Clay question on Spring football

Hey, as we get closer a couple questions.

First, this is the second year we have seen the approach to have an 8 week conditioning program ahead of spring. What is your opinion on this, or will this be better gauged after spring ball or maybe even going into Fall camp? I think personally we see a good jump this year as this program takes hold and we see players really develop and make jumps.

Second, I am always looking at the OL as I believe it is the constant each year to determine success… But this year, I am really interested, or concerned as a nerves fan, our Inside Lbers… who will that be? where is the depth? Can Drew play inside, and if so can he stay healthy??? Inside LBer is key to me…

Just wanting to talk a little hog football…

I assume you mean Dre as in Dre Greenlaw. He’s played inside linebacker for two years. Weakside linebacker is an inside linebacker. He can play any of the four spots, but will likely play the will (an inside spot in the 3-4. He played some mike last year, too. Most didn’t realize it. You have to see where tight end or the strong side of the formation is located to understand that he might be at mike.

As far as depth, I am not sure, but here are the candidates for the three linebackers (outside of the OLB who is actually a DE). They would be Dre Greenlaw, Scootah Harris, Dwayne Eugene, Giovanni LaFrance, Kyrei Fisher and Josh Harris. That’s six for three spots, although you will see a look against spreads that put a nickel in for one of the linebackers, so it’s a lot like it’s been in the past, that you will have two true linebackers on the field. One of the outside linebackers in some schemes might be Kevin Richardson, more of a nickel/safety guy.

As far as the strength/conditioning program, not sure if it’s really any different than in the past. They do a nice job of that, as do most programs in the SEC. I would say that one thing I questioned was the switch last year to taking Thursday off and practicing a little more on Friday. I wonder if they will do that this year.

I thought this as well but then I talked to one of my old HS/college friends. He is a professor now but he has about 15 years of S&C experience for power 5 programs and several years as an Olympic S&C coach. He said that type of schedule is very popular in the NFL and in European soccer leagues. He went into a lot of detail but most of it was way over my head.

Yes, the thought is that it’s what is being done in the NFL. I don’t know that I buy it, but understand that Bielema has studied it in much detail. I do know that the first half seemed better than the second half in some games.

True, but correlation does not imply causation. In other words, just because A happened, then B, it does not mean A caused B. We might have done some second-half flopping with the old easy-Friday routine too. The major fourth quarter flops were the last two games. I would be suspicious that a failure to maintain early-season conditioning, rather than a change in Thursday-Friday routine, would be the culprit. But there’s no way to prove that either.

I raised my eyebrows when they did it. I just don’t buy it. Sorry

I don’t believe conditioning was the issue in the last two games. I think it was an issue of “On-Field” Leadership. Much like the Basketball team’s issues with playing on the road a few years ago, it is as much mental as it is physical if not more so. I saw a team that lost it’s intensity and focus which lead to mental breakdowns.

I didn’t say it was issue in last game. I was thinking of some other games. But it doesn’t matter what I think. We’ve covered last few games. I think it was poor offensive line play.

At some point, I’m going to talk to Bret Bielema about what he thought of the change in off-day procedure last fall. Will he do it again? I also understand that the NCAA has legislated two-a-days out of the August practice schedule. Bret did that pretty much the last two years, although he still took advantage of the walk-through to get two practices in one day. Just didn’t put them through two hitting practices. Sometimes, he’d hit the older guys in the morning, then hit the young guys and work special teams in the evening under the lights. I thought that was a good way to split the two workouts to maximize what players are getting and keep fresh to avoid injuries.