Trent Greener Q&A - Part One

SEATTLE - As spring football continues, one thing that gets a little lost in the shuffle is all the work that was put in by the Washington football team in the off-season in terms of strength and conditioning training, as well as speed and agility work. To get the answers about this past off-season, Dawgman.com spoke with the Huskies' Director of Sports Performance, Trent Greener.

Dawgman.com: What do you to impliment what you want to once the season is over so they can recover and go hard into mat drills?

Trent Greener: The first thing we do is we look at where our winter training is going to take us. If we are going to test the second or third week of March, we work our way backward so we know just how much time we have and what we have to get done. Then we address the rehabilitation aspect. These guys have been putting it on the line, and some guys have been going 60-70 plays a game for the whole season. We go into a recovery and reconditioning mode, where we unload their bodies and try to rebuild off of any injuries they had. We utilize the weight room, but we do different things. We try to rebuild their system and we do that through January and February.

Since we were later this year, we had a little different dynamic. We had our team banquet and our team meeting and then we had finals and then we were out of here. So we gave them a program and our guys know the expectation of what we have to do before we come back in January. There's some conditioning-oriented activities - and I use that term loosely, because it's just running and some movement activities and some low-impact things they can do to help rebuild their fitness base.

When they come back in January, they understand that we're getting right back at it. We asked them to get away from everything for a couple of weeks to get their minds set and let their energy systems recover, gain some weight - all the good stuff that comes from a lot of rest and recuperation. Some guys are in the Seattle area, so we'll see them around in December and early January. Others go home, so we're on the honor system.

When they get back, there's a ramp-up process. Each week builds on the previous week, and it's this system where we gain a little bit in terms of intensity. The easiest part of the process to overtrain is early on. You get a guy that comes back chomping at the bit and all of a sudden overextends himself and can't get his feet back under him because each week we add a little more. So we try to educate them in the process. We have to work hard, and we have to work intelligently. You can't get everything in every day, so you build it and you add a few sets, you add an exercise, you change the intensity.

Most guys understand where we're going and how we're getting there now that we've had them a couple of years. So we start slower, and it's not running-oriented. We've been running all season long and playing football, so the lifting takes a little bit more precedent. But after a couple of weeks of getting a volume of workouts, we incorporate the running and the speed and agility workouts.


DM.C: So does this happen right when they get back from break?

Greener: When they get back we tell them that we are only allowed a certain number of contacts and a set number of workouts, and they know that once they get back, we're working. You only have so many weeks, and that last finals week (of winter quarter), we utilize as a transition into our spring ball mode and we test the week before. But we have to be smart about it because we only get 8 hours a week.

So there's a truncated period where, if they didn't do enough homework over break or you didn't take care of your body, it will let you down.


DM.C: Last fall there were some issues with some of the offensive linemen, in terms of reaching their fitness goals. How was it coming back from this break?

Greener: We did our homework. And it's just another year, and they know the expectation and the older guys that have been in it, they know what to expect - so they work at it. The great ones, even if it's a day off, they are always moving forward - even if it's just getting their mind right, getting good nutrition, watching their weight...our guys did a great job. And because you're not preparing to play a game (until fall), that training that you get in during the month of December - there's nothing like it. That makes you a better football player. And we have to work it a little bit harder and a little bit smarter. We were pretty pleased with everyone that came back at the end of January.


DM.C: Does the Sports Performance staff - because of the continuity you've been able to create - move ahead with more sophisticated training?

Greener: I was talking to a guy at a Big-10 school and he told me that they were getting back to the basics. They had been a successful program, but have had a couple of down years and he was talking about getting back to the basics. Well, we never really leave the basics. We do some different things and we try some different avenues where we have some needs, and one thing we talked about as a staff - and we hear it from the coaches too - is that, especially for the big guys, we need to have them bend their knees and hips a little bit better, get into that athletic stance and play with a lower pad level. So we did some things and tried to address that.

We take what we hear from Coach Willingham and the position coaches and we implimented things to address those needs. We have our base program, and then we sit down as a staff and look at things, like how do we get our big guys to drop their pad level a little bit, or play with a little more leverage. I think we did some things with that.

Now, with some of our skill guys, we're at a level now where we got some guys that can move a little weight and can run around a little bit and do some things.


DM.C: Speaking of doing things like getting the bigger guys more flexible with their knees, was there anything that's been implimented that's been a fairly significant departure from what's been done in the past?

Greener: I'm out there every day at practice, so hopefully we're getting some positive feedback or know that we've got some work to do in a certain area. We added a few auxiliary movements in some areas to get guys to be a little more agile and be a little better knee-benders and play with a little more leverage. But we didn't stray too far from our core system, but it's things we need to add as we go forward. You can't ever get too far from things though, or else you lose the integrity of the program.

One thing is, we need to run better. We need to have greater finishing ability. So we did some things over the winter with our team workouts and tried to address that. Things like overall strength and speed and mental toughness.


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