Bigger, Stronger, Faster!

Andreu Swasey is entering his fourth season as the Hurricanes' Head Strength and Conditioning Coach. Swasey is known as one of the best in his field and has earned a great deal of respect from his fellow coaches as well as the players he works with. Evaluating the job Swasey has done in his short time with Miami is as easy as watching the Hurricanes on any given Saturday.

The University of Miami continues to produce players that are bigger, stronger and faster than previous years and Swasey and his staff are a large part of that. We spoke to Coach Swasey entering fall camp about a variety of players as well as his thoughts on the 2003 season.

Compare the work ethic of Brock Berlin and Ken Dorsey as far as offseason workouts?

They both have good work ethics. That is the one thing I see they have in common right now that I can see. They are guys that push themselves and are always out front working hard. That is the most important thing I see so far right now with Berlin. Him being accountable and gaining respect from his teammates. A lot of it is not what you say but what you do. He's doing what he's supposed to be doing and that is the important thing. That is the main thing I see they have in common. I think right now based on work ethic Derrick [Crudup] is going to be an important piece just as well as Brock. They are both prepared I think and they have a good working relationship out there. We have a team concept here where we need these guys ready when their name is called and these guys will be I think.

How good can Frank Gore be for the Hurricanes in 2003?

There is no question that the potential to be as good as Edgerrin James, Willis McGahee or Clinton Portis is there. This is his time and his season and I've been stressing that to him. Last year was Willis' season and Willis did the best with his season just like Portis when he had his season in 2001. That was his time and now it is Frank's time and the ball is in his hands. He had a great summer and came back and worked hard and he is weighing 216 and is lean and very strong and feeling great. He came in at 216 and he is still there but he has really leaned up and now is a lot stronger relative to his own body weight. I think this is an excellent weight for him.

Can this be Jason Geathers' year to shine?

We have no choice (laughing). By far he is at the best he's ever been. He ran the best he ever has. I timed him in the spring at a 4.41 or somewhere in there. He ran that twice so for his size he's right in there and is fast for a big guy. He has the potential to do the things he needs to do. It's his time to put things together and I think he will. He's been a guy that is so talented that if we need him at back if Gore gets hurt we've got a guy that can step in there. He's never been solidified at one single spot to see how good he really could be. He went half a season playing running back and the other half playing receiver. I don't think people realize, especially at this level, how tough it is to be able to do that. Even though he is talented it is a different ball game when you have to switch like that. It is a gift that he has that also gives us some flexibility when we need it. If Gore goes down this year we may have to move him back to tailback and have no choice to probably do that. We've done it in the past and probably wouldn't be reluctant to do it again because he did do a good job for us before. He gives us a nice 1-2 punch and really helped us in the win against Florida State. I think you can't ignore what he's done. I don't think it has hampered his career. I think what it did was enlighten people that he is multi-talented. He's a guy that can go either or. The question is what if he was able to stay at one spot. How good could he have been?

Do you see Kellen Winslow being even hungrier and more of a leader this season?

He ain't stopping at nothing. He came in as a true freshman at 217. Last year he played at 233. This year he's at 252 so I'll let you figure the rest out (laughing). He ran a 4.53 for me so he's faster than ever and bigger and stronger than he's ever been. This will be by far the most dominating Kellen we have ever seen. I mean we saw last year when he was at 233. I think as a senior we'll see him at about 265 but this year he'll probably play at 255. I mean you are talking about over 20 pounds of muscle increase from last year. This crop I am very impressed with. Kellen, Vince Wilfork, Vernon Carey, Chris Myers, Jon Vilma, D.J. Williams, I mean these are the leaders and these guys are our front runners as far as work ethic and everything else. This is a real good crop of players this year. A lot of times those guys lead by example and not only that but they are not just talking the talk. This is a real good group.

Talk about the progress of the offensive line this offseason.

You know what as a whole they did great. As a whole I am very impressed with the running and the conditioning and the whole thing they stood out as a group. That is a hell of a unit this year. I think Tony Tella came up out of the group. This is the best summer Tony Tella has had easily. But also all of the other guys made a lot of increases. As far as the physical conditioning, running and mentally pushing himself Tony Tella did a great job. Vernon Carey did real good as usual. Chris Myers as usual increased; Joel Rodriguez did real good. I thought Joel Rodriguez and Tony Tella was more of a situation where it was around their bell time so to speak. Rashad Butler had a good summer. I could name the whole like because they did all do well. I guess the best way to put it is that I can't name one guy who didn't do good this summer. I think they are hungry. They are hungry with respect to there being competition. Where there is competition there is a chance for some great, great success and that is how we believe around here. We try to keep it competitive and keep guys hungry for that position and I think we were solidified in a lot of spots last year and the year before because we had repeating guys. Now this year we have a new crop as far a quarterback and running back. We have competition on all but two spots along the offensive line. I mean there is different competition that is arising. I don't think there is a lot of competition at linebacker but we all knew that. But they are some strong guys who are self motivated and work hard but I'm saying what is happening at the offensive line and why you get that creation of that type of success. It's just like we had in the secondary the year before. It is very competitive and guys fighting for positions and they're a young group. You got some young guys like Greg Threat who is in the hunt so it helps the guys in front to not get complacent and there is a chance that you may not be starting. I think it is a great thing and that is what is going on along the offensive line. You've got to be insane to not have worked hard because of the competition and that is part of our nature anyway.

