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I saw nolewr mention that Amato "ran mat drills" in another thread, and wanted some clarification.

When someone says that Amato "ran mat drills" what does that mean? I guess I just assumed that Jost & Co. ran them. They seemed to be such a big part of FSU culture & mystique in the 90's -- we're faster than you AND we work harder than you -- and I just don't get the feeling that they have that same galvanizing effect anymore.

To those of you who played, am I off base on this?



Posted on 1/15 7:18 PM | IP: Logged

I think it is pretty well known that mat drills are not so demanding anymore since the death of DD. I am sure they are still hard but nothing like they were before his death.



Posted on 1/15 7:23 PM | IP: Logged

Our strength staff has never run Mat Drills. Our coaching staff is responsible for them. Our strength staff is there and they work our injured players, but the regular staff runs the drills. Last year, Jost wanted to work the OL's in the Tully Weight Room rather than having them go through Mats (a HUGE mistake, IMHO), but that was an exception rather than the rule. There's no way Trickett would allow that this year.

Mats have never been the same since Devaughn's death (I went through them that awful day) and understandably so. First of all, the format was changed slightly -- instead of 3 stations (one of which was broken into 3 substations) of 21 minutes apiece with no breaks and no water allowed, now we have those same stations at 18 minutes apiece with three minute water breaks between them.

But that is not the biggest difference. You see, before the tragedy, if one player in a group going through a drill made a misstep or somehow gave the appearance of not giving everything he had during that particular rep, the whole group was immediately sent back to the front of the line to repeat the drill. They would finish the drill only to hear "send 'em back!" and then have to sprint back around the drill to the front of the line, starting immediately. This could happen indefinitely. I think the most my group ever got sent back was around 5 times in a row (thanks to a very young BJ Dean; funny note: Peter Warrick got my group sent back 2 or 3 times one day), but some groups got sent back even more. Some days, the coaching staff would pick a particular person or group to pick on and send back with a hair-trigger (at least it seemed that way), and it would be very difficult for that group that day.

Getting sent back repeatedly was what everyone dreaded going into the old-school mats, but it was also a major factor in developing toughness and leadership. The guys who were getting through okay would pretty much carry the guys who were struggling back to the front of the line if they were sent back, and the players always had one another's back to help each other through. Unfortunately, this is probably what led to DD's death -- his group had been sent back a few times, he was struggling, and he kept on going with the encouragement of his teammates. He wasn't the first one to have collapsed that year by any stretch, but he never got up.

Now, a group can only be sent back twice, and when they're sent back, they go to the back of the line rather than the front. I went to mats last year a couple times and was quite frankly disappointed in the intensity I saw. There were a couple players I saw in particular that would never have gotten away with their intensity level a few years ago.

This is all understandable, and I NEVER want anything like what happened to DD to ever happen to any player again, but it is different and most certainly impacts our toughness and leadership. The effect the tragedy had on our coaches was also substantial. A couple of them were never the same in my estimation. I'll never forget the looks on their faces that day. I can't imagine that such a tragedy wouldn't affect the way they think about the whole thing for the rest of their careers; it certainly affected the rest of us players.

This post was edited on 1/15 8:32 PM by nolewr



Posted on 1/15 8:30 PM | IP: Logged


Originally posted by nolewr:
Our strength staff has never run Mat Drills. Our coaching staff is responsible for them. Our strength staff is there and they work our injured players, but the regular staff runs the drills. Last year, Jost wanted to work the OL's in the Tully Weight Room rather than having them go through Mats (a HUGE mistake, IMHO), but that was an exception rather than the rule. There's no way Trickett would allow that this year.

Mats have never been the same since Devaughn's death (I went through them that awful day) and understandably so. First of all, the format was changed slightly -- instead of 3 stations (one of which was broken into 3 substations) of 21 minutes apiece with no breaks and no water allowed, now we have those same stations at 18 minutes apiece with three minute water breaks between them.

But that is not the biggest difference. You see, before the tragedy, if one player in a group going through a drill made a misstep or somehow gave the appearance of not giving everything he had during that particular rep, the whole group was immediately sent back to the front of the line to repeat the drill. They would finish the drill only to hear "send 'em back!" and then have to sprint back around the drill to the front of the line, starting immediately. This could happen indefinitely. I think the most my group ever got sent back was around 5 times in a row (thanks to a very young BJ Dean; funny note: Peter Warrick got my group sent back 2 or 3 times one day), but some groups got sent back even more. Some days, the coaching staff would pick a particular person or group to pick on and send back with a hair-trigger (at least it seemed that way), and it would be very difficult for that group that day.

