My sister attended the Charlie Strong Women's Clinic this weekend. She goes every year. Since badly run women's clinics seem to be at the forefront of offseason discussion, I wanted to share what she experienced.
The clinic went from 8:00 am to 1:45 pm. Despite a 98 degree day (140 on the turf) with over five hours of drills, she and all of the participants had a really good time. She was blown away by the efficiency, positive atmosphere and professionalism of the event.
Participants arrive at 8am for registration and they're divided into large groups by wristband, after getting a big bag of Longhorn swag. Then every camper get a pic with Coach Strong. The event is highly participative and it operates at pace. A pace set by Charlie Strong on a wireless microphone hooked up to the stadium PA system so he can offer running commentary like he's at Rucker Park: calling out good technique, urging groups to show more hustle and generally motivating the campers like they're playing Notre Dame in a month.
Each group rotates to different stations where they do position drills, have informal Q&A's with coaches and S&C with Pat Moorer. The drills are run by the coaching staff and Longhorn players. The coaches teach, the players assist and the women are expected to give it their all.
Lots of high fives and positive encouragement.
The big guy put the campers through a tough workout (squats, push-ups, sit-ups, pushing sleds) and then offered some insights into how they've managed the offseason S&C. It's all competition based - both position and individual - and the players have responded.
We know about the Battle of The Belts, but they also issue engraved dog tags for the outstanding S&C performers in the offseason workouts. Battle for The Belts is a showcase. The dog tags are about the daily grind. Players can earn more than one. Or none at all. It's not a feel-good trophy. You buy it with sweat and blood. It's also a holistic award and S&C effort is balanced with academics. Every Thursday, every week, the Longhorn position and S&C coaches pore over summer school academic reports from the academic staff and the player's professors in addition to assessing their training efforts and citizenship. Players are punished for class/tutoring tardiness or inattention (in Charlie Strong's world on-time means late and attentive means sitting in the front row) making them ineligible for awards and eligible for an array of punishments. A player needs unanimous approval from all of the coaches and staff to earn his dog tag.
Consequently, these tags have become more valuable to the players than beads during Mardi Gras.
Why the academic and citizenship emphasis? According to Moorer, when Strong sits on a parent's couch, he promises to make their son a man and earn their degree. If he doesn't follow up with real actions to see to it, it's just empty talk.
Moorer remarked that this is easily the best offseason they've had at Texas. Nearly total buy-in. While that's standard issue preseason boilerplate, my sis hasn't heard Moorer say it before. Moorer isn't much of a bullshit artist.
We're young, but the talent is coming. The defense will be very simple and they'll try to get the young guys to play hard and fly around rather than overcomplicate schemes. My sister was disappointed that Bedford stopped showing videos of African predators savaging herd animals to motivate them, but that's what Nat Geo is for.
Everyone is learning a brand new offense. Tyrone Swoopes is our QB right now (take that with grain of salt). Gilbert will install his system, but they'll do whatever it takes to win - even if that means SwoopesDozer half of the game. He repeated the "whatever it takes to win" line like a mantra.
Is it true Jerrod Heard is taking drill work as a wide receiver? Gilbert: (Smiling) Maybe. This year, we're doing whatever it takes to win.
How does the OL look? Gilbert: Young. They'll improve if they'll put in the work.
Trent Domingue (LSU kicker) gets here next week.
Incredibly respectful and polite. John Burt appears to enjoy the clinic immensely and led the participants out of the tunnel like it was a real game. He motivates everyone and spends his down time dancing. He was throwing the balls for receiver drills and whenever he threw a bad ball to a camper, he'd apologize profusely and demand a re-do.
Denzel Okafor, Patrick Hudson and Tope Imade were there and looked "gigantic" and in "great shape."
All of the players spoke about how positive the coaches have been. They're trying to love up the youngsters and build their confidence knowing how many of them will be needed in September.
Her biggest takeaways were the positive atmosphere, the high engagement level of coaches and players and the total lack of condescension for the participants. The coaches and players took it seriously, wanted to be there, and treated every question and activity as worthwhile. The participants were treated like valued members of the Longhorn family and their enthusiasm was real.
It was pretty apparent to the women who attended and spent time with the staff and players that Charlie Strong actively promulgates a culture of respect for women. And people in general.
If you have any respect for your knowledge of the 2016 Texas Longhorns football season, buy the best football preview on the market.