“Coach O is serious. Everything he does is serious. It’s not a game… his program is serious. I’m gonna put it that way. I’m gonna leave it alone before he gets me.” – Florida State defensive lineman Brian Burns.
There are numerous correlations between an effective football coach and my favorite movie. “The Godfather.”
Orders are dictated through the chain of command. You’ve got to have your consiglieres (both coordinators) and your capos, but no one is more important than your enforcer. Your Luca Brasi.
Luca Brasi was greatly feared in the book, “The Godfather,” and that fear is hinted at in the movie as well – the mere mention of his name straightened up folks who didn’t act right.
Well, a simplification of the role of a strength and conditioning coach for a college football team is that you’ve got to be a relateable Luca Brasi. Your job is what makes the organization run as you make sure everyone is in proper order.
Insert FSU football’s new strength coach Irele Oderinde. Coach O’s presence is felt inside the weight room. He’s one of the first coaches I wanted to meet. As a performance coach myself by trade, this is the coach who excites me the most because he’s probably the most important coach on the staff. He’s in charge of making sure the players are strong enough, fast enough, durable enough and mentally tough enough to be able to run an uptempo offense and maintain a physical edge all while staying healthy over a potentially 15 game season.
This is a paradigm shift in the philosophy that Jimbo Fisher had which was a slower pace. That slower pace was reflected in the training program of former S&C coach Vic Viloria. This isn’t saying that Viloria’s program wasn’t good, but that I saw flaws in it, the most important one being guys just didn’t buy into the program anymore.
I remember the Twitter exchange between Bobby Hart and Jacobbi McDaniel last summer about the program. It wsn’t the most pleasant and revealed that players had lost faith in it.
The S&C coach is also in charge of discipline, and after Viloria’s DUI, that made rules tough to enforce. The program needed a new accountability bearer.
Coach O has been with Willie Taggart since Western Kentucky. Some FSU fans were worried when they learned Oderinde was suspended for a month early in his tenure at Oregon for workouts that the administration there deemed too strenuous. These workouts sent three Duck players to the hospital complaining of a variety of over-training related problems. You can read more about the suspension here.
I don’t want to make light of what happened at Oregon, but FSU was known for mat drills during the Bowden Dynasty, physical training which pushes the body right up to and just past its physical – and mental – limits. It’s the mentality that was nurtured and developed during these drills that was the foundation of the dynasty years.
What I read about from Oderinde’s time at Oregon is actually a plus check mark in my book. He brought his own style back to FSU in “The Chase.”
There are four things that Coach O seems to embody which is critical for having a successful strength program.
He’s a motivator.
You cannot put a price on it. He motivates the guys.
Forget the programming – sets, reps, body part splits, percentage of one rep max. A lot of these guys are such phenomenal natural athletes that you can do a minimal program and still generate results, but you’ve got to get them to believe in the process.
The key is communicating and motivating them. They could chew bubble gum and skip rope, but the key is to get them to believe.
Currently, he’s got them boys sold.
He’s not just a meat head. (Even though his neck is larger than mine at 20 inches) This is a high-profile gig and you can’t get players hurt by working them too hard or too long. You’ve got to toe a fine line between being aggressive and injury prevention.
You’ve got to stay up to date with the best research and trends. The days of going into the weight room and doing shoulder shrugs and bench press are over. Currently, there haven’t been any major injuries. (Knock on wood)
His workouts are timely.
You’ve got to understand the era. You don’t change your principles and who you are, but you need to be able to adapt. The game changes and there are multiple ways to get the most out of kids.
FSU’s football student-athletes are able to compete daily in the weight room and see up-to-date results. That continues to motivate them. The guys are consistently on social media talking about gains and getting faster.
in charge of making sure the players are strong enough, fast enough, durable enough and mentally tough enough to be able to run an uptempo offense and maintain a physical edge all while staying healthy over a potentially 15 game season.
Meet the kids where they are at. A coach can’t talk to a guy from South Florida the same way you “y’all” to a private school kid from Cali. He must realize he’s got seniors trying to go to the league and freshman who need to gain 25 pounds. All seemingly are bought in.
Part of this is consistency. It seems they know what Coach O expects – their best – and that doesn’t change from the superstar to the lowest man on the depth chart.
The strength coach and his staff spends the most time with the team. A solid strength staff can hold a team through the tough times. The S&C is the backbone to creating the culture and attitude that winning programs need to have.
I’ve heard nothing, but great reports about how players are proclaiming that they’ve never worked this hard in their lives.
One last trait is selfless.
You’re last to get credit and also first held responsible if something doesn’t go right. When is the last time you’ve read a clip in the newspaper, “That team really went out there and dominated by imposing their will on the other team, kudos to the strength coach!”
RELATED: Five reasons why FSU may struggle in Willie Taggart’s first season.
Article Originally Appeared on Gridiron Now: http://gridironnow.com/stellar-early-reviews-for-new-fsu-football-strength-coach-irele-oderinde/