Hogs switching to ‘Tru’ mindset as football team readies for winter conditioning

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Sunday, January 14, 2018
Arkansas strength and conditioning coach Trumain Carroll speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Ben Goff
Arkansas strength and conditioning coach Trumain Carroll speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- New Arkansas football Coach Chad Morris said the returning Razorbacks will start getting a "Tru" vision of the hallmarks of his program when they begin winter conditioning next week.

The first immersion into the Morris blueprint for success will have little to do with Xs and Os and a lot more to do with cardio exercise, yoga and stamina building under strength and conditioning coach Trumain "Tru" Carroll and his staff.

"Obviously, we've got to change some things, like the way we're going to do some things in the weight room, and Coach Tru will tell you a little bit more about that," Morris said at the news conference to introduce Carroll and coordinators John Chavis and Joe Craddock last week. "That's going to be the biggest shock that's going to hit these guys between the eyes here in a few days."

Carroll's staff includes associate coach Rhett Brooks and assistants Chad Cain, Marc Soltis and Lance Yancy. Soltis received a certification in yoga instruction and will lead that segment of training, which is to assist with flexibility and focus.

Because Morris runs a quick-tempo offense, the linemen must combine power with stamina. New offensive line coach Dustin Fry, speaking after Morris' introductory news conference Dec. 7, put it this way: We like our linemen a little leaner.

Carroll said he will take input from Morris and both coordinators and tailor the training program to each position group and to individuals within those groups.

"Obviously we want our linemen to be strong, physical at the point of contact, and make people go that way, as well as be able to move," Carroll said. "Obviously they're a good strong group, but we have some mobility issues. That's going to be addressed as soon as we hit the door.

Carroll went on to give overviews of the other position groups.

"With our big skill positions -- tight ends, linebackers, our quarterbacks -- we want those guys to be mobile, be able to move well in space, but be able to pack a punch when it's time to come up and deliver a blow," he said.

"Then with our skill positions, we have to have those guys be able to make people miss, outrun people. As Coach Morris talked about, you either have speed or you're chasing speed. We're going to make sure we develop speed ... and people are actually chasing us."

Carroll said his role in leading the strength and conditioning staff can be broken down into four phases: training, nutrition, recovery and re-enforcing the culture Morris wants to create.

"The fourth piece, and the biggest piece in my opinion and the thing that made us special at SMU, was the culture that Coach Morris implemented," Carroll said. "I feel like with our staff that's the biggest part of our job, implementing the culture. These young men, they're going to be successful on the football field, but it's much more than that.

"It's much deeper than that. It's to make these young men respectable and go about taking care of business in the classroom, out in the community, respectful to you guys in the media, and just making sure they're well-rounded people.

"Hopefully these guys play football for a really long time, but we want to make sure we're developing them as young men so that when the game does come to an end for them they're going to be successful out in life."

Carroll said he will consult with head athletic trainer Matt Summers to come up with specific routines for workouts that will be dependent on injury histories or other aspects of a player's needs.

"When we write our program, each guy is going to have what we call pre-hab movements," Carroll said. "If a guy comes in and has had some ankle issues or shoulder issues, we want to implement exercises that are going to allow him to turn those inefficiencies into strengths so we don't have any chinks in our armor."

Craddock, the offensive coordinator, was asked what he's seen of the quarterbacks since his arrival.

"It's hard because Cole [Kelley] really is the only one that's gotten a lot of reps," said Craddock, who added that the coaches have gone back and looked at a lot of practice tape. "I've talked to those guys about what we're going to be about, what we're going to do, so they can go ahead and start working on that. I think Cole's biggest thing is he's got to drop some weight, which isn't a new thing for us."

Craddock said SMU starting quarterback Ben Hicks lost between 15 pounds and 20 pounds during last offseason.

"He really played at a high level this year," Craddock said. "I'm sure that with Cole, and I actually talked to him this morning and he's down some weight, so we're really excited about that."


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