

Drew Weatherford has done an excellent job. Over on defense we have Darius McClure really stepping up as well as Everette Brown. I think Ryan McMahon, Rodney Hudson and Daron Rose all have gotten a little more vocal over on the offensive line. Dekoda Watson at the linebacker position has really shown he can be a leader. Then Tony carter in the secondary has really been working hard. Over at the receiver position, Greg Carr just continues to get better, which is something that we had really hoped for. We're making progress all over the board.

Comment about Nigel Bradham, Vince Williams, and Terrance Parks.

They have all been a pleasant surprise as far as their progression and everything has gone. They are three guys who should be worrying about the prom right now, but instead they're over here worrying about mat drills. It looks like all three of them are going to have the chance to contribute early and they all have college bodies right now which really sets them apart from some of the other kids we've had come through here in the past. They still have a lot to learn but they definitely have the chance to hit the ball a little faster than the rest of the freshman coming in.

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