On Clemson's S&C Program And Our Problems with Batson

HERPADERPDERP BEST IN THE NATION SAYS DABO DERPDERP

Ed. Note: Since my expertise doesn't include information on the different training regimens, we decided to ask around to High School assistant coaches and strength coaches on what they see with the program. This article is a product of that, and as such is not primarily our own writing.We’ve tried to glean as much info from as many sources as possible, because we think it important to remedy the problems with S&C at Clemson.

Many people question why the heat is so hot on the S&C program right now. We don't think many fans realize what exposure is allowed in NCAA now with regards to coaching. The 11 football coaches don't have unlimited access to the team throughout the offseason. Players cannot be coached in a practice setting year-round because of the NCAA limitations. In fact, actual practice is limited to 2 weeks worth of spring practices (which is stretched out for a month at Clemson), twice that in August, and 2 more weeks of bowl preparation practices. Even then, practices and meetings are limited in timespan by the 20 hour rule. In the offseason, the players can speak to the coaches and watch film of course, but it cannot be required or punished if not attended. The coaches cannot take them outside to the fields and drill them or teach. However, the S&C coach has full access year-round with the team, because they do still get time to train. Football games in October and November are won in the 8 months prior. That is why the best coaches put a premium on hiring the right S&C coach.

One of the hottest topics in the realm of Clemson Football over the last 24 months has been long time Clemson Strength and Conditioning coach Joey Batson. The hyperbole is out of control and there is a great deal of misinformation out there and it is my hope to bring a little clarity to the situation and educate the Clemson fan base on what Joey adheres to as well as what I believe would be best for the present and future of Clemson Football.

Let’s get a few things out of the way, Joey Batson has forgotten more about strength, conditioning, biomechanics and competitive weight training than most people know about anything. He is an accomplished and decorated coach who has worked hard and has had a prestigious career. The purpose of this article is not to personally discredit Joey in anyway as he has served Clemson faithfully and with a great deal of integrity over the course of his tenure.

There are a variety of ways to train athletes. The method Clemson has used since Joey’s arrival has been based on the principles of powerlifting. Joey has stated multiple times that he prefers the conjugate method employed by Louis Simmons of the Westside Barbell Club, a renowned competitive weightlifting organization. Joey has been quoted as saying "I learned a lot from Louis Simmons about what is known as percent training, what we call speed strength type training with max force work. I just prefer that type of training in terms of elevating their work capacity in terms of getting bigger and stronger, being able to handle more and more volumes." The foundation of Louie Simmons’ conjugate method is in benching, squatting and dead lifting as much as one can. Louis is a competitive weightlifter by trade and the designation of his program is founded upon getting as much weight moving as possible. Joey Batson himself was a competitive power lifter after his time as a graduate assistant at Clemson ended. The conjugate method used by Simmons, Batson and others is founded upon 4 lifts a week divided into 2 classifications. There is a dynamic effort day for both upper and lower body days and a max effort day for both upper and lower bodies. The Simmons and Westside Method are designed with one thing in mind; to move as much weight as possible. To quote Simmons; The Westside system makes it possible to lift a max each week all year long. I know of no other system that can do this. In power lifting, one rep max in one of three exercises is all that matters. "Westside has always used the conjugate method. I realized I could only squat, bench, or deadlift so much by doing only those three lifts." The philosophy that Clemson’s Strength and Conditioning Program is built on is not founded upon creating the most dynamic athletes as possible. Its foundation is to move as much weight as possible in an isometric manner.

