Thursday, June 10, 2010

Announcement and Training Videos

Hey everybody, I realize it's been quite a while since my last post--and oh what a difference a year makes! I'm looking to resurrect the blog in an expanded format with comments on everything from training, politics and everything in between. Stay tuned for the Thomas White blog 2.0....

As promised, here are some recent clips from training:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Some 2007 Clips

Surprised to find these on the web, enjoy! Q & A

After seeing that my blog had been discussed, I decided to do a Q & A session for the fine folks over at Often it seems like fans are left in the dark regarding the happenings of the football program with the exception of 12 Saturdays in the fall. Hopefully my responses will shed some light on what goes on behind the scenes and leave you with a better appreciation for Baylor football.

1) What has been the most challenging aspect of your preparation?
The most challenging aspect has been being away from my wife, Lauren. We've only been married 2 months and its been hard not waking up next to her everyday. With regard to the training aspect, I have complete confidence in my trainer and never question or second guess his recommendations. Obviously the idea with a Combine/Pro Day is to ensure that all of your physical abilities and systems crest simultaneously to allow the best performance possible. This requires a bit of sophistication in the planning and periodization and I'm very happy to have placed that responsibility in the hands of my trainer, Carl Valle.

2) Did your experience at baylor prepare you well for the next level?
I believe it did. I can say that I've played against the best of the best in college football for the past four years (I think I've played against nearly half of the projected Top 32 players in the country). I've played in three very different offensive systems and picked up unique techniques and skills as a result. While I've heard some lament the fact that we play in the Big 12 South, I can say that it has been a fantastic experience and not ONE player on the team would have it any other way. Few, if any, conferences can boast the talent and competitiveness of the Big 12.

3) Does baylor have a good strength and conditioning program?
Yes, we do. The methods and techniques are effective and the team stayed strong and healthy throughout the season. The main thing is that the team has bought into Coach Kaz's system and vision. Coach Briles (who has a rare ability to diagnose weight and BF% by sight) is very adamant about having a strong, fast, well-conditioned football team and on any given day you can see the man himself practicing what he preaches on a power rack.

4) Why did we all cramp up against TCU at home a few years back??
An event that will live in infamy! Honestly the answer had NOTHING to do with our conditioning! We conditioned harder that summer than any that I've been a part of during my time on campus (I have the workout logs to prove it!). The coaches and staff hammered hydration all camp long and throughout game week. The general consensus was that it was related to nerves and excitement as it didn't occur in any practice or game before or after.

5) Does anyone on the team want to strangle ol' Johnnie Mo/John Morris for his sunshine pumping, "you almost got 'em" antics?
I've had the pleasure of sharing a few car rides and a flight to Big 12 Media Days with John and I can tell you that he bleeds green and gold! I think that the issue that you are referring to is not isolated to a certain group of people but rather is a part of the paradigm we have worked so hard to change. I can't tell you how many times people have patted me on the back and congratulated me with an "well at least we ALMOST beat XXXXXX." While I appreciate the gesture, it is time that people in Baylor Nation realize that losing isn't acceptable, not now or ever! I can tell you that it is much more than a "game" to everyone who is at the Highers Complex! For all the blood, sweat and tears along with the sacrifices that our players and coaches make on an ongoing basis, losing simply isn't a justifiable result. We aren't trying to be competitive or play close, we are trying to kick down the door and take the Big 12 by force! As soon as the fanbase and student body embrace this vision we will see a much needed change in the culture of Baylor sports.

6) what was guy morris like and what do you think of briles?
Coach Morriss was/is a very intense coach, a man of few words who demands that his players take a work like approach to the game and are self-motivated. I think it is unfair that he shoulders the majority of the blame for our lack of success during his tenure. At the end of the day, players have to play and I believe that we underachieved quite a few times in both '05 and '06.

Briles is a guy who makes football fun while at the same time getting the most out of his players. I can remember a few plays in practice and games in which I broke out a long gain with some great after the catch running only to be asked why I didn't score! He demands that his players take their game to the next level and go from "good to great." Practices are also a lot of fun, I recall a November practice where I pulled Romie out because I saw a one on one opportunity in the red zone:
Coach Briles: "T-Diddy, what are you doing?!"
Me: I'm about to score.
Coach Briles: Ok, I like it! (audibles from a running play to an inside fade to me for the touchdown)

Coach loves the game and takes care of his players, I know that everyone who wears a BU on their helmet wants to win for him.

7) Is Szymanski's neck really that long up close?

