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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

June 28, 2007 at 1:23 PM

Trent Greener Q-and-A

A lot of you had asked for an interview with Trent Greener, Washington’s strength and conditioning coach. And we try to please, so here it is.
One caveat, however. Greener either has always been pretty close-to-the-vest with information, or has been well-schooled by Tyrone Willingham, so there aren’t a lot of specifics forthcoming, such as which player has the best bench press, or which players are making massive improvement in the weight room, etc.
That’s not to say Greener isn’t very accomodating. He was more than happy to answer questions and quite gracious with his time. But he said he likes to keep specific information on players in-house as much as he can (the reasons for which will be addressed in the interview).
He also professed not to have read any stories that raised questions about certain players’ conditioning status, or want to comment on anything that might or might not have happened before he came here. So for that reason, I’m editing this Q-and-A a little differently than ones in the past since there were a few questions that were simply be asking the question and Greener telling me why he couldn’t or wouldn’t answer it.
Again, however, I want to say he was more than gracious and accomodating and polite. Just pointing out that some of the things you guys wanted to know, they aren’t really willing to tell.
That said, here’s some quick background on Greener (whose bio can also be found here):
He’s entering his third football season with UW, having arrived just prior to the 2005 season. Before that, he held a similar position at Oregon State for six years, arriving in 1999 along with Dennis Erickson, who had been his college coach for a season at Wyoming, where Greener was a defensive lineman.
He graduated from Wyoming in 1990 and worked at Purdue, Northern Illinois and Wyoming before moving to Oregon State, so he has, roughly, 17 years of experience in the strength and conditioning field.
Finally, then, Greener’s answers.
Question: How do you feel like your program is evolving now that you are entering your third year at UW?
Answer: “I think we’ve had a lot of good response. When I came here there had been a lot of change within the program…. But I think guys have been very responsive in a positive way and we’ve seen a lot of good work getting done and it’s just only gotten better and better every day. We’ve pushed each other and tried to make this area of the program competitive, and that goes hand in hand with everything that Coach Willingham talks about.
Everybody has some different things that they do for their own reasons and it always takes time to get things implemented, and there are building blocks you have to put in place. But I think we’ve had a lot of success with that, and the guys have been great. The guys have kind of bought into just coming in here every day and competing and working hard and pushing themselves.
Question: How is the turnout for off-season conditioning work?
Answer: This is our second full summer with them and we’ve got guys who are very committed and they’ve got the program in their best interests and they are working hard to represent this place. As the program continues to grow under coach (Willingham’s) direction, there’s a better understanding of what to do and when to do it and how it needs to be done and knowing that he wants it that way every time. It gets easier because guys just understand when they have to do this, this and this.
Question: Can you talk about your overall philosophy and maybe what distinguishes it from other strength and conditioning coaches?
Answer: We’re performance-oriented — that’s the bottom line. There are a lot of different ways to do some things. I think I’ve got a plan in place that I’ve been working on for a while now. It’s no different than having an offensive philosophy or a defensive philosophy. But the basic tenent is just to come in and work hard at whatever we are going to do that day.
But training is training.
I would bet if you went across the country and went to a lot of different places, some might have a few more pieces of equipment or something, but I would bet you would see a lot of the same stuff. There’s a reason a lot of these rooms look the same.
We went and visited a couple of places last year with some of the guys on our staff, talked to people all across the country and from every major conference across the nation, and people tend to hang their hat on some bacis things. A bar is a bar and you’ve got to push it and pull it and put it on your back and squat it.
Question: What did you think of the team’s overall condition last season?
Answer: I thought we were okay. I can tell you that our practice and our tempo in practice is very energetic, and we work very hard in practice. The way we do things, if you are out there every day, then you are in shape, you are going to be in game-playing condition.
My general feeling is that you can take guys up to being about 85 percent of game condition in the things we do (in terms of the strength and conditioning staff). But that last 10-15 percent, I think that comes through the tempo of practice and taking a lot of reps because there is really no way you can simulate or emulate the energy demanded of getting in a three-point stance and putting two young men a foot or two away from each other and running them into each other.
We can get those guys to where they can do the practice schedule and be injury-free, but they get themselves to that nth degree by playing football.
