Strength In Numbers - USC's Strength Coach Plays A Major Role

It's that time of year when college football teams are in the middle of off-season conditioning. At USC, Jeff Dillman is the man in charge of getting the players ready for August.

USC head football coach Will Muschamp has stated he wants his team to be fresh, fast and physical. But getting to that point does not start in August. It's a virtual year round process that involves countless hours in the weight room with Gamecock football strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dilllman and his staff.

It's no secret Muschamp's first spring practice was an eye-opening experience for the players who were not used to that tempo. The first workout under Dillman was equally as shocking to the players.

"When we walk in day one, the tempo was through the roof," Dillman recalls.

"Everything had to be perfect from the warm-up to the barbell warm-up to the squat movements to the running. Everything had to be perfect through the line. Nobody bending over and guys started to realize, 'Oh boy, we've got some work to do'.

"There were a couple of trash cans around, guys realize the intensity was a lot higher than they were used to."

But now that the players have been through a full year under Dillman, they understand what is expected and have embraced the fast-paced workout.

"Either you're a strainer or a survivor and we don't want survivors, we want people who strain all the time," Dillman said.

"We want you to go beyond what you're use to going, get out of your comfort zone. Be used to being comfortable with being uncomfortable. We want to be used to being uncomfortable because there is nothing different in what we do in training, what we do in practice than what they'll do on the game field. If they're used to being uncomfortable, then guess what, that's the game of football. You're always going to be uncomfortable, things aren't always going to the way you want them to. So now what? So building that mindset, building that strain in their head, that mentality, that toughness that Coach talks about all the time, that's going to help us achieve success."

Success for Dillman isn't limited to seeing his guys record a personal best in the 40 or on the bench press. Because he and his staff spend more time with the athletes than the coaches and it's not even close. As a result, Dillman's role extends beyond his job title.

"We're kind of their mentors," Dillman said.

"We're their guidance counselors, their life skills coach. I always say, 'Is it going to help us win?' Well, there are two ways to look at it, Is it going to help them win on the football field or will it help them off the football field  as men. We're entrenched in everything. Are they doing what's right? Are they going to class? Being on time. Are they going to study hall? Are they all those little things that are important to being successful? Most teams I've been involved in that have been very successful are successful in the classroom and doing the little things right. If you take care of the little things, big things take care of themselves."

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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