The other end of the spectrum is the "Hatch Method" which was created by Gayle Hatch, a noted Olympic Lifter (and coach) who trains in Baton Rouge. The foundation of Olympic Lifts are the power clean, the snatch and the clean and jerk. These are ground based lifts that activate a higher percentage of fast twitch muscle fibers than bench, squat or dead lift. Gayle Hatch and The Hatch System’s mission is not to be able to move as much weight as possible or to maximize one, two or three rep max lifts, but rather in increase explosive power, absolute strength, speed, quickness, muscular endurance, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness. A sample Hatch workout might start with a warm-up and stretch followed by snatch, clean and jerk, front squat, snatch pull, overhead squat, bench press, core exercises, jumps or plyometrics and cool down static stretching. This more emulates what is done on the football field, as opposed to a Simmons workout, and creates the total athlete that is needed to play football in today’s game. Batson’s defenders will claim that he utilizes ground based movements, but there is quite a difference in "utilizing’ a movement and having that movement as your foundation. In the power lifting periodization you may power clean once every two weeks and snatch every other week. In an Olympic lifting program these movements are perfected and done on a weekly basis. Of the last ten national champions in College Football, six have employed strength coaches that trained directly under Gayle Hatch. None have been based on programs using a conjugated method. As a side note, what two ground based skills that require the triple extension and rolling of the hips as emphasized by Olympic lifters? I maintain that run blocking and tackling require the ability to roll your hips and move your feet simultaneously. These are movements that Olympic lifters do daily. What two areas do Clemson Football teams seem deficient in? Run blocking and tackling.

"There are several reasons why I utilize Olympic-style weightlifting in my training programs. I believe that this approach to training will best prepare my athletes to develop the characteristics necessary for the demands of the game. The first reason is power. We use lifts such as the snatch, clean and jerk and multiple variations of these lifts because they create the explosive power necessary for the sport. Research shows that exercises that require multiple joint actions timed in the proper neuromuscular recruitment patterns are the most productive in developing athletes. The explosive "jump and pull" motions of a clean and jerk are executed in 0.2-0.3 seconds. Such power transmission from the ground up through the kinetic chain develops muscular synergy and proprioception that carries over to blocking and tackling on the field."

"Training explosively with Olympic-style weight lifting also causes a greater exertion to the central nervous system which helps to stimulate the production of endogenous hormones thereby developing a greater degree of overall lean muscle mass and strength in our football players. The biggest difference between strength and power is the speed of the movement. Strength alone is useless – power is what wins games. Developing the ability to apply force rapidly has the greatest transfer to athleticism and explosiveness."

- Jason Beaulieu, CSCS/USAW-certified Strength Coach, Delaware

Our athletes are expected to train as they play. On the field we want perfect technique in blocking, tackling, passing, and receiving. The same is expected in the weightroom by which we have reduced the number of injuries on the field. We begin with the seventh grade, building the foundation by training the basic movements of over head squats, presses, pulls, and bar path with a dowel rod. When the athletes have perfected this technique, we move to light bars in these movements. By the eighth grade we want our players to be able to do front squats, cleans, and snatches from blocks using the bars and light weights. Using blocks allows us to teach position of the body and the bar in the correct bar path. By the ninth grade we expect our players to have mastered the basic bar path and to be doing the exercises from the floor. Between the seventh grade and the ninth grade, we have taught all of the lift progressions and have laid the foundation for our athletes’ high school training.


Since football is a collision sport, preparing the body is what we do in the weightroom. With the bar traveling from the floor to overhead in less than a second and landing in a squat position, we are training explosive hip production with abdominal and back strength in less than a second. It is through this movement that the nervous system and the body are learning how to produce force and receive force. Our basic workout is: 1st) Classic Olympic lift, 2nd) Pull, 3rd) Strength lift (a type of Squat or Bench), and 4th) auxiliary lifts. In-season we train 5 sessions per week and in the offseason we train 8 sessions per week with 2 of these sessions being speed and agility training. We also do the Olympic lifts with kettle bells and dumbbells, teaching unilateral movement.

- CJ Stockel, Flowery Branch HS, Ga.