Anyone else had major gains in the weight room or in timing?

Sean Taylor weight wise and body mass has. He weighs 234 right now and he came in at 220 and for him to be running what he is running and doing the things he is doing, that is ridiculous. He is leaner than he has ever been and he is 14 pounds heavier than when he came in. It's like ridiculous looking man. I'm going to tell you now, if he hit P.K. Sam like he did in the Florida State game, he'd knock his helmet off and just destroy him. He was a baby then. What he has done now is incredible. He vertical jumped 39" at that 234 and ran a 4.38 so his numbers have gone up. One thing about the guys is that I'm real big on relative strength. I want the guys to put on muscle mass and we're going to get it big and get it more explosive. That is what's going to borderline get you hurt going against us. Frank Gore did a transformation too. He didn't really change any weight he just tightened up a little bit. He became a solid 216 instead of a flabbier 216. Everyone else I think is on their typical schedule except for the gains Sean has made.

How are the wide receivers shaping up after the summer workouts?

Ryan Moore came on throughout the summer and I think we were pretty fortunate that his hamstring held up. I was happy about that, he didn't have a major blowout with it. That was a major plus. I think he's going to do some good things through the season. They are constantly learning but they are a good group. I'm overly confident in them. I think they are a very talented group. They've got a good work ethic and they are tough and I think we got used to Santana Moss and Reggie Wayne and then Andre Johnson and now we'll have to get used to some new faces but the results will be just the same and if not better. I think Roscoe and Kellen will open up some things and we are very talented at receiver and we have some skill there but they just haven't been in the games yet and haven't had an opportunity because of the guys that were here before them but I'm not really worried about our guys.

How does the fullback position shape up with Kyle Cobia and Talib Humphrey coming back from injuries?

Cobia has really been making some great gains from his injury and getting back to his original numbers. That is how I compare the injured guys, are they getting back to the numbers they were at when they were at their peak. Getting them back to square one is the goal. He is on schedule coming back with that shoulder work. With that shoulder work we couldn't put a lot of weight on his back as far as a squat and stuff like that. He's right around what he was before his injury, which is a good thing. Humphrey had a minor foot sprain that had been bothering him but as far as tests and things of that sort he's just doing great so I mean that's a good competition with those two.

Defensive end will be under the microscope this season. How have they progressed in the offseason?

John Square had shoulder surgery so he is set back a little bit so we were playing catch up ball with him. For the most part Thomas Carroll had the best summer of his life. He did real good but Square is on schedule and he is doing good but he has been kind of hampered from that surgery. Alton Wright has done a great job this summer. He's gotten more coordinated and caught up and in the groove of things. Now he is understanding things and is going to be a good surprise to a lot of people I think. Baraka is weighing about 256 right now and is looking real good. He is increasing in some areas and in some areas we're still working on. We're working on getting his leg strength up but he's 18 and this was really, truly his first summer.

If I ask you to name guys who have had summers off the charts who comes to mind?

Vilma. D.J. Williams. Off the charts those would be the two main guys that stand out. Kellen missed the first half when he went home or else he might be in there. Those two really jump out at me.

Has Roscoe Parrish bulked up to prepare for a breakout season?

I think he'll have a breakout year. He's right on schedule. Last year was more of a tease. The year before I think he was just learning. Now I think every day he is more wiser as to what is going on and he is still learning but he's faster than he was last year and he's stronger. He came in at 145 as a freshman and right now he's at 168 so we are now at over a 20-pound increase so far and on an average guys gain between 30-40 pounds of muscle in college. He's right on schedule and I told him if he could leave here like Santana Moss was at about 175 or 180 he'll be all right. He's on schedule though.

How much has it helped the true freshmen to come in over the summer and get a college workout compared to what they are used to in high school?

It is very much different and I think it humbled them more than anything. They come in here from high school where they are the man and they think they are ready for the world but I think this summer humbled them and gave them an understanding of what work is really about. I also think it makes them understand that it isn't what they say but what they do. They come in and need to develop a work ethic and I think they've done that. I think it helped them because once the returning guys come in the freshman get a lot more humble and quieter. I think they've also learned how to take coaching more. When you are young you think you've got it all made and you know it all but you really don't. I think it has been a great summer, it's like going to boot camp almost for a lot of these guys.

Do you see any of the true freshmen coming in more prepared and perhaps ready for a role above and beyond special teams?

No. I think Tyrone Moss has a chance because of the numbers factor, not because of his talent. I think the problem is here with what has gone on since 2000 with the work ethic and stuff like that. You can be talented but what the returning guys have on you is two or three years in the weight training program and discipline. They come in wet behind the ears and there isn't too much they are going to do for us. They don't understand how it goes. You have to become more mature and disciplined and there is a lot of growing up to do before you are ready for playing time here. I haven't seen that. I just haven't seen a guy come in ready from high school. I've been here for a while and I saw a lot of talented guys come in with unbelievable athletic ability but guys that are here training for two or three years before you get here make it tough. You are dealing with guys with more discipline and they are going through their progressions and they know what it takes. There is a lot at stake. You can't just roll them out there and think they are going to do it. They come in so far behind because they think they are ready but these guys already here turn those guys around. It's just a different ballgame.

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