New strength coach Rod Payne leads offseason workouts in the weight room
One of the most common offseason statements in college football is that games are often won before they are even played, in the weight room.
For Florida Atlantic football, that means lifting weights and working out in the summer under the supervision of first-year head strength coach Rod Payne, is one of the fundamental keys to a successful season.
Just by listening to some of the player’s reactions around the locker room about this year’s offseason, you can tell that something has changed this summer compared to others before. That change is the new weight training regiment Coach Payne has brought to the football program.
Making the switch from the defensive line coaching position to the head strength coaching job back in March, Payne has put a plan in place that revolves around getting players stronger over time and developing leadership traits in the process.
“Were going to make a real push to step it up, as far as guy’s ability to sustain strength, not just to be strong, but be able to sustain it,” Payne explained.
Payne’s program is based around the concept of two laws: John C. Maxwell's Laws of Strength and Victory, both of which are posted outside of the weight room on a wall. Courage, success, loyalty, leadership ability, and finding a way to win, are some of the principles in the laws that have been translated into the workout plan.
Leadership is one of the biggest things that Payne is asking out of players in the weight room and is relying on the team’s seniors to make an impact by leading their peers during the workouts. Also installing dynamic weight lifitng sets and warm-ups, Payne and his staff want players to develop as an overall team and build long term strength for the season.
And improvements are being noted.
“With the new strength program and coaches, I have definitely improved,” senior linebacker Michael Lockley said while leaving the weight room. “I’d started off benching 275 pounds in my sets of 4, now it’s jumped all the way up to 330 pounds. My squat max was at 550, now I’m up to 600 pounds, and I’m hoping to get 700 before the season starts.”
Lockleys’ goal could become reality as this is the most improvement he has seen while being a member of the FAU football team.
“I think the intensity we have seen in the short time, has proven that were getting the job done,” Payne said of the workouts conducted so far and the improvements by the athletes.
Players are running and working on agility every Monday, Wednesday and Friday while lifting weights on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Two separate group’s workout at different times, either at 6 a.m. or 10 a.m. in the morning, while the strength staff is on hand to provide instruction.
“I think this is one of the most important roles next to being the head coach and the coordinators, because you have to get guys physically prepaid,” said Payne of his new role with the football team.
With football coaches only allowed to work with players during certain periods of the year, Payne gets to see the players the most. Him and his staff are the only ones given the opportunity to train and develop players in the offseason and they are responsible for getting them ready for the upcoming season.
Payne, a former NFL offensive lineman, gained most of his offseason training experience while playing seven years in the league and earning All-American honors at the University of Michigan. The goal for him is to translate the success he had, to the players he develops in the Owls weight room.
“I’m pleased with Rod Payne and his staff, and the things they are doing and have confidence that we will be well conditioned for pre-season in early August,” said Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger of Payne and his offseason development with the players.
“Were getting at it,” Lockley said of the new training routine with a smile on his face.
The Owls and Coach Payne have just under four more weeks of morning workouts until reporting to fall camp on August 7th.