Let me reiterate, there are pieces from Simmons and Power lifters that can be beneficial. The Godfather of Strength Training, Boyd Epley (former Nebraska strength coach, forever) admits to using powerlifting philosophies and techniques from the squat, but he chose to also use the power clean, jerk, squat and unilateral emphasis from Olympic lifters as well as the importance of the vertical jump as measures of true athleticism. Joey Batson knows a tremendous amount about Strength Training, but his foundation is not what is best for Clemson Football and because of that, Dabo needs to make a move in this area or Clemson will never reach the consistent heights we all desire.

For nonlifting readers, the clean and jerk is a lift in which an athlete takes a weight and lifts it overhead in two movements. The snatch is a lift in which an athlete takes a weight overhead in one movement. The clean and jerk probably involves a bit more strength while the snatch involves a bit more technique. The generic term "modified olympic lift" is applied to things like the power clean, hang clean, or high pull. Modified lifts are easier to teach and perform, but guys like Moffitt emphasize technique in workouts so that their players can perform the lift without injury.

Clemson's Gary Wade used similar methods, at Danny Ford's behest, to what Epley ran at Nebraska and others at Oklahoma. At that time we were using the top-of-the-line methods, and these were, but Wade was moved off S&C by Tommy West in his last year for Batson, and now the pendulum swings towards the Hatch methods. Most of the better programs nationally use Hatch disciples or guys who prefer the olympic style, including USC's current S&C coach Chris Carlisle, Sakerlina (Fitzgerald the last 3 years, he is a Dwight Galt student, himself a Hatch disciple), Johnny Long at Tennessee since the better Fulmer years, Jeff Dillman was formerly at App. State and Will Muschamp hired him at Florida 3 weeks ago, Ethan Reeve at Wake Forest (who develops their poor talent very well with a Galt method), Dwight Galt formerly at Maryland and now Vandy (who gave us problems in his decade in College Park), Vic Viloria (FSU), and several others in the SEC.

Aside from Texas, every national champion in the last decade has run an Epley or Hatch system as their S&C program core. Muschamp and Derek Dooley seem to be the ones disappointed in their coaches, but Dooley instead wanted Moffitt badly and couldn't get him from LSU (nor could Saban, so he hired Cochran). Muschamp released his and Urban Meyer snatched him right up again at Ohio State.

Clemson has had problems over the last decade with injuries that don't ever heal properly. Willy Korn's shoulder, James Davis' shoulder, Ricky Sapp's knee, Cullen Harper's shoulder are just a few. This is why we worry so much about Sammy Watkins' shoulder injury. J.K. Jay was injured while lifting so badly that he had to lose weight and give up football completely. I would argue that he shouldn't have been lifting that much weight without a strong dose of technique teaching that he probably did not get in HS. While we put some of this blame on Dr. Larry Bowman, the purpose of S&C is to build the body in such a way so that injuries are less likely and when they do happen, heal quicker. What is it about Batson's methods that may lead to injury or make it more difficult to heal properly?

Also, movements like the squat, deadlift and bench which are the foundations of a powerlifting regimen are more isometric in nature and lack the dynamic quality that olympic lifts use.

Triple extension is also not a core component of Batson's methodology which in my opinion is the biggest factor in tackling and run blocking. Why is that so important for injuries? I'll explain, but its longwinded.

This triple extension power is very well stimulated by the pulling phases of the Olympic lifts, as well as modified forms of OLs in events such as power cleans and hang cleans.

So why not just do the modified forms if they develop the triple extension and skip the full Olympic lifts altogether?

Because by doing only partial explosive movements, you deny the athletes the benefit that occurs when they execute the full lift. If you just use pulls and skip receiving the bar, you’ve missed half the benefit for athletes. Clearly after an athlete has produced this explosive force, they now must rapidly relax many muscles, pull under the bar rapidly, and then rapidly resist the large forces pushing them down as they receive the bar. We need huge amounts of eccentric power. Eccentric power being expressed by resisting triple flexion.

On the field, the advantage is gained by the athlete that is more powerful eccentrically as well as concentrically. Because eccentric flexion forces at the hip, knee, and ankle are what cause most lower body non-contact injuries.

