Training program

FSU football shows progress in ‘Tour of Duty’ training program

One of the only days Josh Storms allowed Florida State Football Players to bring their phones into the weight room, he’s noticed a way the program has changed since he took over as director of strength and conditioning two offseasons ago.

Former Seminole players like Jermaine Johnson watched the current team participate in their “Squat Party”, a highlight of the “Tour of Duty” winter training program. Storms said Johnson contacted linebacker Amari Gainer via FaceTime to observe the practice.

In FSU’s Squat Party, each player tests their limits on a squat rack as their teammates crowd around them to cheer them on and create a noisy environment. Johnson, who was preparing for this week’s NFL Scouting Combine, didn’t want to miss it.

“It’s cool because it shows the impact work can have on a program,” Storms said.

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Two years ago, Storms walked into a messy spot left by deposed head coach Willie Taggart. There was a lot of work to be done for a program that was sorely lacking in strength and conditioning.

Renovating the Moore Athletic Center weight room last offseason gave the Seminoles a major facility upgrade. The influence of the Storms’ Tour of Duty program on players and culture also helped.

Media observed the hour-long FSU Tour of Duty session on Tuesday. One player who has demonstrated the benefits of the Storms program is redshirt freshman defensive tackle Joshua Farmer.

FSU Farmer, who finished his high school career at nearby Gadsden County Highat 250 pounds when he signed for his 2021 recruiting class. Earlier this week, Seminole defensive coordinator Adam Fuller told The Jeff Cameron Show that Farmer is now up to 300 pounds.

The transfer of Arizona State wide receiver Johnny Wilson also seemed to benefit from the Tour of Duty. At 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds, Wilson moved well for his height.

“The first week here was almost like a shock to my body,” Wilson said in January. “I felt like I had never lifted like this before the way they lift here. I never ran like I ran here when I got here. It was like a big shock. »

Wilson is one of 22 midyear registrants for the Seminoles — 12 from high school and 10 through the transfer portal. They each signed up in January and will start their first of 15 spring football training sessions on Saturday. The last practice will be the Garnet & Gold Spring Game on April 9th.

Part of what will make this experience different for these mid-year additions is the persistent demands of Tour of Duty workouts.

“What surprises them isn’t just that it’s tough, it’s how consistent it is,” Storms said. “Every day comes in waves. Comes in waves. Comes in waves.

“It’s not like one of those places you’ve come from before where you have one or two of these really tough days throughout the winter, and everyone has made a fuss about it. Here, when they enter, they realize it’s Monday. It’s Tuesday. It’s Wednesday. It’s Thursday. It’s Friday. It’s next week. Next week. Next week.

“That’s the biggest surprise for the guys, but that’s also where you see the progress in that consistency. The one thing we teach these young men coming into the program is consistency. Not just work. , but how you show up at work every day.

The first impression of Jared Verse

There’s not much to take away from this hour-long Tour of Duty viewing session.

None of the players were able to make contact. None of the players wore pads. None of the players were involved in positional drills. And even a soccer ball could not be used. From offseason through spring football, NCAA rules only allow players to participate in strength and conditioning type work in the presence of coaches.

Jared Verse still managed to leave a positive first impression. Albany transfer defensive end announced watched the part physically. He just looked and moved differently than a lot of the players around him.

“Jared has been a stallion. Super mature kid,” Storms said. “It stood out straight away during the recruiting process and when he arrived. While you’re talking to him, he sounds like one of our veterans, even though he’s been in college for two years. A very different path that got him here, but you see him stepping in and being an older guy with the way he carries himself. The guys look at him.

“He is a certified freak of nature. So it gives you some credibility on the street. But when you see his consistency, you see him coming into the program as a new guy conducting himself like a professional. Act like a guy who’s been around. A guy who doesn’t need to be taught. A guy who knows how to step in and be a pro is huge.

“It makes him a guy that young people can watch to see how to do it. And also for old people, the old saying ‘iron sharpens iron’. You want to bring in some very talented guys to push your existing talents as well.

Other noteworthy points

FSU has given three players the honor of wearing black game jerseys, meaning who is currently one of the best Tour of Duty performers: redshirt sophomore quarterback Tate Rodemaker, running back redshirt junior defensive tackle Renardo Green and redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Malcom Ray.

Green started in two of the nine games he played last season but missed time due to injury.

“A guy who’s been at his best,” Storms of Green said. “He’s had times since we’ve been here where he’s been very successful. And he’s had times where he’s been through tough times and ups and downs.

“That winter program, it’s always been at the top it’s been. It’s been really fun to watch it, to see it grow. And not just physically, but in what it’s become around the guys. and what he shows every day.”

Running back Treshaun Ward and offensive lineman Kayden Lyles were among the other stars. Ward looked quick during agility work and seemed like a vocal leader. Lyles showed the athleticism he showed as a two-way player for the University of Wisconsin.

In January, Lyles officially joined the Seminoles as a transfer from the Badgers. He quickly assumed a leadership role and figures to compete for the starting center position.

“He’s an older presence,” Storms said. “So he can take these young guys. You see him shooting a guy like (redshirt freshman offensive lineman) Bryson Estes here. You see these guys spend a lot of time.

“So not only is Kayden doing a great job of developing physically, learning the system and those things. But you’re watching a guy who just got here, he’s also actively improving younger guys.

“So the impact he’s going to have on this program won’t just be this year on the pitch. It’s the impact Kayden is going to have for years to come with what these young O linemen become. The leadership that is in this room is a big part of that.

Contact Carter Karels at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @Carter Karels.

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