Getting sent back repeatedly was what everyone dreaded going into the old-school mats, but it was also a major factor in developing toughness and leadership. The guys who were getting through okay would pretty much carry the guys who were struggling back to the front of the line if they were sent back, and the players always had one another's back to help each other through. Unfortunately, this is probably what led to DD's death -- his group had been sent back a few times, he was struggling, and he kept on going with the encouragement of his teammates. He wasn't the first one to have collapsed that year by any stretch, but he never got up.

Now, a group can only be sent back twice, and when they're sent back, they go to the back of the line rather than the front. I went to mats last year a couple times and was quite frankly disappointed in the intensity I saw. There were a couple players I saw in particular that would never have gotten away with their intensity level a few years ago.

This is all understandable, and I NEVER want anything like what happened to DD to ever happen to any player again, but it is different and most certainly impacts our toughness and leadership. The effect the tragedy had on our coaches was also substantial. A couple of them were never the same in my estimation. I'll never forget the looks on their faces that day. I can't imagine that such a tragedy wouldn't affect the way they think about the whole thing for the rest of their careers; it certainly affected the rest of us players.

This post was edited on 1/15 8:32 PM by nolewr




Thanks for posting that information; it was very insightful. Amongst the myriad reasons for the decline of our program, I always felt that the difference of the mat drills was a big factor (understandably, changes needed to be made) as well as the effect of the passing of DD on the psyche of the players and coaches.



Posted on 1/15 8:38 PM | IP: Logged

The reduction in "thunbs down" is a HUGE change from the "good old days". You learned very quickly to get yourself in a good group. There was one OL that we learned to avoid. Great guy.. .just not great at mat drills.

I learned to love the intensity. When you dove out on that mat, with you hands hitting last, you never felt anything. If you could make it through without a single repeat... it was a big day.

This post was edited on 1/15 8:39 PM by Octoberfest

Posted on 1/15 8:38 PM | IP: Logged

nolewr, keep posting!

And yeah, we have to respect that incident and dear Lord hold him close but we cant act like that is what happens. There is also phenomenal equipment now that is a sticker with a TINY transmitter on it that sends readouts that would blow your mind to a computer off field. Ive though ever since i read that if i was a booster and had money i would buy the team that. ANYWAYS, we need to push harder, have some guys politely ask Miami, Florida, UGA to see how hard they push their players. I just think we are allowing a fortunately RARE occurence to hinder our program.

And I APOLOGIZE if any of that came off wrong, i was floored when that update came on the wire, wont soon forget it and i was young.

Posted on 1/15 8:42 PM | IP: Logged


Originally posted by Octoberfest:
The reduction in "thunbs down" is a HUGE change from the "good old days". You learned very quickly to get yourself in a good group. There was one OL that we learned to avoid. Great guy.. .just not great at mat drills.

I learned to love the intensity. When you dove out on that mat, with you hands hitting last, you never felt anything. If you could make it through without a single repeat... it was a big day.

This post was edited on 1/15 8:39 PM by Octoberfest




Totally agree. I actually miss mats in a sort of masochistic way -- there's a sort of victory that comes with doing well. I'll always be as proud that I made it through mats as anything else in my athletic career, to be honest. There is a sort of mental lightbulb that goes on in one's freshman year mats when one thinks it's impossible to go on. By refusing to quit and just pushing, there's a sort of "zone" of invincibility that comes after the body can't go any further but the mind just keeps pushing. I'll never forget it, and that realization will apply to everything I ever do.

To be totally honest, I do think we should reinstate the unlimited "thumbs down" policy and have everyone go back to the front of the line like before. I will never forget DD's death and think we should be careful, but we've got to fight like we used to. I think the new blood on the staff will help a lot with that -- the new coaches won't be as hesitant to push guys to their breaking point because of bad memories.

As far as the water breaks, I think we should keep them -- that should be enough to keep everyone safe. We should just work harder between them.

This post was edited on 1/15 9:08 PM by nolewr



Posted on 1/15 8:58 PM | IP: Logged

the thing about it is, once you have been sent back a third time you will no longer be sent back. However, You must come back the next matt drill at 5am and do a smaller matt drill, then do it again with everyone else at 5:45. I personally would rather just keep getting sent back than come back at 5. their is nothing worse than waking up at 4:30 and going to tully and doing a matt drill with all the coaches and just you and a ew guys that they are still pissed at for underperforming the day before.