When an athlete goes into a rapid change of direction at higher speeds, they have to apply large braking forces to the ground. That’s accomplished by controlling large eccentric forces as they bend their hip, knee and ankle to slow down and change direction. If you have higher eccentric power capacity, you can do this faster and in fewer steps than your opponent. The ability to land and decelerate is important because thats where injuries happen. That means fewer ligament issues in the knee in the long run.

Also, if you've watched the videos "Coach" Munson puts out with weight lifting in the offseason, you'll see our guys doing the bench press with so much bad form that they go past parallel or arch their backs, which puts tremendous strain on your shoulder. They use wooden blocks to prevent that, but then let the weights bounce off them? If you can't do an exercise right, then you need to back down the weight until you can.

Anyone who saw Anthony Water's injury back in 2006 and how it occurred no doubt can admit that developing power in resisting triple flexion may have helped from, at best, downright prevention or at least minimizing the severity of the damage. Like Kalon Davis or J.K. Jay, or the ongoing shoulder problems of Clemson QBs, Water's may or may not have fallen victim to inadequate/improper strength training. Nonetheless, for the athletic benefit alone, one who sees how Clemson has struggled with joint problems.

Is there a case where you could get just as good results from the Simmons method compared to the Hatch method? Could you produce a player with the same functional strength and speed in both? Auburn's Yoxall uses the Simmons method and recently won a national title.

Yoxall doesn't do heavy benching that Batson does, and its more of the Boyd Epley routine than Simmons'. Epley really only uses the squats from the powerlifting Simmons' methods.

If I took a guy and put him through a Simmons' workout, he could turn out pretty buff and plenty strong if his diet went with it properly. Now, if I took Stephone Anthony and Corey Crawford would I get the ideal football player? No.

Lets be fair, if you do not have a game to play, and all you are doing is lifting, then a Westside template can be effective. For example, Joe DiFranco is a big meathead in New Jersey who trains guys like Brian Cushing, the Toal boys from Don Bosco Prep, Miles Austin, some of Rutgers guys, etc., in the off-season do some good stuff.....but it is a) done with a 1:1 coach to athlete ratio, and b) the subjects are very close to their maximum levels of performance so their is an emphasis on maintenance. I also suspect power lifting guys roid at a higher frequency than do others. Also, Cushing is DiFranco's crown jewel, but at Southern Cal he trained under a Hatch disciple.

Westside's structure also does not 'fit' into a collegiate schedule very well. The conjugate method of dynamic upper, dynamic lower, max effort upper, max effort lower is designed to go 2 days on, 1 day off, 2 days on, 2 days off, etc.

And remember, the primary goal of power lifters is higher bench, squat, and dead lift numbers, the olympic lifters are trying to be as explosive and powerful as possible.

If you eliminated the heavy benching, emphasized the training table and nutrition habits, would everything be better?

No because the olympic ground based lifts need to be the foundation.

Per the Louie Simmons/Westside Barbell/Conjugate method, you cycle through the various lifts, therefore the power clean is a dynamic lower body movement, so you will do that say on Tuesday. On the next Tuesday (dynamic lower) you might not do power cleans, you might do the snatch and won't power clean again till next week. (and FTR I have never seen evidence of Clemson doing the snatch which pisses me off big time, I hope they do)

Therefore you are doing the Batson way, you may power clean 1x a week every other or every third week.


