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!"


Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Sorry I haven't posted in a few days! I'll give a recap either tonight after training or tomorrow morning. Stay posted!


Friday, February 6, 2009

Sowing and Reaping

In today's society everything seems to be about instant gratification and excitement rather than principled growth and sacrifice.  Training is no different.  Everyone loves to do the sexy exercises and the latest program.  Very few people are willing to put in the work behind closed doors when no one is watching.  Even fewer are willing to endure the pain and sacrifice necessary to become a champion.  Galatians 6:7 tells us "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap."  I have applied this very directly to my time in Boston and I believe that I will reap a great harvest from the seeds of hard work and a sense of delayed gratification.  What a timeless lesson!  I believe Jesus spoke in parables because it hit directly at the heart of the issue, the analogy of a farmer sowing seed with the faith that those seeds would produce a harvest is a universally understood concept.  I have found in everything I have done in my 22 years on earth, preparation is vital to success.  Every game, every test, every speech's success is directly tied to the level of preparation (sowing).  To go one step further, I believe it is impossible to live an effective Christian life without preparation, spending time with Jesus.  Just as victories on the field in October are won at 6 AM in January and on a 110 degree field in July, victories in life are won in those quiet hours of prayer and meditation with the Lord.  

If I lost some of you along the way, bear with me.  Those of you who know me, know that I can talk for hours at a time when such clarity presents itself.  In my mind I tend to look for trends, as I believe that many of these are explained in the Bible.  Lately with the confluence of troubles in the economy, being a newlywed and training for the NFL, I have seen the law of sowing and reaping very evidently.  With our economic troubles it seems like no one is willing to realize that we have reaped the harvest of greed and living beyond our means (obviously this is an oversimplification and many innocent, hard-working Americans have been affected regardless of their level of involvement), even with this bailout it seems that the concept of saving, living wisely and being a good financial steward is lost.  We would be much better off if we were willing to take our medicine, I pray that this bailout doesn't turn into a case of the operation being a success but the patient dying.  In my own life I have seen the temptation to live large and in the moment as a newlywed rather than driving down deep roots and foundations for our future.  A very wise man, Byron Weathersbee, advised me to remember the concept of "delayed gratification" when starting out as a newlywed.  In this case, sowing early results in a bigger harvest down the road.  Finally, I have seen this law at work in the game of football.  In the last five years I have spent countless winter mornings getting up from my warm bed at 5:30 and driving to Floyd Casey, the stadium lights being the most prominent sight in the darkness before the dawn.  

I could go on indefinitely on this topic but the point is that I am very blessed to even be able to be in the position to work towards this goal of playing in the NFL.  For some reason I have not always been credited or utilized to the level of my abilities.  It didn't make sense to me why I was not heavily recruited out of high school but I never questioned myself or felt victimized, I just worked.  Now that I find myself in a similar situation I realize that I will once again have to work to be recognized for the abilities and talents that I know I possess, I wouldn't have it any other way.  God will have all of the glory from my success, He is with me and I know I won't be ashamed.

Now onto today's training!

Bench Press- 8x135, 6x185, 6x225, 4x245, 2x275, 1x295, 1x315, 17x225

This was a good workout, I haven't benched heavy since the summer but was pleased to find my strength intact.  315 shot up pretty easily and I would estimate that my max is somewhere around 340-350 right now.  The heavier work did dampen some of my elastic response so the 17 reps at 225 is down from what it would be if I set up the workout around it (20-21 reps most likely).  The good news is that I am ahead of schedule in this area as Carl projected 16 reps following the heavier lifts.

After the workout, we went to eat dinner with Carl's friends Glen and Karen.  The food was exceptional and the pre dinner rock concert from their young boys was awesome.  We spent hours after dinner discussing current affairs, political theories, American history and faith.  The conversation was very entertaining and stimulating.  Such conversations and debates are always fun for me because I get to articulate my beliefs and try to relate them to others.  Overall a great night.  Thanks Glen and Karen!

Tomorrow is a big day with sprints, heavy lifts and the Boston Indoor Games at night.  I'm excited to see some speed on the track and if there is an open lane, White Chocolate would be more than willing to make an appearance!

Until Next Time,


Courage Under Fire

While I must admit that I have never seen the aforementioned movie, I'm sure it's quite good as I am a big Denzel fan "my man...", I found this to be an appropriate title for last night's workout and this entry.