Posted on 1/15 10:18 PM | IP: Logged


Originally posted by nolewr:




Originally posted by Octoberfest:
The reduction in "thunbs down" is a HUGE change from the "good old days". You learned very quickly to get yourself in a good group. There was one OL that we learned to avoid. Great guy.. .just not great at mat drills.

I learned to love the intensity. When you dove out on that mat, with you hands hitting last, you never felt anything. If you could make it through without a single repeat... it was a big day.

This post was edited on 1/15 8:39 PM by Octoberfest






Totally agree. I actually miss mats in a sort of masochistic way -- there's a sort of victory that comes with doing well. I'll always be as proud that I made it through mats as anything else in my athletic career, to be honest. There is a sort of mental lightbulb that goes on in one's freshman year mats when one thinks it's impossible to go on. By refusing to quit and just pushing, there's a sort of "zone" of invincibility that comes after the body can't go any further but the mind just keeps pushing. I'll never forget it, and that realization will apply to everything I ever do.

To be totally honest, I do think we should reinstate the unlimited "thumbs down" policy and have everyone go back to the front of the line like before. I will never forget DD's death and think we should be careful, but we've got to fight like we used to. I think the new blood on the staff will help a lot with that -- the new coaches won't be as hesitant to push guys to their breaking point because of bad memories.

As far as the water breaks, I think we should keep them -- that should be enough to keep everyone safe. We should just work harder between them.

This post was edited on 1/15 9:08 PM by nolewr


Wr, great posts on this stuff, thanks. Ive been thinking some of the same stuff for years and noticed quite a drop off in our teams toughness and agressiveness. There has to be some happy medium to go back to and create what were missing without oveddoing it.



Posted on 1/15 10:24 PM | IP: Logged

terrific insight in this thread.

Thanks for posting the information. I have often wondered if DD's passing had the effect it seemed to.

Posted on 1/15 10:43 PM | IP: Logged

yeah, i think if kids just get reminded to notice serious side effects, there are easy ways to test VERY QUICKLY for dehydration and temperature spikes as well (sorry if im drilling the medical aspect)

Posted on 1/15 10:48 PM | IP: Logged

great thread guys, thanks.



Posted on 1/15 10:53 PM | IP: Logged

Great post Nolewr. I've wondered about the Mat Drills since DD's passing myself. Do you know if any of those changes were mandated in the court proceedings when his family sued the university that would keep the athletic dept. from allowing any changes from being made back to the way it was? I agree though that we do need to get back to a much "tougher and meaner" attitude but would not want to put the players health in jeopardy to do it.



Posted on 1/15 11:03 PM | IP: Logged


Originally posted by Dixie69:
the thing about it is, once you have been sent back a third time you will no longer be sent back. However, You must come back the next matt drill at 5am and do a smaller matt drill, then do it again with everyone else at 5:45. I personally would rather just keep getting sent back than come back at 5. their is nothing worse than waking up at 4:30 and going to tully and doing a matt drill with all the coaches and just you and a ew guys that they are still pissed at for underperforming the day before.


I'm aware of this. My group had to do the double session once as well -- it sucked. However, let me assure you that the double session is easier than a single session of the older version. And it's not like there weren't double sessions before -- those were for the guys who passed out in a single session or had to otherwise drop out of a drill.



Posted on 1/15 11:26 PM | IP: Logged


Originally posted by nolemrs54:
Great post Nolewr. I've wondered about the Mat Drills since DD's passing myself. Do you know if any of those changes were mandated in the court proceedings when his family sued the university that would keep the athletic dept. from allowing any changes from being made back to the way it was? I agree though that we do need to get back to a much "tougher and meaner" attitude but would not want to put the players health in jeopardy to do it.


I don't know for sure. I do know that some of the changes (such as allowing water) were pretty much forced (though the coaching staff most certainly was't going to protest anything at that point), but I don't know from where.

This post was edited on 1/15 11:51 PM by nolewr



Posted on 1/15 11:27 PM | IP: Logged

Thanks for the responses. It's a tough situation all the way around -- I can't imagine how the coaches must've felt.

At the same time, if there's any way that we can come up with another form of bonding/team building that is forged through hard work (instead of some "ropes course"), I think it would help the program get back to where it needs to be.

I gather from the responses of former players that the drills were more about mental toughness and bonding than the atual physical rigor.