Yes it is but if you mention it you will receive a quick volley of insults in his West Texas drawl! Can't say enough good things about Blake, great teammate and individual.

8) Why the reference to the Top Gun volleyball scene on your blog? That's kinda conflicted, if ya know what I mean.
Well I am married and very secure in my sexuality! As I said on that entry, I love that movie and sand volleyball. Furthermore, I happen to like Kenny Loggins! In seriousness, any time you talk sand volleyball you can't help but think of that very scene. As some of you know, I am a FIJI, although not nearly as active as most fraternity members(i.e not really active since '05 or so) and the White House tournament is coming up in April. I haven't ruled out making a run for the title this year!

9) What were the biggest internal changes Briles brought about, and how did they impact the teams attitude/performance.
The most measurable change was the energy and excitement he brought to the program. From day 1 he made it clear that we were about one thing: WINNING!

10) What is your fondest memory of BU football?
This season's rout of A&M in my final home game is the most memorable game to me. Frankly, the relationships I built with my teammates over 3-4 years is something that I treasure just as much. I've lived and shared life with these guys and I already miss them.

11) Describe the growth you saw in Robert Griffin - from a leadership, maturity, and performance standard - from spring drills last year through the end of the season - and where you think he might lead this team in the future.
Robert brings an intensity and business-like approach to the game that I haven't seen in any other freshman in four years. I think that his development as a true dual threat QB over the next few years is going to strike fear into head coaches and coordinators across the country. He's not content with being called a scrambler or running quarterback and I think he's eager to prove his chops as a dangerous pocket-passer along with his apparent gifts when the play breaks down. The sky is the limit for Rob.

12) From your perspective, what is it that sets Baylor apart, and why should the top talent want to play here.
I think that the confluence of being a top academic school, Big 12 athletics and a Christ-first mentality makes Baylor a special place. Talented players want to play with talented players and coaches and for winning teams. A recruit to Baylor University can expect to play for one of the fastest rising teams in the country and in the top Division in the top Conference in the NCAA. In addition, they can expect to receive a unique college experience that will prepare them for life in the 21st century while instilling timeless values and virtues.

13) Which team did you really get up for - in a visceral, want to drive them into the ground and rip out their throats kinda way - and why?
While every game on the schedule was the biggest game of the year, I can say that in my time at Baylor we have developed a legitimate rivalry with the folks in College Station. This game was always special for me due to the fact that the majority of my family are TAMU grads. I'm excited to see where this rivalry goes and I can't wait until the Bears go to Kyle Field next year.....

14) Who were all the ladies that attended the games wearing your number? I assume one was your mother, but there were many others who looked roughly similar. Great, enthusiastic fans. Will be tough to replace - just like Trent Shelton's dad.
The ladies that you saw are my mother and aunts along with my now wife, her friends and mom. I can say that we had a lot of fun over the past four years and it was a pleasure to be able to play in front of my family every Saturday.

15) What are your plans for life after a hopefully long career in the NFL?
I want to play football as long as I can and raise a family with Lauren. Lee Hays always told me that I'd make the perfect pushman for a bobsled so maybe I'll make a run for Olympic Gold at some point as well! Perhaps law school in the future, although I prefer to keep my learning out of the classroom from here on out! I've always been intrigued by politics and current events and eventually I could see myself stepping into that arena, Lord knows we need it now! I'm open to whatever the Lord leads me to do, I just want to make an impact with my life and make it count in a major way.

16)Who are the best up-and-coming receivers (people that didn't play last year but you saw them pratice) for our next season?
Lanear Sampson and Romie Blaylock come to mind, both are very talented and capable of making plays. Also don't forget Mikail Baker (fastest on the team BAR NONE) and Ernest Smith who are NFL talents.

17)Do you think we can replace our tackles on offense and if so, with whom?
Let's be honest, it's going to be hard to replace Smooth and Dan. Both are top notch and Smooth is a legitimate #1 overall pick. The good news is that Hearvey, Griesenbeck and Bradley have spent at least a year learning from Smooth and Dan and will most certainly benefit from another off-season under Kaz. I'm not sure about the recruits that we are bringing in but I do know that Briles won't leave any stone unturned, we will be fine at the tackle position this year.

18)What are two of the best things Coach Briles did this year to make playing at Baylor better?
I have three: Energy, belief and swagger!

19)If you could change anything about the way the program is currently set up, what would it be?
The opening of the new facility goes a long way but I think that an on campus stadium would be unbelievable. I know that this may be decades away from a reality but I know that it would make a measurable difference.