So a typical variation of a Batson week might look like
Day 1 -- heavy bench plus aux lifts
Day 2 -- cleans + aux lifts, box jumps, etc
Day 3 -- dynamic bench (going for bar speed) + aux lifts
Day 4 -- Squat + aux lifts


Hatch guys actually only lift 3 days a week as a rule....this is a random week from Bama's 2010 summer manual
Day 1 -- Power Cleans, Back Squats, Bench, glute hams, dips, core circuit
Day 2 -- Complex -- 5 snatches, 5 overhead squats 6,6,3,3, Heavy box steps ups, incline bench, clean pulls, dumbbell bench (heavy), good mornings, sledge hammer tires, reverse hypers
Day 3 -- Heavy back squats, hang cleans into front squat (light), split jerks, bench press, hypers, dips, ab circuit, 20 minutes of stretch

So you can see the ground based olympic lifts are the foundation of a Hatch System; they are done with more frequency and variation. Barbell bench is a good exercise for sure, but I disagree with it as our foundation.

Guys who dominate, especially at power positions like the line, linebackers, and running backs, seem to be guys who can take what they’ve built in the weight room and transfer it to the field. They tend to possess strength at odd angles and from weird positions. If you’ve ever blocked another human or tried to tackle them, you know that you aren’t always in the perfect position. You need to find ways to train both standard strength and strength in odd positions to prevent strength leakage. The game moves fast and from all directions, and it rarely is played the same way twice. Thus, you need to change up the resistance and how you move it very often. Box Squats, Box Front Squats, Deadlifts, Squats, Snatch Grip Deadlifts, Romanian Deadlifts, Sandbag Cleans, Sandbag press, prowler pulls, heavy ass sled drags, are all things that needs to be done on a day to day basis to play a game that moves in all directions, explosively and violently. You can look at our guys and see it doesn't happen.

I also question what type of unilateral movements we do. Football is also a game where you are on 1 leg a lot. At Alabama and Auburn I have seen Cochran and Yox do all sorts of variations of dumbbell, barbell, step ups, step down and explode, weighted vest split squats, plyometric split squats, box jumps, unilateral hurdle hops etc. I'd like to know just how much, if at all, time we spend on this.

For reference, we've included here Scott Cochran's workout manual at Alabama, and Tommy Moffitt's regimen at LSU. Actually I have met Moffitt and probably met Cochran and did not know it, as he was at LSU at the same time I was. Both are Gayle Hatch programs, and both guys came from John L. Curtis HS in La, a state power. Batson's old manual is here.

How does diet affect the results?

Its nearly as important as the training regimen. STS has done work on getting the facts out about the Training Table, something Batson long lobbied for, and Clemson finally figured out that it was important to have one to fix our many problems when they announced it as part of the new WEZ completion project. The team has been having one meal a day together at the WEZ in a cafeteria constructed for that purpose, but this is not a full-blown training table situation just yet. That would require Clemson to hire extra nutritionists who do more work than L. Jackson, who only does work on her blackberry and suggests plans that the students don't follow.

Here's results of what Vic Viloria has done at Florida State with the Hatch system and a strict dietary regimen after coming on the job, and later by fall practice.

In addition, we'll present some research done by a TI member cited below:

I decided to look at the depth charts of several teams and compare their current weights with what they weighed when they signed. I chose to analyze Clemson, along with Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida State, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Alabama, and LSU. Figuring Alabama and LSU are the gold standards as programs, they represent the elite. South Carolina is the main rival while Florida State is the division rival. Georgia Tech represents to cross-division rival/thorn-in-the side, while Wake is the divisional over-achiever/thorn. Finally, I looked at Georgia because of their border-state/SEC position.

For the sake of clarity, among other reasons, I felt focusing on the defensive side of the ball made the most sense. Further, I limited my analysis to non-Juco players in either their Jr. or Sr. years. I compared the weights and categorized them into DL, LB, and DB groupings.

THE FINDINGS:

Of the 8 teams analyzed, Clemson finished LAST or tied for last in all three positional categories. Of the defensive line, they average weight gained was 17 lbs. The LBs averaged 14 lbs. gained, and the DBs averaged 9lbs. On the DL, only Wake was about the same, but they only have 1 player to analyze. Other than that, Clemson and LSU are tied for last at DB. Yet we all know the punch those guys bring and coverage skills are way better than their counterparts at Clemson.