Posted on 1/15 11:44 PM | IP: Logged

Thanks for the perspective and for the specifics on the changes. I had heard the drills were "watered down" some but did know exactly how. The water breaks seem reasonable and the reduction of time at stations by nearly 15% probably makes a big difference. I have to agree that the old manner of send backs would be a good thing to reinstate maybe with the training staff having more authority to intervene if they think an individual needs to be pulled from a drill. The only time I have ever passed out cold from exhaustion/fatigue in my life was during mats in a multiple send back scenario and thankfully an amonia tab up the nostril cured that condition pretty fast.

Posted on 1/17 1:04 PM | IP: Logged

Ah yes, if they had it out for someone in your segment but not in your specific group it could make for an easy day. I remember one day only going once on the mats in 21 minutes because of other groups getting sent back. I also remember getting sent back a few times in a row and how much that sucked.

Posted on 1/17 1:30 PM | IP: Logged

these former players that post are freaking money! Get some more on here!

Posted on 1/17 1:32 PM | IP: Logged

Thanks for the insight.

Posted on 1/17 1:42 PM | IP: Logged

Great Post....I am a high school coach and would love to get a version of this at my school. I have spoken with some people at FSU to get the drills laid out.



Posted on 1/17 1:51 PM | IP: Logged

I love getting to hear the perspective of former players -- too cool.



Posted on 1/17 1:54 PM | IP: Logged

This is by far one of the most insightful threads I have seen on the TC. It would be nice to see some input from Monster and Ryan.

I really enjoy hearing from former players.€



Posted on 1/17 1:57 PM | IP: Logged

Always heard about the "Mat Drills", thanks for your insight



Posted on 1/17 2:22 PM | IP: Logged

My memory fails me. What year did DD die? Thanks in advance.



Posted on 1/17 2:26 PM | IP: Logged

Great insider stuff. Thanks for sharing.

Posted on 1/17 2:28 PM | IP: Logged

Mat drills are the dumbest thing Bowden does. Do you realize how many recruits we've lost over the years because of mat drills? A lot of recruits have chosen UF and UM over us strictly because of mat drills.

Posted on 1/17 2:30 PM | IP: Logged


Originally posted by True Blood:
Mat drills are the dumbest thing Bowden does. Do you realize how many recruits we've lost over the years because of mat drills? A lot of recruits have chosen UF and UM over us strictly because of mat drills.


I don't understand. Are you suggesting that those other schools don't do Mat drills or just that they do them differently?

Posted on 1/17 2:41 PM | IP: Logged

No one does mat drills except FSU or schools that have former FSU coaches.

Posted on 1/17 2:45 PM | IP: Logged

True Blood... its a character builder and it allows the players to push themselves beyond the limits they thought they had. If potential recruits don't want to work harder then we're better off without them. Give me the hard workers anytime over the powder puff pre-Madonnas.

Posted on 1/17 2:48 PM | IP: Logged

If they are a not mentally tough enough to take on and get thru mat drills I don't want them wearing garnet and gold.

Posted on 1/17 2:49 PM | IP: Logged

Its great to hear from former players, Thanks Nolewr, Lulu and Dixie!! Did I miss anyone???

Posted on 1/17 3:24 PM | IP: Logged

Hey trueblood, go post at one of those "other" schools sites then.

Posted on 1/17 3:25 PM | IP: Logged


Originally posted by True Blood:
Mat drills are the dumbest thing Bowden does. Do you realize how many recruits we've lost over the years because of mat drills? A lot of recruits have chosen UF and UM over us strictly because of mat drills.


chairshot



Posted on 1/17 3:34 PM | IP: Logged

My only advice on mat drills is to avoid ordering and eating two Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers from Wendy's on Pensacola Street for a $1 each at approximately 10:00pm the night before said mat drill. You will see the aforementioned Cheeseburgers again at approximately 6:00pm, in a somewhat altered state, as you are sticking your head in one of the trash barrels.

Trust me on this one.

Posted on 1/17 3:42 PM | IP: Logged

I've personally always felt mat drills were the driving force for 14 ten win seasons in a row. So if we lost a recruit or two because they're too afraid to try, fine by me.

But I agree with any changes that keep The Darling incident from ever being repeated. At FSU or anywhere.

Thanks so much for the thoughts from former players about how it's changed since the tragedy. All food for thought for those of us on the outside looking in.

Posted on 1/17 3:58 PM | IP: Logged

The old mat drills were a proven winner and the newer version not so
much. Is it possible for the new staff to find an better middle ground?

Posted on 1/17 4:23 PM | IP: Logged

I'd like to know the specific drills, if possible. Thanks...