After a day of napping and eating, tough life huh?, I went with Carl to Reggie Lewis for a low volume sprint session.  My perceived readiness for this workout was much better than on Tuesday, probably about a 7.5 on a scale of 10.  We started with an escalating warmup to get a nice lather before moving to the workout of 3x5's and 5x10's.  While the volume was quite low, it also dictated that each rep's importance was very high.

At the outset I continued to make some errors, lifting more than pushing.  Carl kept cuing me to "commit to the push!"  Obviously a 38.5 inch vertical and a 150 kg clean is rather worthless coming out of the start if you don't fully utilize the push.  I had mixed success throughout the runs but reps 1-4 of the 10's left much to be desired.  In response, Carl turned up the heat and put a lot of pressure on the last rep........


Things finally came together as I was able to emphasize full, powerful strokes behind me, violent arm action, all while maintaining the anterior pelvic tilt which is very advantageous to fast acceleration.  And you thought sprinting was just "run fast, turn left!"  Carl was visibly excited about this last rep and numerous coaches and athletes confirmed this by coming to him and making positive remarks.  If I can continue to replicate those start mechanics, we will see something special in about a month!

More importantly, I came through when it counted.  Running a 4.2 or 4.3 is an impressive feat but it takes courage and composure to perform like that when it counts.  I pride myself on being a guy that wants the ball in his hands when the game is on the line and performing under pressure on March 3rd is no different.  

Following the sprint work we went to the gym and did a low volume leg workout to get the prime movers working in the right positions.  The workout:
Thoracic spine stretch on physioball with medball
Band Lat Stretch
Snatch Med ball throws- Static x6, Dynamic x6, Dynamic w/ 1 hop x6
Snatch- 4x3 w/70 kgs (weight was booming up, emphasis on proper pelvic and spine alignment and explosive 2nd pull)
Reverse lunge- 1x6 w/60 lbs. dumbbells
Side lunge/squat- 1x6 w/ 25 lbs. dumbbells
Step up- 1x6 w/60 lbs. dumbbells

Weight: 212 in shoes before dinner

This workout felt good, my muscles were firing strong and in proper sequence.  The big workout is Saturday with high volume/high intensity sprints and heavy cleans and squats.  I'm looking to execute properly on that day and I know the numbers will follow.  As maddening as it sounds, I find that to run fast you need to be patient and follow through with the race plan from the position you are in, rather than trying to rush to another phase.  It kind of reminds me of the feeling I got during my 75 yard TD my junior year at Oklahoma, in the midst of all that chaos I felt that the endzone was closing in and coming to me rather than me chasing it.  On March 3rd I won't chase the line, I'll execute and it will come to me........FAST!

As I've been writing this I've been listening to one of my all-time favorite groups, The Isley Brothers.  Their work has really stood the test of time, I find myself forgetting that it is even on sometimes with their hypnotizing-like smoothness.  "Make Me Say It Again", "Groove With You", "For the Love of You", "Who's That Lady?" etc., all classics.  Throw in some choice cuts from the Gap Band, Al Green and Bill Withers and you have a "Quiet Storm" mix that is unmatched by the current trends in R&B and soul.  Try it, the advice is on the house!

In a similar vein, let me share a favorite of Main Street in the BU locker room (a.k.a lockers 1-9).  This clip from the movie "The Five Heartbeats" has rarely been performed better than by Jeremy "J-Will" Williams and Mikail Baker (performing his famous move from the JabbaWockeeZ Michael Jackson tribute)  with assistance from Marlon Price.  "It takes more than buiiiiiild it up!"  
Also, I want you to notice the uncanny resemblance between David Gettis and Leon from this clip!

Until next time,


Thursday, February 5, 2009

On the Grind

No this post is not about a wittily named coffee shop and no I haven't converted to the dark side; posting blogs while sipping a latte at Common Grounds!  Instead it refers to the state of mind I've been in, keeping my head to the grindstone.  We've entered a phase in which progress comes at the expense of hard work and intelligent planning rather than trimming the fat off technique and setups.  Sometimes you have to take a step back to take two steps forward.  