Clemson
DL 17 lbs
LB 14 lbs
DB 9 lbs

Wake Forest
DL(only one JR/SR) 15 lbs.
LB 17 lbs
DB 20 lbs.

Florida State
DL 51 lbs.
LB 20 lbs.
DB 14 1bs.

Georgia Tech
DL 27 lbs.
LB 20 lbs.
DB 18 lbs.

Georgia
DL 38 lbs.
LB 20 lbs.
DB 23 lbs.

Alabama
DL 23 lbs
LB 25 lbs.
DB 11 lbs.

LSU
DL N/A (Note: no non-Juco Jr./Sr. start.)
LB 25 lbs.
DB 9 lbs.

South Carolina
DL 53 lbs.
LB 21 lbs.
DB 15 lbs.

South Carolina averaged 53 lbs gained on their DL compared to the 17 lbs. gained at Clemson. Devin Taylor went from 6-6 225 to 6-7 260. Melvin Ingram went from 6-2 224 to 6-2 276. Travian Robinson went from 6-4 230 to 6-4 303. At the same time, we see guys like Rennie Moore go from 6-5 260 to 6-4 270. Folks, Batson put 10 lbs on a DT in five years. Ricky Sapp gained roughly 25lbs in his time here.


Want to hear more? DaQuan Bowers came in listed as 6-4 267. His Jr. numbers were 6-4 275. Compare his gains to, say, Cliff Matthews at South Carolina. It ain't even close. Genetic freak. Two years. Eight pounds.

And we know for a fact that at Clemson, our Defensive linemen gain fat as a season progresses. Jarvis Jenkins, Brandon Thompson, and Bowers all gained 10-15lbs of fat in 2009 during the season. We know for a fact that Tajh Boyd ballooned in 2010, lost it preseason 2011, and gained a chunk of it back during the season. We speculate that it happened on the OL as well, as one could easily see in photographs, but lack quantifiable data.

We need not say anything more than to cite Rendrick Taylor as a prime example of our total program's problem with letting guys bulk up to the point where they are so stiff that they're unusable. He came in as a physical specimen and left as an overmuscled blimp unable to move.

Another issue is with our linemen or skill players being unable to gain good weight (which I define as muscle mass without losing speed) at all during their careers here. It traces back again to eating the wrong things as they train, or not training properly at all. Cited above is the example of guys like Rennie Moore, but Ricky Sapp had the same issues, and gained 20 lbs quickly after leaving Clemson for the NFL draft after hiring a trainer and learning to eat right. Clemson got him at 225 and could barely budge him beyond 250 in his time here. Our better WRs like Kevin Youngblood, Derrick Hamilton, Aaron Kelly, or current ones like Joe Craig or DeAndre Hopkins, could all benefit from more physical mass that they did not or may not ever gain in the current regimen. The same could be said of DBs or other defensive positions where having size PLUS speed is greatly beneficial.

This is something STS will start tracking more closely in the future.

Finally, we'd like to cite the some examples of Clemson choking against teams we'd all agree (and that STS has proven, if you believe the Rivals rankings) are lesser talented than us. Also, we can point out examples of other programs who have greatly benefitted from change in S&C.

I'm sure you recall Clemson's issues with Maryland throughout the 2000s. Maryland's S&C coach was Dwight Galt, and between him and Friedgen's style, Clemson could never (and still hasnt) gotten a good handle on the Terps. He was hired by Vanderbilt last year by James Franklin. In 2008, WF stomped Vandy by 2 TDs, and again in 2009 a 3-10 team thumped the Dores. This year, a WF team we could barely beat 31-28 and that beat FSU was demolished 41-7 by Vanderbilt.

Who was Vanderbilt's S&C coach in those poorer years? John Sisk, a guy using the Simmons/Batson methods and a former Batson assistant. Vanderbilt may have outfundamentaled many teams in the SEC during those years under Bobby Johnson, but if he had a better S&C program he may not have lost to an equally talented WF squad.