Posted on 1/17 4:24 PM | IP: Logged

Good advice on the cheeseburgers or anything else of substance. Nothing like smelling a room full of that when you are breathing hard and have no choice but to smell it the whole time. I think I just had a flashback, pardon me while I run to the restroom......

Posted on 1/17 5:15 PM | IP: Logged

Good advice on the cheeseburgers or anything else of substance. Nothing like smelling a room full of that when you are breathing hard and have no choice but to smell it the whole time. I think I just had a flashback, pardon me while I run to the restroom......

Posted on 1/17 5:18 PM | IP: Logged

It's also why we were they only team in NCAA history to finish in the Top 5 for 15 straight years.

I vote for reinstatement.

Posted on 1/17 5:40 PM | IP: Logged


Originally posted by TuscaloosaNole:
Hey trueblood, go post at one of those "other" schools sites then.


hey tuscaloosaNole....just for your INFO true blood is also a former player...so maybe bite your tongue a little bit, huh?

Posted on 1/17 5:48 PM | IP: Logged


Originally posted by BJClark04:




Originally posted by TuscaloosaNole:
Hey trueblood, go post at one of those "other" schools sites then.




hey tuscaloosaNole....just for your INFO true blood is also a former player...so maybe bite your tongue a little bit, huh?



Was not aware of that. Hard to understand his issues with mat drills. I firmly believe that my agility was improved from doing them. We won two national championships doing the "tougher" versions without any recruits that might have turned away due to concerns. I think we will survive in the future as well.

Posted on 1/17 5:56 PM | IP: Logged

This is one of the best threads i've seen on the TC. Thank you former players for the insight and for what you did for FSU!!



Posted on 1/17 6:11 PM | IP: Logged

this is the best part of the TC. threads like these.



Posted on 1/17 6:17 PM | IP: Logged

“No one does mat drills except FSU or schools that have former FSU coaches”

Actually you are wrong, the top schools in America have done everything they can to copy the Bowden drills. Matt Drills are what made our players more NFL ready than most other programs. Thanks for sharing your thoughts though.


Posted on 1/17 6:32 PM | IP: Logged

NOTE TO EVERYONE

1. Please don't flame or fight on this thread this is a great thread.

2. However what you can do is explain IN DETAIL (to us idiots like myself out here) what a freaking mat drill is. I can't imagine how much more since this would all make if I knew little piece of info. 3dGrin



Posted on 1/17 6:50 PM | IP: Logged

My take is that I'd rather have a guy who's picking FSU BECAUSE of mats and how much quicker and mentally stronger they'll make him over the kid who would rather not come here because of them.

I know the smell you're talking about, RO. Not pleasant. I was responsible for some of that smell a few times. Ugh.

And yes, many other schools do versions of mat drills. Miami University (in Ohio) was visiting us to study them and take them back to their program the week before DD died. Many schools visited us during those days to see what we were doing. Mats actually originated with Bear Bryant, I believe.



Posted on 1/17 7:05 PM | IP: Logged

Mats actually originated with Bear Bryant, I believe.

BINGO

Posted on 1/17 7:07 PM | IP: Logged


Originally posted by nolewr:
My take is that I'd rather have a guy who's picking FSU BECAUSE of mats and how much quicker and mentally stronger they'll make him over the kid who would rather not come here because of them.

I know the smell you're talking about, RO. Not pleasant. I was responsible for some of that smell a few times. Ugh.

And yes, many other schools do versions of mat drills. Miami University (in Ohio) was visiting us to study them and take them back to their program the week before DD died. Many schools visited us during those days to see what we were doing. Mats actually originated with Bear Bryant, I believe.



Amen...I would hope we only have players coming here to be the best and play for one of the best. This is no different than when you enter the military and you have to pass rigorous training to make it.

I watched a documentary on the Navy Seals and "Hell Week." Me personally, I feel better that these guys that have the mental toughness to get through that type of exercise considering they are the ones defending our country.

I watch guys like Jerry Rice and Eddie George put themselves through insane workouts to make sure they are the most conditioned and mentally tough people on the football field in their time...both were outstanding football players.

I was not a gifted athlete (an average at best) and never had the chance to play college ball, but I will tell you that I would have gone through anything to have the honor some of you have had and for those of you who made it through the drills and have gone out and left it on the field like you did - I thank you. Your work made it that much more enjoyable for people like me who went to school there and got to watch some very good years of football.

I pray we never see the day where we drop a program like mats to get cream puff recruits that want to take the easy way out.





Posted on 1/17 7:33 PM | IP: Logged

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