Part II: Jason Veltkamp Q&A

RALEIGH, N.C. -- One of biggest hires Dave Doeren made when taking over at NC State was luring strength and conditioning coach Jason Veltkamp away from Arkansas.

One of biggest hires Dave Doeren made when taking over at NC State was luring strength and conditioning coach Jason Veltkamp away from Arkansas.

A Bozeman, Montana native, Veltkamp, who graduated from Carroll College, had stops at Utah and Louisville prior to being named head strength and conditioning coach at Arkansas in 2008.

Here is Part II of our interview with Veltkamp, who talks about the current roster, his potential impact on recruiting, and much, much more.

Part I: Jason Veltkamp Interview

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Talk about the group of guys you've inherited here. Have you had any leaders emerge early on?
I think some guys have stood out. I met with every kid and I asked them who the leaders were last year and Sterling Lucas was really the only name I consistently heard. Dontae Johnson was another name that was thrown out quite a bit and if I specially asked who was returning Dontae came up the most.

Sterling is on my staff now, so I took the best leader from last year and added him to my staff. Dontae is not a "rah-rah" guy but from the start I've been able to go to Dontae and say, "hey, pull this guy aside and tell him we need him, we need him to make better decisions," and Dontae is great for doing that.

[Darryl] Cato-Bishop has really stepped up and gone from a guy early on that would fracture to a guy now who will give the rallying cry. He's really flipped from one standpoint to getting onboard with what we're preaching; so he's been really good.

On the offensive side, Pete Thomas at quarterback has been really great. Jacoby [Brissett], coming in and not knowing his situation or being familiar with his teammates has done a really good job.

You know, Tony Creecy is always a guy that brings tons of energy. He was a guy that had to learn not to flip the panic switch but to instead flip the rally cry. He's been really teachable. You've got to tell him, "hey take a deep breath and hold these guys together cause they're relying on you to put them on your shoulders, not to tear them down."

This group as a whole has been very open to learning and they're hungry to be great, and when you have that it's an awesome deal. I've been to places where there was a resistance to hard work and that's tough because they're used to a country club atmosphere, but I don't think that's the way this group was, I think they worked around here.

Again, I couldn't be any happier with the progress they've made this winter.

One trend in recruiting that we've noticed is how kids coming in for a visit mention the strength program as a highlight of their time on campus. Talk about your philosophy with helping the staff to recruit.
You know they asked me, when I first got here how long I would need to present to recruits on campus and I told them that at the last place I had one hour on Saturday mornings and they just looked at me and said, "when we bring kids up here we want you to Wow them."

Coach told me that our goal would be to show them everything that we're going to do for them and how we'll be able to prepare them. We want kids, by the time they're ready to leave for the day, we want them ready to suit up and run out on that field ready to play today.

Does your staff help you in that area?
I've got "Thunder Dan" on my staff and Brad Stewart, who I brought with me, and Sterling and those guys are so energetic on the recruiting visit so I have each of them speak while the kids are there to show them each something different.

What do you stress on the visit?
We want to show them our plans, our goals and we want to show them things that only we're doing, things that they're not going to be able to go to other places and see.

We want them to see that we will give them every tool possible to succeed, more than any other school and we'll show them that on the administrative side that AD Yow is behind us and will give us whatever we need to win a whole bunch of games.

You've mentioned the response from the administration. Can you talk more about that?
Debbie Yow has been great. I put together a pretty good list of things I felt like we needed, and she looked at me and looked at the list and said, "let's get them all" because I want you to have everything possible.

Which that allows us to say honestly to recruits that you're not going to get this somewhere else, this is what we're going to do for you that no one else can, this is what's happening here.

It seems like you want to play a major role in recruiting
We do want to be a big element of recruiting.

If a kid is making a check list of five things he likes about NC State, I want the strength program to be on that list so he can check that off and know that he's walking in to the best place possible. I want a recruit to say, "I'm going there to be the best possible player that I can be."

We want kids to know, if you're a five-star, we're going to make you the best there is, and if you're a three-star we're going to make you a five star.

So, come in and let's get rolling.


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