Making a Difference With the Players

We've spent all week going inside the mind of head strength and conditioning coach Andreu Swasey. He offers the players life lessons and teaches them the right way to do things. Without question he is a great individual for the players to emulate as a person. Today we take some time to talk to some players to get their thoughts on coach Swasey.

Fifth-year senior Joel Rodriguez has known Swasey since he arrived on campus in 2000. He has seen his weight room numbers improve over the years especially his speed. Rodriguez feels Swasey is an extremely important person on the football staff.

"I think Swasey is the most underrated and under appreciated person on the entire football staff and in the entire athletic staff period. I don't think the program would be as successful without him. He is the most irreplaceable and valuable person on the staff."

Fellow fifth-year senior fullback Kyle Cobia agrees that Swasey is extremely important to the program.

"To me he is the best guy for the job in the world. He is a worker and a motivator. He knows what to do to get the best from us and we really strive off of him. He also knows about the mental aspects of football like being tough, accountable, and responsible."

Rodriguez is most impressed with Swasey's ability to communicate with every player on the team regardless of who you are. As a coach, being fair to each individual is something the players pay close attention to. Rodriguez points out that Swasey does an outstanding job of being fair with the players.

"He knows what buttons to push with certain people. He knows who needs to be yelled at and pushed a little harder. Some players need to be pulled aside and talked to also. He is a very good communicator, but the most important thing is that he is fair. For example, if you show up late the punishment wont be any more or less depending on who you are. He doesn't treat starters better than non-starters or freshmen. Everyone gets treated the same."

Not only does Swasey teach players how to work hard in the weight room, but he offers them life lessons as well. He concentrates on making the team solid individuals as well as solid football players.

"If you are around Swasey long enough in a day he is going to give you a story starting with ‘in life. I think that is what he cares about most. More than how fast you run or how much you lift. He is concerned about what type of person you are going to become."

Wide receiver Akieem Jolla, from New Orleans, has a close connection with Swasey. Jolla has learned a lot from being around Swasey over the past two seasons.

"He helps me with stuff everyday. Just being on time, doing things the right way and being precise with things. It helps me a lot because he helps me grow up faster. I am going to look to see what he is doing because I know he does it the right way. He is teaching me how to be a man."

"Swasey is a straight forward person," Jolla added. "Either you are going to do it or you aren't. He doesn't beat around the bush or cut any corners for you."

The summer workouts began on May 20 and they last all summer. The workouts are extremely tough and they test the mentality of the players.

"They will be hard," Jolla said. "Things wont be easy. Everything we do is going to be tough, but it is going to help us for this upcoming season. Everybody is trying to punch us in the mouth because we are coming to the ACC and their backyard."

Junior safety Greg Threat believes that Swasey works the players hard to get the most out of them. Threat likes the fact that Swasey gets the most out of him and was happy with his recent 4.44 time in the 40-yard dash.

"He brings a lot of energy and intensity to the football team everyday since day one. He wants you to be the best you can be and he wants to get the most out of your potential. He wont make you be something that you aren't."

Threat, from Tallahassee, remembers when he first met Swasey.

"When I first met him he reminded me of my father so it wasn't anything that I wasn't used to. He is hard on guys, but you know what to expect with him."

Offensive lineman Brad Kunz is a non-scholarship player who has worked extremely hard in the weight room to impress Swasey.

"I remember when I first met him," Kunz recalled. "He was a guy that liked people that worked hard. Pretty much everybody's goal on the team is to impress Swasey. If you can impress Swasey you have really done something. We have that much respect for him that that is one of our main goals."

Kunz's effort in the weight room has produced results. When he first came into the program he had some of the lowest numbers in his class. Now he was one of the top performers. His squat (510 pounds) is second on the team and his power clean (323) is good for fourth-best on the team. His bench press (340) narrowly misses the top ten list.

This fall Kunz is a candidate to receive a scholarship if there are any openings. He would be extremely happy for this opportunity, but regardless of what the outcome is he will continue to work hard and listen to Swasey.

"He has taught me how to be patient and if I came working hard good things will happen. He also told me to not worry about whether or not things will come to you, just worry about things that you can control."

Swasey points out the fact that he doesn't care about a player's status on the team. Kunz knows this firsthand as a non-scholarship player on the third team.

"Absolutely there is no discrimination. If you are me or if you are Sean Taylor. There is no difference in how much heart he shows to you for the team. he really cares for all of the players, no matter who it is. He does everything he can to help the players reach the best of their ability."

Kunz summarized what Swasey means to the team.

"I think coach Swasey is the glue that keeps the team together. He is a great example for players to look up to. He is not always looking to make us the strongest or fastest team out there. He is also trying to make us the most well rounded team. he teaches a lot of life lessons throughout everything he does. He leads by example by doing all of the workouts before we do. That shows how dedicated he is towards the players and the program."

Tomorrow – Bonus Feature: "Weight Room Top 10 List"

Christopher Stock is a Staff Columnist for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at

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