The workout on Tuesday was interesting.  While I showed up at Reggie Lewis fully prepared for a dynamite workout, the warmup revealed that I simply didn't have my "A" game.  The fact is that I was just flat.  Call it CNS fatigue, muscular fatigue or whatever; I just didn't have it.  This is where I made a big mistake.  Rather than accepting that I wasn't going to be setting any PR's and simply focusing on execution, I tried to ram a square peg in a round hole and "force" performance.  If you know anything about sprinting, the best performances are directly correlated with relaxation and often feel easy.  I was especially frustrated because my last session on Saturday was fantastic and I fully expected Tuesday to be just as good.  Carl was quick to assure me that this fatigue was normal and told me to focus on execution.  I should be able to show up on March 3rd in any circumstance and execute my race plan, my worst day should be better than other's best days.  As I've often observed in my walk with the Lord, feelings can be deceiving and do not always represent truth.  This situation is no different, no matter how I feel I can execute my plan and expect results.  After finishing up at Reggie, we went to excel for some technical snatches.  I did 4x3 with 60kg and my technique and bar speed were very good.

Last night we had a pool session that was both therapeutic and effective training.  We went to the deep end and did unloaded movements.  Moving around and fluttering with the grace of a synchronized swim team, even if that team is the caddies in the pool from Caddyshack!  Doodie!

David Dancer circa 2060!

After the pool workout, Carl and I went to Panera Bread.  While I typically insult those who go to places for a soup, salad and sandwich (sorry Craig and Brooks!); I must say that the Chipotle Chicken Sandwich was actually quite good and I think I'll be back for another.

Currently I'm watching Las Vegas, the basketball episode, and having some breakfast.  Tonight's workout should be another sprint session and I'm ready to put in some good work.  

On another front, after I proclaimed winter to be at it's end following a near brush with 50 degrees on Monday, Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog decided otherwise!  I don't think we have gone above freezing since my proclamation and it snowed all day on Tuesday!  Even our beloved Naples experienced freezing temperatures this week, take that Al Gore!

Thanks Phil!

God Bless,


Monday, February 2, 2009

No Limits!

This morning I woke up and went to Woburn for more soft-tissue work and massage.  Each session seems to build on the next and I've learned that soft-tissue work is an invaluable element necessary for top performance.  The results have been nothing less than extraordinary and my body feels great!  

I got back to the house around 11:30 and had lunch while watching Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations in Mexico, love this show!  After lunch I decided that I would take a nap, so I went to my room, grabbed my sleep mask and turned on Spa Radio Pandora on my iPhone.  It felt so good to nap and I slept for around 3-4 hours.  Feeling refreshed, I got up and took a long shower and finished with a long cold splash.  I find that it quickens the body and excites the CNS (Central Nervous System), perfect for preparing for the weight session that would follow.  

Tonight's workout was an upper body day with a focus on volume and core strength.  Listed below is what I did tonight:

A1. Plank w/foot raises- 3x20
A2. Deadbugs- 3x5
A3. Oblique side bend- 3x8
B1. Bubkas 3x8
B2. Pushup on bosu 3x10
B3. Landmines 3x10 w/ 45 lbs.
C1. Bar Rollout- 3x6
C2. Oblique Pulldown- 3x8
C3. Suspended Plank on physioball with arm circles- 3x5

After this core/spinal engine series we started the meat of the workout:

A1. DB Bench- 4x8 w/100 lbs.
A2. Weighted Pullup to upper chest- 1x6 w/45 lbs., 3x6 w/35 lbs.
B. Pushup on handles- 3x20
C. Seated row- 3x10 w/150 lbs.

At the end of this session Carl massaged my quads and hamstrings for over half an hour, making sure that my legs were primed for sprinting tomorrow.  

For dinner I had curried lamb with coconut rice.  It was delicious and reminded me of an excellent meal of Lamb Tikka I had in Windsor, England about 10 years ago.  The flavors were so rich and pronounced, a very well prepared dish!

My body is starting to really respond to the training, I'm visibly leaner than I was when I arrived and I weighed in at 208 after the workout before eating dinner.  The most I've ever weighed is 213 and I still felt explosive at that weight.  While weight isn't a major concern with our training, I'm heavy enough right now, I'd like to show up in the 210-215 range.  I'm a firm believer in maxing out ones abilities in every area, I'm looking to be as big, fast and strong as possible.  More than that, I'm looking to shock the world on March 3rd.  I'm confident in my abilities and can't wait to put them on display for the scouts.  I'm blessed to have such a great support staff up here, not to mention my family and friends back home.  I can't tell you how excited I am about training the next few weeks and the results that will follow.  No Limits !

