"This year was a big step for us because we were new last winter," Veltkamp told InsidetheVille.com. "This being our second winter here was big because there was no adjustment period. Everything this year was progress. The guys knew what we expected of them."
The progress was evident during the team's first practice of the spring.
"It's been a real crisp practice and that's what we expected," Veltkamp said following the Cardinals first day of spring practice.
U of L defensive coordinator Mike Cassity, who is also in his second year at Louisville, agrees that the improved understanding of Veltkamp's training has made a noticable difference.
"I think we were light years ahead of where we were last year after the first day," said defensive coordinator Mike Cassity. "A lot of the work ethic and discipline that our players have come from working with Coach Veltkamp."
Two players in particular made great strides during the off season by adding needed size and strength.
"Both of our outside linebackers did a real nice job," Veltkamp said. "Abe Brown is up to 235-pounds. When we got here he was about 204 and a safety. Brandon Johnson has hit 220-pounds for the first time in his life. He was 198-pounds when we got here. Now they actually look like linebackers."
And, while both returning starters have bulked up, neither has lost their quickness on the field.
"Brandon Johnson ran faster this year than he did last year and Abe Brown ran exact same 40-yard time as he did last year," continued Veltkamp.
"It went really good this winter working with Coach Veltkamp," said Abe Brown. "I was able to gain some more weight, but I kept the speed that I had before, which was great."
Bigger. Faster. Stronger. Three words often used too frequently by those on the outside looking in, but for Veltkamp, it's his job to make sure the players are always improving in each aspect.
"That's kind of paraphrasing what we do," explained Veltkamp. "There are a lot of other components to it. Each player is different though, some need to be bigger and some need to be smaller. Our program reflects that...not one player is treated the same in how he is trained."
However, it's never a case of simply adding weight and making a player bigger. Speed is always the emphasis in each aspect of the players training sessions, making Louisville's approach to off season workouts unique.
"The key to our whole program is speed and getting our guys faster," Veltkamp said. "We put a heavy emphasis on speed in our training and that is how this team plays. Coach Petrino wants a fast team, so we probably have a heavier emphasis on that when compared to other programs around the country."
With the Cardinals preparing for their first season in the Big East Conference, Coach Veltkamp knows what the players need to do during the off season so that they can accomplish their goals during their first year as a member of the Bowl Championship Series.
"Our goal is to make them bigger and faster."
From this interested observer, it appears that goal was reached.
(March 7, 2005)
|1. Harry Douglas||4.37||1. Montrell Jones||1.50|
|2. Marcus Folmar||4.39||2. Brandon Johnson||1.51|
|3. Brandon Johnson||4.40||2. Reggie Bradshaw||1.51|
|4. Broderick Clark||4.42||3. Elijah Daniel||1.53|
|4. Montrell Jones||4.42||3. Marcus Folmar||1.53|
|3. Gavin Smart||1.53|
|1. Kurt Quarterman||605||1. Lamar Myles||460|
|2. Lamar Myles||600||1. Amobi Okoye||460|
|3. Travis Leffew||570||3. Elvis Dumervil||455|
|3. Montavious Stanley||570||3. Adrian Grady||455|
|5. Amobi Okoye||565||5. Derionte Taylor||450|