Miami University football isn't just a 12-game season, it's a year-round cycle of training, conditioning, practicing and playing. Beginning today and appearing nearly every Friday on MURedHawks.com will be a feature that focuses on one of America's favorite pasttimes. Football Friday will open up the door behind the scenes of Coach Don Treadwell's team, introducing you to the players, coaches and auxiliary personnel that serve the sport.
OXFORD, Ohio - With spring ball just around the corner, Miami University's strength and conditioning coach Paul Harker says he'll increase the football team's workload in the gym and on the track starting next week.
"With the long layoff, the main goal is to put some size on," Harker said. "When those kids come in, it's a very detailed, organized plan of exactly what they need to be doing. It's not them coming in and moseying around and doing what they feel like doing. It's mapped out, day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month."
During the last five weeks, the football team has lifted weights three times a week and conditioned twice a week. That routine will change and increase Monday. Harker said the team would start lifting four times while also conditioning three times per week.
"We'll look to ramp up the volume and intensity," he said.
The football team is limited to 20 hours a week of practice/workouts, although players typically train eight-to-10 hours a week in the offseason, Harker said.
Daily weight-lifting periods usually last about an hour, as do conditioning and running sessions. Additionally, Harker said he will incorporate football-related skill work as a precursor for spring ball in the coming weeks. Spring practice is tentatively scheduled to start March 25 and run through April 26.
To avoid complacency and increase motivation, each individual has a specific workout regimen and goals which are tailored to their position and needs. Student-athletes also are placed in smaller training groups, which promotes accountability.
"Sometimes when you are one amongst 75-to-100 guys, it's easier to say, 'What difference am I going to make?'" Harker said. "But when you are within a group of 10-to-12, it's a lot easier to grasp that concept and realize that everyone is accountable to one another."
The players also take part in an off-season competition, which starts at the beginning of spring semester.
"The seniors come in and draft teams," Harker said. "We'll have six teams and we'll have a semester-long competition. Everyday within the workout, there's an opportunity to earn points."
In addition to performing well in the weight room, points can be earned or deducted due to attendance in the classroom, grades, late/misses to study table or any indiscretions that may occur.
"Each assistant strength coach is responsible for four-to-eight individual players," Harker said. "They track what every player does week-to-week."
Harker is confident that progress will be made by each and every player, and that significant strides will be made when spring drills begin on March 25.