As I said earlier, tomorrow is another high intensity sprint day and I'm still working on "perfecting my craft" (as my good friend and former teammate Mikail says).  I'll check in tomorrow and provide an update on that session.

God Bless,


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Baby Come Back!

Whew!  What a weekend!  I had an absolutely wonderful time with the wife, she seems to make everything better when she's around.  Food tastes better, the sun seems to shine brighter, and life is all the more sweeter!  

You'll have to bear with me on this entry as I haven't blogged since Thursday.  So if this starts to look more like "War and Peace" than a blog entry, my apologies!


I woke up early to go to Woburn for more massage and soft-tissue work, as usual the treatment was fantastic!  After a snack and a nap, I went to Excel to do my workout for the day.  Usually I would have waited till late afternoon to lift but Lauren's flight was landing at 3:00 P.M so I wanted to be done by the time she arrived.  The emphasis was on the bench press today and Merlin..... sorry I mean Carl, found a way to structure it perfectly.  Heres the workout:
Physioball Walkouts- 3x6
Pushups (bosu ball) 2x10
A1. Oblique Pulldowns- 4x8 w/40 lbs
A2. Pallof Press 4x5 w/50 lbs
A3. Landmines 4x5 w/45 lbs.
B. Bench Press:
2x12 w/135 lbs.
2x8 w/225 lbs.
2x5 w/245 lbs.
4x3 w/275 lbs.
C. Chest-supported Row 1x10 w/45 lbs., 4x5 w/90 lbs.

As I said earlier, Carl calculated the sets, weights and reps in such a way that the final rep of the final set of 275 was an absolute grind!  It always feels good to get a solid upper body day in, or as Craig puts it "full body but no legs!"  

Almost as soon as I finished my post-workout shake, Lauren came running through the door!  It was so good to see her and I was proud to introduce her to everyone in the gym.  After a quick change and fighting off numerous yankee insults about the very stylish boots I was sporting ("Hey Tex, when you get to the league we need to get you a stylist!"), we were off to downtown Boston for dinner. 

On the way there I noticed a few things:
1. The seats in the Pontiac G6 are absolutely the most uncomfortable seats I have ever sat in!  I kept shifting and adjusting the seat but I couldn't find any relief.
2. Once you approach downtown Boston a strange thing happens; the roads go underground!  Much to my dismay, my beautiful view of the Boston skyline soon turned into a labyrinth of converging roads and exits!  The next thing I knew, the skyline was BEHIND me!
3. I don't think I've ever paid as much in tolls as I did driving the Mass. Turnpike!  After the final toll booth, I kept checking my side and rear-view mirrors for Little John from Sherwood Forest, he probably wanted a share too!

"A toll is a toll and a roll is a roll........." (I actually prefer "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" with Kevin Costner to "Men in Tights" but the bridge scene in Men in Tights is hilarious!)

At the suggestion of John Sullivan, co-owner of Excel, we ate at the historic Union Oyster House.  The Oyster House is the oldest restaurant in Boston and the oldest restaurant in continuous service in the U.S.  Being very nostalgic and a student of history, I absolutely loved this place!

 I started out with the Clam Chowder which was brilliant, then they brought me the Cold Seafood Sampler with shrimp, oysters and cherrystones.  For the main course I had the broiled seafood platter with salmon, shrimp, scallops, scrod and swordfish with new potatoes and cornbread.  C'est magnifique!  Something about being in downtown Boston was very special, while I regret that landfill has changed the geography of the city in modern times, it exciting to know that I was walking the same streets as the Sons of Liberty and standing on the same soil that great patriots of old fought and bled on in the infancy of our great country.  I got the feeling that we are "standing on the shoulders of giants" as they say, great men who paved the way for liberty and freedom as we know it.  

After this great dinner, we went back to the Hilton in Woburn and got some rest as I had a big training session on Saturday.  In a great city with my great wife, and life..... well it's great too!


