Strength & Conditioning coaches are always looking for ways to motivate their players and they do so in a variety of ways. For NC State, one of the best methods is the Brick Squad, a board that lists the program's best in a variety of categories.
"It's one of those ideas that we came up with as a staff I believe two years ago," said NC State Director of Strength & Conditioning Dantonio Burnette. "We did it as a staff with coach Veltkamp and it's one of those things that we've kept. We wanted to try to find a way to have something for those guys to shoot for when they came into the weight room, and it's been really successful.
"Most guys now are really visual. The age we're in, being visual is critical, and it keeps goals in front of them. They all want to make it on to that board. We had guys in here this morning looking at it and taking about it. They just stood there looking at the board, and they was talking junk to each other about who's on the board."
Brick Squad consists of seven categories: Clean, Squat, Bench, 10-Yard, Vertical, Agility, and Mortar. Each category ranks the top five metrics on the team and the corresponding player is listed by name and photo. Here is a written breakdown of the current board:
|Street (385)||Street (635)||Nelson (460)||Jo. Jones (1.40)||Tocho (41.3)||Paul (3.98)||Moore/Tocho|
|Nicholson (363)||Bryant (605)||Street/Hill/Ju. Jones (455)||Tocho (1.43)||Nichols (41.0)||Nichols/Nyheim
|Ju. Jones (352)||Ju. Jones (600)||Tu'uta (430)||Paul/Wright (1.44)||Cherry (40.5)||Stevens (4.03)||Hill/Bradbury|
|Ty. Jones (550)||Bryant (405)||Frasier (1.47)||Jo. Jones (39.8)||Street/Tocho/
Jo. Jones (4.04)
|Wright (540)||Bradley Chubb (390)||Cherry (1.48)||Street (39.4)||Moore (4.07)||Louis/Dayes|
How often is the board updated?
"It changes every training phase," Burnette said. "So guys up there will get bumped off the board because of the competition. It is what it is. The crazy thing is, this past training phase we had to completely change the board. Every number got wiped off, which is a great thing. That lets us know we're moving in the right direction because we are still a relatively young team and most of the guys on the board are underclassmen.
"We always tell them it's a process. That's one of the things that Coach Doeren always preaches to our players, and we're just a reflection of Coach Doeren. It's all about the process."
The big question remains, who is "the man" in NC State's weight room? The answer probably won't surprise knowledgeable Wolfpack fans.
"Kentavius Street is the biggest freak on our team, by far," said Burnette. "We've trimmed him down to 277 pounds because we've kicked him back outside, and he ran a laser-timed 4.64, if I'm not mistaken. He has a 39-inch vertical. He squatted 635 pounds with a 385-pound power clean.
"Like I said, he's a freak. On our board in the weight room he's pretty much at the top in every category. Even his 10-yard split is like 1.49 which is right along with our defensive backs. He's so strong. He's powerful, very flexible, and he bends really well."
Freshmen enrolled this summer and Burnette has already introduced them to the board. While he's worked them out just a few weeks, a trio of freshmen has already caught his eye.
"It's still early, but I like what I've seen from Nick McCloud," said Burnette. "Isaiah Stallings is another. He's a freak athlete; very long and rangy. The other guy would be Brock Miller. He's really rangy and athletic. Those three, three defensive guys, have worked really hard. Others have as well, but those three have caught my eye."
By now you're probably wondering about the last category: Mortar. Burnette explained what that column means and how critical it is to Brick Squad.
"We always say together we are a wall and each person on the team is a brick," he said. "The mortar is the glue that holds all the bricks together. Those guys are pretty much the leaders on the team, the mortar.
"The mortar category is subjective... we discuss it as a staff. Those guys show up everyday and are hard working. They hold their teammates and themselves accountable. It's not about them. That's the great thing about it."