The beauty of an old school weight room
In an era dominated by schools battling it out for the nicest facilities, Wisconsin strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert beleives that there's something really special about getting after it in an old school weight room.
Herbert says that when recruits would visit the old weight room they would always ask, "‘How do you go out and do the things you do?" because the other weight room facilities that they had visited were so much bigger and newer.
“A weight room, for us, is a place to get work done. Guys are going to come, they’re going to grind, they’re going to sweat, they’re going to sacrifice on a daily basis. The thing about the old space we had, it developed an aura. It wasn’t the prettiest, it’s not a health club-esque environment, although we kept it organized, neat and clean."
“When you came in, it was just a place you wanted to work in, you weren’t afraid to get chalk on the floor, you weren’t afraid to sweat.”
While construction continues on their new weight room set up in the Student-Athlete Performance Center on the north end of Camp Randall Stadium, they're making due with a temporary 10,000 square foot set up for the season. The final phase of construction on the new facility should get started around the same time that they would leave for a possible bowl trip.
The new facility will double the square footage that they had available in the old one, jumping from 8,300 square feet to 17,000, featuring 23 power stations that can be used for benching, squatting, or platform lifts.
Herbert admits that had some hesitations about moving into a new facility, in an environment where they would have to create their own "aura".
“When you get attached to something like that, when we flowed into this new space, I wasn’t sure, is it going to feel the same? Is it going to be the same? Right out of the gate, I was happy. Guys came in and they knew, it’s not the finished product, but we came in and got to work right away. It became refreshing to me, a new environment can stimulate you mentally. That’s important.”
SEC game times released
Game times for Southeastern Conference teams were released this morning.
Week 1 highlights include South Carolina heading to Nashville on Thursday night to take on Vanderbilt on ESPN, and then Saturday Alabama and Michigan square off in the Cowboy Classic. Also, Kentucky and Louisville will play on Sunday afternoon at 3:30.
Week 2 features plenty more ESPN action with Florida traveling to Texas A&M at 3:30, as well as Washington at LSU at 7 p.m, and Georgia at Missouri kicking things off shortly after at 7:45.
Things get really interesting in Week 3, with Alabama meeting Arkansas, Florida at Tennessee, and then Texas and Ole Miss in Oxford at night.
Be sure to clear your calendar for Week 10, as Alabama heads to Death Valley to take on LSU on CBS in the prime time slot.
The SEC title game will be decided on CBS December 1 at 4 p.m. Full schedule can be seen below.
Behind the scenes: Texas A&M uniform reveal
Pretty neat video here from 12thManTV showing some behind the scenes footage from their big uniform unveiling last week.
The clip really captures how excited the players are for the new look, and some of the secrecy that it takes to keep everything under wraps.
UMass to wear black uniforms?
Over the weekend, UMass Magazine rolled out their summer issue with an advertisement for UMass season tickets inside, featuring the picture below.
According to Bob McGovern of Maroon Muskets, the Minutemen will be sporting the black on black look during their inaugural FBS season. The full advertisement can be seen here.
Summer MMA Circuit, 10 stations, 21 minutes
Plano John Paul II high school (TX) strength coach James Burk has his guys mixing in some MMA style training this Summer. We hear the kids enjoy the change of pace and the coaches like the results they are seeing.
10 stations, 30 seconds of work, 30 seconds of recovery, 2 reps...10 second transitions...total elapsed time of just over 21 minutes.
Dabo: "You can't practice this game half speed"
The frame of Clemson's new $10 million indoor facility is up, and the added flexibility that it is going to provide the Tigers has Dabo Swinney pretty jacked up.
Soon enough they will no longer have to take cover during bad weather and lose an hour of valuable practice time.
"A siren will go off, you’re going what the heck, and you’re shut down for 45 minutes before you can even think about going out. Well, we work on a 20-hour rule. (Players have) study halls, tutors, a lot of stuff. We go to class here. It’s a lot to balance. You have a certain window to get your work in.”
"For me, at this level, (the indoor facility) is a huge need for us. Because of the edge other people are gaining by having that. They never miss a day. So for us, we’re never going to miss a day of work.”
With their current setup, practicing in the rain becomes a major safety concern because Swinney and the coaching staff don't want to risk injuries practicing outdoors.
"We can’t go full-speed, and you can’t practice this game half-speed. Just doesn’t work. Not on a Tuesday, Wednesday, you’ve got to play an opponent on game day. Especially if they’ve been able to practice at a tempo at which you need to practice. It’s going to be awesome. Many other things we can benefit from, and we’re going to use it for a lot of other things.”
The window for completion looks like December...just in time for possible bowl preparations.
No more Big Ten - Pac 12 agreement
The Big Ten and Pac 12 agreement to play a total of 12 football games per year isn't going to happen after all.
According to ESPN, at least four Pac 12 teams were unwilling to follow through on the madatory scheduling agreement, citing the fact that Pac 12 teams are locked into nine conference games, while Big Ten teams only have eight. The entire timeline of the planning process, dating back to November, can be read here.
As Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany explained, the hurdles of coordinating schedules for 24 teams was just too much to overcome.
"We are disappointed to announce today that the Big Ten Pac-12 strategic collaboration announced jointly in December 2011 unfortunately will not be consummated. We recently learned from Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott that the complications associated with coordinating a non-conference football schedule for 24 teams across two conferences proved to be too difficult. Those complications, among other things, included the Pac-12's nine-game conference schedule and previous non-conference commitments."
For now we'll just have to be satisfied with the occasional Big Ten vs. Pac 12 match up and the Rose Bowl.
Defensive differences: The Big Ten and Big 12
Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck has experience working at Big 12 conference schools at Nebraska, Kansas and Kansas State. The second year coordinator was asked by Tom Dienhart of the Big Ten Network about the defensive differences between the Big Ten and the Big 12.
Beck explained that while the Big 12 defenses were more multiple, the defenses in the Big Ten were much more physical and fundamentally sound.
"I thought Big Ten defenses were much more physical. In particular, the defensive lines were better. The Big Ten defenses didn’t do as many things; Big 12 defenses do a lot of things, different fronts, coverages. In the Big Ten, you don’t have that."
"I also thought the Big Ten defenses knew their systems a little bit better. In the Big 12, there are so many spread offenses, you have a lot of gimmick blitzes and gimmick coverages to try to confuse quarterbacks to get them to screw up. You could find holes in those defenses, or you could put something new in from week to week to beat those defenses."
"In the Big Ten, they seem to know their defense better. They adjusted to things better, they knew their weakness of the coverage or front. As soon as we started to take advantage of something, they knew how to fix things."
Looking back at the statistics from last season, an impressive five Big Ten teams finished in the top 25 in scoring defense (Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Illinois) and Ohio State finished just outside the top 25 at #27. The Big 12 had no teams represented in the top 25, and their first team, Oklahoma, came in at #31 .