We meant to wake up and hit the Freedom Trail in the morning but with the mercury cresting at a chilly 26 degrees, we decided to sleep in!  After a meal at the mall in Woburn, we went over to Athletic Evolution in Woburn, another great facility, to do some sprinting and lifting.  After a warmup, Carl had me do some 12 lbs. med ball tosses.  Maybe I was just showing off for Lauren but I hit the roof of the place numerous times with my throws, even from a static start.  Carl said this was the first time he had seen somebody do that, including his past NFL clients.  After 20 or 25 throws, we ran a lot of 10 yard sprints.  I'm starting to cement some good habits at the start and as a result we were able to start using a more aggressive angle out of the start and I'm really excited about the implications of this!  A good start is basically a controlled fall and the soreness in my quads the following day was an indicator that I was getting into some aggressive acceleration angles.  When we moved the distance out to 20 yards I had a few issues with my transition but these can be solved by doing things correctly from step one.  Towards the end of the hour long sprinting session, I started to put together some solid runs.  Exciting stuff!  At the first sign of the quality of the sprints starting to deteriorate, we moved to the platform for cleans.  The progression is listed below:
3x3 w/185 lbs.
3x2 w/225 lbs.
2x2 w/245 lbs.
2x1 w/265 lbs.

The sprints depleted my high threshold fibers and motor units so these cleans we're not nearly as easy as they would normally be.  As a result I had to focus a lot on form and technique, I find that the cue of "getting tall" after the second pull is especially effective for me.  After the workout, I drank a delicious Cytofuse recovery drink and went back to the Hilton to shower and get ready to go to Plymouth to see Lauren's Aunt Beverly and Uncle Ed.

The drive was about an hour long to Plymouth and to my great surprise took us on the Old Sandwich Road, the oldest continuously operated road in the U.S!  It was pitch black on the road, I'm sure of this because I turned off the headlights intermittently in search of the authentic Pilgrim experience!

 I remarked to Lauren that woods here have a history and a character of their own, I wonder if somewhere down the line my great-great-great-great-great grandfather walked these rugged woods in the outpost that was North America.  Ed and Beverly's home was charming, nestled right in the woods in Plymouth, no more than half a mile from the Atlantic Ocean.  We had a great time at dinner and I spent a good deal of time talking about the area and New England in general with Ed and his son Ryan.  It was so good to spend time with family and fellowship together.  The older I get, I'm only 22, the more I realize that it's relationships with family and friends, not to mention with Jesus, that make life rich and sweet.  I've been blessed abundantly in this area and I plan on cultivating and maintaining these relationships for the rest of my life.


Yet again, me and the Mrs. slept in!  Not to say that I'm complaining, I love sleeping and I love waking up to her pretty face every morning!  We finally got going and drove to Concord to have brunch at the Colonial Inn (Est. 1716).  After lunch we went about 600 yards down the road to the North Bridge,  site of the opening engagement of the American Revolution.  This is a very special site, I stood on the same ground that marked the beginning of our independence!  Admittedly, such a scene reduced me to acting like a little boy and shooting my air musket across the bridge to the side where the British regulars stood, complete with sound effects and all!  My imagination was running wild trying to picture the exact sights and sounds of that morning on April 19, 1775.  Engraved on the statue of the minuteman which stands yards from the shore, is four stanzas from Emerson's "Concord Hymn":
"By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world."

Before heading to the airport, we drove through Lexington to see the Battle Green, the site of the first shots of the Revolution.  Unfortunately it looked a lot more like the "Battle White" today as snow blanketed the ground.  However we did get to see the monument which was erected over 200 years ago.  Engraved were inspirational words that were very moving.  After today my patriotic fervor is very high!  I'm proud to be an American!

Unfortunately, such a wonderful day ended in me having to take Lauren to the airport to head back to Dallas.  We always hate saying goodbye and this time was no different.  I had a great time with her this weekend, I love experiencing and exploring new places with her!  I absolutely love doing life with her, what a companion!

After saying goodbye, Carl picked me up at Logan and we went and watched one of the craziest Super Bowl's I have ever seen!  I was pulling for the underdog (Cardinals) all game long but the Steelers showed the heart of a champion on that final drive.  Congratulations to my former teammate Daniel Sepulveda!  Two years into the league and he's already sporting the hardware!  For the rest of his life he can say that he was a Super Bowl Champion, what an honor!  Hopefully when I hang up my cleats for good I can say the same thing.......

Tomorrow is more soft-tissue and massage work followed by some upper body work.

God Bless,