Ole Miss Strength & Conditioning Coach Don Decker is probably not going to be able to help senior Wide Receiver Mike Wallace get much faster. A little, sure. A lot? Doubtful.
Afer all, Wallace ran a 4.26 40 last spring. That's pushing the envelope of human capability already.
But what Decker can do, according to the talented speedster, is guide Wallace in being quicker when he changes direction.
"Coach Decker is great. He targets what you need the most and attacks it. He wants us to be loose and flexible, which is what we are working on now," said Mike. "I have a lot of respect for him already.
"We work on balance and he incorporates exercises from martial arts and yoga and all kinds of different disciplines. He mixes it up and keeps it fun. He comes up with different things every day that keep your attention and you don't get bored. With me, he's working on my quickness and change of direction. He says he can actually get me a little faster, which is fine by me, but quickness is the main area we attack. What I am working on really hard is change of direction, which is what I need the most."
Wallace said there is a benefit to the required workouts being fun.
"We don't dread going to workouts any more. We work hard, and we always have, but what's wrong with it being a little fun at the same time?" he asked. "I think you get way more benefit out of it if you are looking forward to it rather than dreading workouts.
"When you have fun while you work hard, I think you get more out of it and you put more into it."
Throwing weights around is throwing weights around, Mike stated, so that part will not change much, but, again, it's the attitude that has changed.
"Coach Decker is showing us a few minor differences in our lifting techniques, but not much," Mike continued. "What is different is that guys are excited to go be there.
"I also think it is important that each group has the same strength coach working with that group every day. The wide receivers will have the same guy every day and that allows him to identify and hone in on our specific needs easier and more effectively. Every player needs to improve different areas and having the same coach watch you every day allows him to recognize what each athlete needs to improve on."
With offseason workouts about to intensify as the Rebels prepare for the March 12 start of spring training, there is still time for volunteer 7-on-7 passing drills that the players organize themselves.
"We are not running any plays right now, but we are doing a lot of one-on-one," Mike noted. "We are all trying to build chemistry with our quarterbacks.
"We all have worked with Jevan (Snead) and Billy (Tapp) before so it's nothing new, but they didn't get as many reps last year so we've got work to do," Mike added. "Jevan is going to be real good.
"I know he was real good coming out of high school, but I don't think many other people know just how talented he is. He wants to work every day and we do extra work every day. He has all the throws. We end every session by running nine different routes and he can throw them all perfectly. It's got a lot zip on it, but it's a spiral so it is very catchable. A lot of times it's like he's doing all the work and all you have to do is stick your hands out, especially on deeep balls - he drops those right in."
So far, Wallace closed, the offseason is what he was hoping for. Hard work, but bringing the joy back into the game for him and others.
"It's time we started having some fun around here. Football will be enjoyable again," he ended.
Mike Wallace -
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