Summer drills got underway with the Oklahoma football team yesterday under the guidance of Strength and Conditioning Coach Jerry Schmidt. Many in college and pro football feel that the best hire made by OU Head Football Coach Bob Stoops was that of Coach Schmidt back in 1999.
Since that time, OU has become one of the best conditioned football teams in the country and the Sooners' work in the offseason is often given credit for their tremendous success on the field.
Late last week, Coach Schmidt sat down with OUInsider for the Two Minute Drill, for the first of several installments to come over the next few days.
JH: Coach Stoops has often talked about the importance of your program and the Sooners success on the field. Tell us just how important your program is to the success of the eam?
JS: "I think it is really important, James. I think it is a period that we go into that separates our players as far as guys who are going to step up and be leaders. Maybe I shouldn't say separating them, but guys who are ready to step up and develop at another level. I think every phase of our program is important.
Starting with Coach Stoops, you start with our in-season program and go into our winter program. You then develop in the winter and you go into spring football, so it is a phase that is really, really important because there is a lot of distractions for a team if they go off by themselves.
"Our players know how important it is to take a summer and prepare them for the Big 12 season. With the help from our coaches, the players understand the importance of it for our guys to make progress and get better athletically in the summer."
JH: You have a number of different ways using different techniques that gets your team in the best possible shape. You have you way, that you developed, in getting the Sooners ready to play don't you?
JS: "With the new rules and things we have been cut down on our conditioning time. Normally, we would have 10 weeks and now we have eight weeks, which is no problem because the way we look at it that it is just the amount of work you get done and the way you approach it as a team mentally. Eight weeks is good enough.
"Going into next year we have some young guys that are going to have to really develop and step up. We had a number of guys drafted last year, so these guys are going to have to step up, which always makes it an interesting summer to see who is going to take advantage of a position that is open, or who is going to beat who out.
"We really strive to get the team better because as you get the team better, and as you take the team approach to it, each individual will get better."
JH: In the old days athletes would do a complete workout every day, but in today's world don't you go in sections each day?
JS: "We do some kind of explosive movement every day. Explosive movement is some kind of power clean or some kind of pull. It is anything that involves their hips and them exploding underneath something because that is the whole game. You think about all of our linemen or linebackers and everything that they are doing with their hips.
"We are doing some kind of jumping with an explosive jumping period, or an explosive power clean period, or some kind of squat just to train the body to always be explosive. We are working to develop explosive power and we are pretty much doing that every day.
"As far as their bench and that kind of stuff, we are doing that every other day, but we are doing some kind of explosive movement every day."
JH: College teams all over the country brag about their strength totals and numbers, and they throw out some incredible numbers. While you will talk about some numbers for your squad, you don't publicize or brag on those numbers like some programs. Do you care about the total number of weight that your team can lift or is that really irrelevant for a football player?
JS: "Well, I do care. But I think the guys have to set goals and really push each guy to get stronger. You have to be strong and you have to get stronger, but they have to take it in the right approach.
"You have to be able to use that strength on the field. Don't get me wrong, because we are going to get stronger, but we are going to transfer it over to the field. If a guy can power-clean 350 then we are going to transfer that over and be able to use that explosive power to change directions. If you're are a linebacker that can power-clean great weight then you still have to be able to change direction to be able to make plays.
"The main thing that I want to do is be as strong as we can, but make it functional when they get to the field. If a guy can bench 450 we need him to be able to use that. A guy like Jammal Brown was able to bench 430 and we were able to watch him on the field be able to transfer all that onto the field and toss guys around and use that in the right way."
JH: Davin Joseph said this was going to be a very important summer for him because you were going to him make the move from right guard to left tackle. How do you help Joseph make that transition?
JS: "We have drills set up for each position pretty much. In Davin's case, he has changed positions and only had a spring to work on it. It comes down to how much better he wants to get. I have different agility drills that we will do to help him to work on things that feel kind of awkward to him.
"We will just work on different agility drills, and that way he gets faster and improves his footwork by jumping rope and doing cone drills. His improvement will come from having that eight week period to really focus on it and to see him get better and to get quicker.
"We will work on getting his feet quicker. I try to take every position and study what our coaches are doing on the field and see what different footwork drills that they are doing, and how it can transfer over into our workouts in the summer to help them get better at their position."
We'll have more from Coach Schmidt over the next few days only on OUInsider.com.
Q&A with Jerry Schmidt: Part 1
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