At the end of the last season, Florida coach Will Muschamp was quoted as saying that the Gators were not as physical as he would like. Actually that is the sugar coated version. What Muschamp said after the loss to FSU was:
“We’re a soft football team. That’s the bottom line. When you can’t convert third-and-1, fourth-and-1 and teams have continually run the ball against you throughout the season, it’s very, very disappointing.”
With his new strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman, Muschamp is determined to make the Florida tougher and stronger in 2012 and that hard work is currently underway in the gym.
Dillman is a big proponent of an Olympic-style lifting program which Muschamp believes, is the best way to train football players, and the best way to fix UF’s toughness problems along the offensive and defensive lines. Experts agree.
“Total body movement, so when you pair [Olympic lifting] exercises, you’re going to get a complete, total athlete,” said Scott Gadeken, the head of physical conditioning at the IMG Performance Institute in Bradenton, Fla. “Not only are they going to be strong, they’re going to be fast and explosive.”
The Olympic lifting program is a good fit for the kind of team that Muschamp wants to build: a power-running, physical group, especially on the line of scrimmage.
UF didn’t use an Olympic-style lifting program under previous strength and conditioning coordinator Mickey Marotti. The Gators’ spread-option offense needed offensive linemen who were lighter and quicker and able to cover more ground, because the offense was spread across the entire field, so there was more of a premium on flexibility and agility than raw power.
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