Dick Harmon: BYU football program doing its best to get bigger, faster and stronger

Published: Saturday, May 28 2011 10:00 p.m. MDT

"I think the players have really responded well to the new trainers working with them," said quarterback Jake Heaps. "They've made things very specific to what we're doing and specializing on our workouts to improve our motion, speed and make us more flexible to do what we need to do."

Linebacker Kyle Van Noy said he's noticed a difference with his group — that players have reacted differently as it's gone on this winter but he's noticed a real difference in speed and reaction time.

"People are buying into it," he said.

"We had guys running around with their heads all crazy and their bodies all over the place and their knees weren't popping up like they should. To have a specialist work on those things is very helpful and I feel blessed to have the attention.

"They're breaking us down to where we are young again, like right out of the womb young. They're teaching us how to walk and run again and it isn't easy. It's frustrating at times but it's working."

How productive is it?

So far, you only have testimonials. Mendenhall will time and test his football team in June and perhaps again in August.

We'll know when Mendenhall takes his crew through two-a-days just before the Cougars open the season at the University of Mississippi.

We might even know in a few weeks when Mendenhall does his annual Eco Challenge.

It will be interesting to see if BYU's team is actually collectively faster with fewer muscle pulls.

I asked a veteran observer familiar with the process what he believed to be the value of the new program.

"If done right, it will mean the difference of two wins this season," he said.

How so?

"It means perhaps not having a Harvey Unga on the sidelines or a Jacobson missing for a quarter of the season. It means more real physical economy by our athletes and fewer injuries, more efficiently run plays and quality depth," he said.

OK, since it's spring, I'll bite.

It sounds like good knowledge and valuable application of sound training and conditioning.

But we'll see. Definitely, it seems more with the times.

It's also nice to see that since BYU's College of Life Science preaches all these principles, the football team is actually putting the theories to practice.

email: dharmon@desnews.com

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