20)Did you feel like you got a quality education at Baylor?
Ya I think I gots a good edumacation! 

21)If you don't get drafted and you had the opportunity to try out for any NFL team you wanted, which one would you choose?
Being from Dallas I have always been a Cowboy fan. I would love to play with a star on my helmet!

Sic 'Em,


Monday, February 23, 2009

Training Montage

Carl did a great job putting this together, hope you enjoy it! The best is yet to come.........


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Preliminary Results

Today I awoke and had a breakfast of berries, bacon and eggs.  This in itself was a mistake, I have been eating a much more carb-heavy breakfast and I felt like my glycogen was a little low during the workout.  After having to navigate around 2 wrecks in 4 miles, we arrived at Athletic Evolution at 3:00.

After my warmup we did vertical jumps on the Jump Mat and I hit a PR of 39.9 inches.  I know, what about that elusive .1 inch!  I ended up jumping this height twice and we moved on to the 40.  We started with some 10 yard starts and proceeded to the 40.  I blew through the 10 yard timing gate at 1.43 on the 2nd or 3rd rep, a PR for sure and only .03 off the fastest time that I am aware of (Chris Johnson ran 1.40 en route to his 4.24 combine record).  Unfortunately we had some malfunctions with the final two gates and will have to determine the 20 and 40 yard times via Dartfish.  I feel fast and I know I'm capable of some big things as the video will confirm.  The next test was the 20 yard shuttle or 5-10-5 as some people call it.  Video timing placed this at a 4.16 which should translate to a 4.00 or so with manual timing.  At this point I was feeling fairly drained from my lack of carbs earlier in the day and I didn't perform as well on the broad jump as I would have liked.  I jumped 10'5'', a distance that is well within my capabilities.  Finally, we concluded the testing with the 225 bench test.  I cranked out 21 reps, a good number of them with the weights on the right side slightly slid out.  I didn't want to use the heavier olympic clips as they add unwanted weight and I figured that the plates would hold.  Without this issue I'm certain that I had 23 reps today.

Final Recap:
VJ:  39.9 inches
10 yard:  1.43
20 yard:  TBD
40 yard:  TBD
Broad Jump:  10'5''
20 yard shuttle:  4.16 (Dartfish)
225 rep max:  21 reps

All in all, I'm pleased with my results from today and I'm glad that we did a run through of the tests before the big dance.  Tomorrow I'll link a YouTube clip of the workout so you can see it with your own eyes.  

I would be lying if I told you that I wasn't upset about not receiving a Combine invite.  It's tough to watch my peers and competition run on that stage without me.  Furthermore, I would have loved the opportunity to go head to head with those guys and compete.  Fortunately for me, Smooth (aka Jason Smith) is getting the attention that he deserves and there will be quite a showing of scouts, coaches and GM's at our Pro Day.  I tell people that when God created a football player, he had Jason Smith in mind.  He's absolutely one of the hardest workers I've ever been around and his intensity is contagious.  If I were a GM I would build a team around a Jason Smith.

I want to thank everyone for their support and prayers, you don't know how much it means to Lauren and I.  I have such a wonderful opportunity in front of me and sharing it with my friends and family makes it all the sweeter.



Thursday, February 19, 2009

On the Home Stretch

Today marks 12 days out from Pro Day!  Currently the plan is to run on the grass fields at the Highers Complex.  Although scouts consider grass to be the slowest surface to run on, I am pleased with this decision and know I'll be ready to perform.

Tuesday I did a pool workout in the morning and an upper body bench session at night.  I hit 345 for a single followed by 225x19 times.  Things are going according to plan and I believe I'll do around 23 reps on Pro Day.  Wednesday morning we woke up early and worked out at Athletic Evolution in Woburn.  Despite being slightly fatigued and not fully awake I managed to jump 37.5 inches in the vertical leap.  All my systems are rounding into form and I'm confident I'll peak March 3rd.

This morning I had more soft-tissue work done.  I can't stress how invaluable this has been for me.  In this business your body is subjected to tremendous loads and forces, sometimes only manual therapy can set things back in the right position.  It's very similar to a tune-up for a performance race car and I'll continue to use these methods for the duration of my career.

Saturday is a big day in our training phase and in the overall big picture for my draft status.  We will be electronically timing a 40 with SPARQ timing gates, doing a vertical jump, a broad jump, shuttle drills and a 225 rep max.  We'll be posting the results on YouTube for the world to see, I have nothing to hide!


Monday, February 16, 2009

I'm Baaaaaaack!

