LSU football returned to the weight room a week ago and the man that's responsible for getting the players back in shape went on the radio to break it all down on Monday morning.
In an appearance on "Off the Bench," strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt was surprised at just how good a shape his players returned in last week.
"Week one was phenomenal, the effort, the attitude was great and we're fired up," Moffitt said. "The bigger groups always have more enthusiasm but I think it was just a combination of the guys just being excited about being back and finally having something to train with that made a difference. It went surprisingly well."
Because of the heavy restrictions enacted by not only the NCAA or the SEC but the school as well, weight sessions consist of just a 20 player max. Each player gets his own individual weight rack in an effort to practice safe social distancing.
Moffitt said if the team were to run the conditioning test they run every year before practice begins, he guessed that approximately 80-85 players would pass. It’s a testament to the culture that Orgeron is building in Baton Rouge, and isn’t going unnoticed by his coaching staff.
"If we were to run the conditioning test right now, we'd have 80 to 85 guys pass," Moffitt said. "I just saw Austin Deculus walk out and if he took the conditioning test today, he'd do better than each of the last three years he's been here. He came back in that good a shape.
"It's that other 15-20% that we'll have to worry about but it's all about the culture. You recruit guys that are going to do what they're supposed to do and they do it."
Summer workouts are usually the first taste and a bit of a wake up call for the true freshmen that are on the campus for the first time. While LSU did welcome eight early enrollees back in January, the other 14 members of the class didn't enroll until the first week of June.
Moffitt said the freshmen that are just arriving to campus still have a little ways to go as they weren't a part of the meetings that helped some of the more veteran players keep to a solid workout regimen.
"It's limited right now especially because a lot of these guys didn't have access to stuff and didn't have those meetings to go over the alternative workouts. We've got a ways to go with that group," Moffitt said. "Some really good athletes but we certainly have our work cut out for us as far as getting them ready for training camp."
The NCAA Division I Council is expected to officially pass the six-week preseason plan this week, beginning on July 24 with walkthrough practices followed by a preseason camp starting Aug. 7. Moffitt believes that window, which is a little over five weeks from now, gives him and the training staff sufficient time to get all of the players in practice shape.
"They're running really good now, everything's going well," Moffitt said. "Time is not the problem, it's just organization and making sure everybody stays well. Making sure you're where you're supposed to be and when you're supposed to be there. As soon as we're given the green light to do more stuff, we'll do more stuff but right now we're doing what we can."
The training staff isn't diving into big training tests because the players have been away for so long. Instead, the staff spent the first week devising "mini-tests" to better gauge where the players are at.
Moffitt mentioned the use of Perch technology, which is how the staff monitors the velocity-based training of each LSU football player. Velocity-based training is exactly what it sounds like, a method of training based on how fast an athlete moves a certain weight as opposed to how much weight is actually on the rack.
Technology like Perch allows coaches and athletes to determine the speed of movement in real time and adjust the weight or exercise accordingly.
"For instance the first warmup we did, we did 20 sit-ups and believe it or not 20 sit-ups can be tough for someone who sat on the couch all summer," Moffitt said. "So there's all types of little tests built in. Using the velocity-based system we have, Perch, we knew all of the sets and all of the reps and all of the velocities the guys were doing before we left."
"Let's say I did a set of squats at 240 pounds and I did it at .85 meters per second. When the guys came back, we wanted them to be able to take that same weight combination at a light weight, and do it for the same reps at the same velocity that they were doing it in March, before we broke and that would tell us where they are. We're using the technology we have to our advantage to make sure everybody's doing what they're supposed to do."