Question: You mentioned injuries. In general, it seems like the team hasn’t had as many of the nagging-type injuries the last year or so. Is that a result of something you guys are doing?
Answer: So much of football is cyclical. In talking with coach (Willingham), he’s seen it at every level. He understands that sometimes it seems like you don’t see something like high ankle sprains all season and then suddenly you see three or four in a couple of weeks. …
One of the big things is that you don’t want to create ongoing problems. You want to be preventative and still kind of push the envelope and I think our constant communication and putting a plan in place and communicating with our guys, it’s a good fit there.
Question: Do you have some ideal weights for certain positions?
Answer: Not really, because just the body types are so different if you look across the board. We just want guys to be able to be strong and quick and explosive and be able to run and do it 60 times a game. If they are big and strong and they can’t move, that doesn’t help. It doesn’t help if they can run all day but they are little.
One of the things that’s great about our program is that we have constant communication and we are always talking about personnel and how each guy’s body weight is. As guys grow into their bodies, maybe they move around (by position) and that goes into our constant communication. One of the great things about spring is we can push guys in the winter program and maybe get them to a point where they can go into spring football and maybe they will play at a heavier weight and get a chance to see what that feels like to play heavier.
Question: Speaking of the spring, a lot was made of the condition of the offensive line in the spring. What are your thoughts on that?
Answer: I think if those guys can carry their weight and they can move and do the things that coach (Mike) Denbrock wants them to do, then okay. If we aren’t getting those things done and if we need to make changes, then we address those. Each guy, we evaluated them and talked to them and give them goals and they are working toward those goals. Those guys are constantly being evaluated by our staff to see where we need to be.
Question: How do you anticipate attendance being this summer?
Answer: Well, we can’t take reports on that stuff (due to NCAA rules on voluntary summer workouts), but overall, this program has grown tremendously and the commitment I see every day walking into this room has been tremendous. I see these guys come in here every day and work their tails off. They know the opponents on the schedule this year, so these guys are coming in and working hard, and I’ve seen great leadership from some of our older guys and some of the younger guys now, too.
Question: Can you mention who some of those great leaders are?
Answer: Roy Lewis comes in there and he’s just like another coach. He’s been a tremendous asset and he pushes guys and lets you know if you are not getting it done. Jordan Reffett is that kind of a guy, and Dan Howell is about as consistent as a guy can be when talking about effort and getting guys moving. Daniel Te’o-Nesheim is a guy who comes in here every day working his tail off, and Chris Stevens. Juan Garcia has been great — he just comes in every and gets his business done. Greyson Gunheim does a lot of great things. We’ve had some of the younger guys do some great things, too. Jake Locker has just continued to improve physically, and Paul Homer has come along and had some good results.
We had a good spring and a good winter program and it’s a complement to them. We put a lot of new numbers on the record board.
Question: You mentioned setting some new records in the weight room. Why are you guys reluctant to share those with us?
Answer: We just don’t give them out, and I don’t know a lot of schools that do. Some of them that do give them out, it’s like that old commercial — is it real or is it Memorex? People don’t necessarily understand what the validity and the reliability of those numbers might be, much less what the test is. Maybe they did it on one rep. Maybe they took three reps and project it out. You don’t know. So we’ve just always felt like it’s better kept in-house. If the players want to share those, that’s fine. But we feel it’s a better situation for us to keep those with us, and we share it with each other and the athletes and in motivating them. And the NFL guys are going to come in and take their own numbers, anyway, so they don’t really need our numbers.
Question: You mentioned earlier, sometimes guys play bigger in the spring than maybe they would at other times. Can you elaborate on that?
Answer: Some guys want to grow, and maybe we know he can play at 210 pounds, but when he’s 220 pounds, things maybe move a litttle differently. And some guys just naturally grow into it. So we might want to find out what if feels like to play now at 220 pounds rather than 210. If it doesn’t feel good, spring is a good time to find that out. You never want to line up against a guy and say ‘gosh, I wish I was a step quicker. I wish I would lose weight.’
Question: How much time to you spend on weight work vs. speed work?
Answer: That’s a good question, and the percentages shift based on where we are (in relation to the season). In the winter, we spend more time in the weight room, though we’ll have some running, some speed development. But the amount of running changes through the course of the program, and by the time you get into July, you are probably doing 50-50 running and what you would say is strength training. By then, it’s just as much getting the body physically acclimated to the rigors of playing football.



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