Preparing for Victory

There are a number of new faces among the Texas Tech coaching staff this season, but only one of them has received praise from almost every player I've talked to. Bennie Wylie is the Red Raiders' new strength coach, and if the results from this summer are any indication, he's going to be a great asset to the program.

According to Bennie Wylie there is only one goal fro his strength and conditioning program. "We're just trying to win. That's the name of the game, just to win, so anything you can do off the field to give Coach Leach and Coach Lyle a jump, that's what I try to do," Said Wylie. His title may be a bit of a misnomer because his approach involves much more than just strength. "There's strength, there's speed, there's conditioning, there's flexibility, there's nutrition," said Wylie. Every one of these areas is essential to getting top performance out of the Texas Tech players. When they feel good there's so many aspects to it that you try to hit on each one," said Wylie.

With the season getting closer, the program has become more focused. "The main thing right now, the focus now is on the field," said Wylie. With players getting lots of work on the practice fields, the goal is to keep them healthy. "Anything you can do as far as stretching guys out, any kind of flexibility routines you can do. Extra warm-ups, we do an extra warm up before we start. We have the whole defense stretch now as a unit before we start practice," said Wylie. "Anything that you can do to promote the healing process and just try to help the guys feel good."

During the off-season, the strength program focused on skills that are more specific. ". Very sport specific, very position specific drills. That's the only way that you're actually going to help a guy get better, is if you put him in an environment that's very similar to what he's going to do on the field," said Wylie. The drills for each position involve a number of specialized drills. "For a linebacker we use a thing called a hammer jammer. It kind of simulates their punch and their step, so anything I can do to kind of simulate their punch and step, because Coach Lyle is big about putting your hand in their throat," said Wylie. A similar idea is used to help prepare defensive lineman for the season. "For a D-lineman we implemented the big tractor tires because that's what they do every play, explode from their hips and then let their hands finish," said Wylie.

Coach Wylie comes to Texas Tech after being an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Dallas Cowboys. He says there hasn't been any change to the way he does his job. "That's what I love about my job. My relationship always stays the same. I'm here to help guys get better," said Wylie. Have the players reacted well to his plan? "They worked as hard as they could work. They did a great job this summer".

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