I want to apologize for my absence this past week. Between the rigors of the training week, renting a car and discovering that I can watch this season of 24 online, I haven't had much time!

Where do we begin?  I'll start with a recap of the training week. The structure was very similar to the previous week although the volumes and intensities were both increased. Tuesday was a training session for the ages! Extremely high quality work mixed with an increase in volume, I felt really good! I was bouncing around and having fun during the warmup so I went over to the court and showed these New Englanders that white men can, in fact, jump! The sprints, jumps, throws and lifts were some of the best I've had in quite some time. Training for my bench press has also been going well, I'm actually ahead of schedule in this regard. On Friday I crushed 285 for 3x3, outpacing Carl's precise extrapolations. Saturday's workout was , yet again, dynamite! While I didn't have the same level of spring and elasticity that I felt on Tuesday, I still put together a very good string of runs out to 30 yards.  After this we did some unweighted jump squats and snatches. After all this I decided I wanted to measure my broad jump, being fatigued both from the long training week and the preceding workout I still consistently jumped in the 10'3 range and lost my balance on a 10'6 jump. We haven't even worked on the technique yet so I'm confident that I'll be in the 11 foot range shortly! The 40 is really coming together and I'm cementing and actualizing some very good habits. We are projecting some very fast times that will turn some heads. So long as we don't run on the quicksand, oops I meant field, at Floyd Casey I think my performance will place me among the fastest receivers in this year's draft.

A lot of fond memories playing here.  Unfortunately the surface is about as fast as running in the shallow end of the pool!

While on the topic of sand I must pay homage to the Top Gun volleyball scene and the movie in general (I had to dominate Carl and the rest of the yanks up here on Top Gun trivia the other day). One of the most quotable movies ever in my opinion and I often feel like Iceman on the volleyball court, especially the time that Jon and I crushed Brennan and Craig in Panama City in 2005. After repeated insults from the "Under 6'0 and 200 lbs. Club" about me and Jon's finesse and agility, we proceeded to win 7 or 8 games in a row. I can't remember if we let them win one for charity or not? Another notorious event occurred at FIJI Crawfish this past April. After racing out to a 10-1 lead on the heavy favorites of the tournament by inflicting several Spalding tattoos on their foreheads, we watched that lead evaporate as we got cheated worse than the Mavericks in the 2006 Finals. I think they had more carries than Adrian Peterson in a playoff game. In fact this incensed me so much that I haven't ruled out the possibility of coming out of retirement for the 2009 event and taking the title!

A good Pro Day and I'll be telling people that "the plaque for the alternates is down in the ladies' room!"

Lauren got into Boston on Friday and we spent the weekend together. Friday night we went to a Flamenco concert, ole!  I'm a big fan of classical guitar, especially Paco de Lucia, John McLaughlin and Jesse Cook.  I didn't know it but they also have a guy singing during the dance and he sounded a lot like the Gypsy Kings, "Bamboleo"!  It was a fun experience and Carl was gracious to include us. We did some sightseeing the next two days and enjoyed each other. She's such a great companion and wife, I thank God for her everyday!

Now I must admit something that is rather humiliating for a man like me........ Boston's maze of streets downtown reduced me from my typical Magellan-like sense of direction and navigational skills to Clark Griswold (a.k.a Mitch Knicely) from European Vacation. Remember the scene where he couldn't figure out the roundabout in London and spent hours driving in circles, "Look honey, Big Ben and Parliament!"? Well that was yours truly driving around the Boston Common! I kept trying to find Paul Revere's house and the Old North Church but for some reason every street I took dumped me back onto the same circuit around the Boston Common! The one time I managed to get out we ended up in East Boston on the other side of the river, I felt like we were in "The Departed" or something! Keep in mind that I had no navigational instruments or directions so I wasn't a complete fool.......... Finally being bested by the road, we stopped for a snack and tea at Tealuxe on Newbury Street. Apparently this is kind of like the Uptown area, Back Bay. Finally I had to take Lauren to the airport and say goodbye, I hate to see her go but in two short weeks we'll be back together again!

Clark after "killing" Dinky the dog!

I've been watching 24 on and I must say that this is the best season I've seen thus far! I can't wait to see the next episode tonight! I really hope that our real agents act a little more like Jack Bauer than the guys shown at the FBI on the show.

This training week is critical, we have a mock combine on Saturday with SPARQ testing implements. Look for some big numbers. I'm excited about my progress and once again, I'm sorry about this past week. I'll keep everyone up to speed with my movements this week!

Carl quoting Viper, in reference to a recent workout:  "We gotta push it, it's our job!"