(We again point out that WF's S&C coach uses Galt methods, as we noted above.)

Baton's other top assistant in the Bowden years, Ruben Mendoza, went to Ole Miss. Well you know how that worked out. Ole Miss has now hired an Olympic-lift guy (Don Decker) to replace him, coming from Arkansas. Mendoza went to Notre Dame, the top country in the school for underperforming expectations, and got fired by Brian Kelly. He's now at Wayne State.

Lets cite an Irish article (link is spotty) about Mendoza/Weis' squads and you tell us if it makes you think of Clemson football:

"But as the regime of Charlie Weis wore on, it was painfully obvious that even though Weis and Strength and Conditioning coach Ruben Mendoza were conditioning their players to be tough and nasty, primarily by bulking them up to be able to punish the opposing team, the problem was that Weis and his coaching staff weren’t using an offensive or defensive philosophy that utilized those types of players. This was the most apparent on the offensive line.

The Irish were pouring additional mass onto their offensive lineman to be big and strong and then asking them to run in open space. They were conditioning their offensive lineman to utilize a smash-mouth type of running game, and then deploying a running game that used a lot of zone-stretch plays that required lineman to pull down the line of scrimmage in a zone-blocking scheme. They were conditioning their lineman to provide a protective pocket around their quarterback and then asking them to pass-block in open space, requiring them to be agile. But, offensive lineman are just part of the equation that saw Notre Dame consistently running out of gas. Over the past two seasons, Notre Dame was an abysmal 1-7 in the month of November. Furthermore, the Irish lost by a combined 17 points in the final four games of last season, and most of those losses came in the waning minutes of the game. Some of those losses can be attributed to mental errors or the lack of ball control by the offense or the coaching staff, but the majority of the reason for those losses came because the team wasn’t conditioned to sustain themselves in long games in which the contest was in doubt.

Maybe Mendoza wasn’t as bad of a conditioning coach as we thought him to be, but there were some glaring problems with the program. For instance, Sam Young and Eric Olsen both had exemplary numbers in the bench press category, but both of them were lackluster in the agility or speed drills. Kyle McCarthy did well in strength and agility, but was found lacking in the speed drills. But what does this all add up to? Perhaps Ruben Mendoza isn’t the root of all things evil or isn’t completely to blame for all of Notre Dame’s problems over the past five years. However, some of the blame does fall on Weis and Jon Tenuta who were conditioning their players to be big and strong, yet installing schemes that required them to be quick, agile, and light on their feet."

Sound familiar? How is it that we have guys who can bench 500lbs on Wednesday and can't move 260lb linemen on Saturday?

Alabama in 2008 had just come off a poor season with players that were in the same talent ballpark as Clemson’s after the Shula years, and after two offseasons of Cochran’s program and Saban’s tutelage, they destroyed us in Atlanta and finished 12-2 after a 7-6 season that included a loss to ULM.

South Carolina’s recruiting rankings have been roughly the same as our own, yet 3 years under Fitzgerald has resulted in 3 straight losses for the first time in my lifetime, and most of our readers. One of those teams only finished 7-6 vs. our own 9-5. Fitz recently resigned and is apparently headed to Penn State.

I think we would all point to Boston College as a thorn in the side for the last decade. BC has played a different style of offense and defense than some others in conference, but their physical dominance against Clemson at the point of attack is the primary reason why they continue to give us problems despite having very little real skill talent. When a team’s backup RBs defeat you inside and 3-man rushes get to the QB, I think its pretty evident.

There are extenuating circumstances at other schools named above that could be mentioned as well. Mike Shula had a 10-2 season once in his term with a poorer S&C staff, and was replaced by a Genius who wins everywhere. We find it strange though that his staff contained 3 former Clemson assistants this year, and ours contained 2 of his former assistants. FSU replaced a half-retired Bowden at the same time Viloria came in.

