There’s a tendency to think that, because Grantham and Pruitt are branches on the Saban coaching tree who both use the 3-4 as a base defensive scheme, the transition on defense between them won’t be as dramatic as it was in 2010, after Richt dismissed Martinez. We need to be careful about that. Underneath the continuity in base scheme, there appears to be a real change in defensive philosophy. And that’s going to have a major impact on strength and conditioning, it sounds like.
“The game is going to a lot of speed, a lot of tempo, a lot more plays are being run,” Richt said. “It’s go hard and rest just a minute and go hard again. The recovery time is not what it used to be. You might have 40 seconds in between a play back in the day. Now you might have 15 seconds. So you have to train them a little differently.”
Richt said about 80 percent of the defensive players need to get slimmer to keep up with the uptempo offenses.
“Most everybody is on a trim-down phase,” Richt said.
He added: “Not that we’re a bunch of fat guys but in some ways we’re strong and thick in the legs and rear and all that kind of thing. Not that you don’t want to be strong, but we’re willing to give up a little bit of size for quickness and the ability to recover quickly.”
The strength coaches and positions coaches talked about each player individually in meeting this week and Richt talked about each position group that needs to trim down on Tuesday.
“I was going to say mostly linebackers and D-line, but there are some safeties we want to cut some more weight,” Richt said. “A couple of little skinny corners we want to try to get a few more pounds on them and get a little more muscle on them so they can tackle.”
Here’s how Richt described the difference in the weight room.
“Instead of just doing 10 bench presses and then I’m chilling and getting a drink of water and I’m coming back and get me 10 more and build strength, you want to build strength, endurance and even get your heart rate pumping,” Richt said. “Lift, lift, lift, boom, get a little quick blow. Boom, boom, boom. You’re building strength and endurance at the same time.
I don’t know how this all works out in the end, but it’s clear Richt and Pruitt aren’t waiting for the NCAA to pass a 10-second substitution rule. It’s another indication that the HUNH is definitely changing the way college football is played.