Lifting doesnt stay delineated.

Most Olympic lifters do like some of the lifts you saw above that power lifters do. They do a number of lifts that are considered assistance lifts. One major difference is with the squat. The form that most olympic lifters use for back squats is different than what is used by power lifters. Olympic lifters also do a lot of front squats and overhead squats.

A Hatch method puts a premium on technique. How many of you have watched a CU workout video and seen lifts with horrible sloppy technique? Ever seen our guys do an ugly bench press without a gross amount of weight? Olympic lift coaches won't let that happen because an emphasis is put on how much you can do WHILE doing the lift right.

As far as sport is concerned the ability to be able to apply force off the ground is extrememly important. When a linebacker hits someone he's using his entire body and applying force off the ground in order to develop kinectic energy. When they hit someone they aren't just using their arm, shoulder and chest muscles. They are using their entire body to develop kinetic energy off the ground. Nothing develops that better than olympic lifting because its a whole body exercise and power truly comes from the legs and hip roll than anywhere else.

The more I looked into Olympic lifting and watched Clemson's Offensive linemen in their vain, lumbering attempts to pull or assert their will up front, its linebacker's problems shedding blocks, and the ongoing injuries and overall weight problems with the team, I started to really pay even more attention to Batson's role in the product on the field. We would prefer that we had someone that didn't have a power lifting background. But, unless someone is actually watching them train it's hard to know what they are actually doing every day and we do know they incorporate a few modified olympic lifts. And, regardless of philosophy or background, successful coaching, including in S&C is about leadership, personality, accountability, and the culture within a program.

How much is solely Batson?

Well of course we will not put it all on him; that would be unfair. Clemson has had several coaches who didn’t get it done either in recruiting or in technique teaching. It may take a football eye to see whether a player is using technique, but we’ll say that at some times its pretty obvious that we lost games due to things that aren’t the fault of the S&C coach. In some years it was clear we were deficient at a position that could be corrected by better recruiting. It may be dumb playcalls, botched kicks/special teams, etc., but one thing is constant in a decade of being unable to manhandle an inferior team up front=Joey Batson. The S&C staff has unlimited access to the team, not the field coaches.

We’ve had several OL coaches and 2 HC's and no appreciable improvement yet. Of late, our DBs cannot get physical enough with WRs. Our LBs can’t get off blocks. Our WRs on the team now need to gain good muscle weight without losing speed and flexibility, and are you confident that they will? We do not dispute here that gaining too much muscle is bad (see Rendrick), but a S&C program should be able to make them faster, stronger, and more agile, and I don’t see that happening. All of our OL could get into better shape, and next season we’ll be pressed to play an overweight Kalon Davis, David Beasley and Spencer Region along with a likely-still-underweight Gifford Timothy and Shaq Anthony.

Even if it isn’t clear to you that our S&C methods are poor, or if you disagree that an Olympic method Is better, the motivation of the players in the weight room and the accountability for their conditioning comes into question when they can’t control their weight and don’t put on good weight. Olympic lifting requires more supervision and an emphasis on technique, which is clearly not there in any Clemson weightlifting video put out by "Coach" Munson. Even If the Olympic and Power-lift methods got the same results, a lack of technique is detrimental to muscle gain and can cause injuries worse than what happened to JK Jay. This blame falls chiefly on the S&C coach.

What culture are we trying to eliminate at CU? Softness, mentally and physically. We've been soft for a decade. Mental toughness is developed year round, not the month of spring ball and another in August. We've gone through several OL coaches with the same problems. Several DL coaches with the same problems of gap control. We choke against physical competition. Games lost in November are more due to work in offseason workouts. The team has lacked downright tenacity up front since at least the mid 90s. The common denominator is Batson.

Who doesnt want to hit somebody when they watch a Cochran video? Ever wanted to hit after one of "Coach" Munson's workout vids full of Batson workouts?

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