The physical transformation of the football team at FAMU from last winter to now highlights the player’s level of commitment, attention to detail and accountability.
Within days after the final snap of the Florida Classic, returners were back in the weight room prepping for the next season. To a man, each one set a disciplined goal to increase their lifts, muscle mass and set new marks for reps.
FAMU’s chief engineer constructing the top-rate fitness plans for the football program is strength and conditioning coach Parker Brooks.
The native of Tuscaloosa and former strength coach at Alabama (2009-15) is entering his fourth year with the Rattlers. He was the lone holdover from the previous coaching staff before the arrival of Willie Simmons.
Brooks is well-versed in his field. He single-handedly covers all sports at FAMU.
For the football program, he has customized plans are designed to enhance power performances for all 11 positions.
“We have a great template. Don’t change too many variables at once. I already felt like we were doing the right thing. We just have to do the simple better. That’s the secret,” Brooks said.
Along with a series of bench presses, squats and curls, Brooks incorporates elements of yoga to his training sessions. However, he primarily focuses on functional range conditioning.
Brooks is helping players with isometric tension which will be applicable for running, blocking and tackling.
“This is going through movements under a load with weight and holding those movements,” Brooks said. “We are creating strength around the joint and joint capsule. This will, in turn, increase the range of motion.”
The foundation for his format is based on the plans of Al Vermeil. He is the only strength coach to have rings from the Super Bowl and NBA Finals.
Players are performing “high/low” activities six days a week. Sunday is an off day for rest and recovery.
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Monday, Wednesday and Friday include sprints and explosive Olympic lifts. These are the high-intensity workouts. Tuesday, Thursday and
Saturday features a controlled-level of conditioning.
There’s also a high level of accountability and self-policing.
Quarterback Ryan Stanley, wide receiver Marcus Williams, linebacker Elijah Richardson and nickleback Terry Jefferson are team leaders in the huddle and weight room.
They serve as de facto assistants under Brooks ensuring teammates are on time and completing their training assignments.
“These guys are like coaches,” Brooks said. “I can tell them what I need and they’ll do it. They know what I know. I’ve come up here and E-Rich has guys running stadiums for being late.”
Players respond well to Brooks’ coaching. They cite his program as the reason behind the noticeable difference in their bodies and stamina.
The team is anxious to show off the byproduct of their workouts against the opposition this season.
“He’s a nutrition and strength science genius,” Jefferson said. “I’ve seen improvements in my body whether I wanted to lose weight, gain weight or get faster. We’ve all bought into what he’s been telling us. He’s never led us the wrong way.”
On Thursday, the football program received the first phase of its nutrition station from the 220 Quarterback Club. The weight room now has boxes of Gatorade, Muscle Milk, and fruit. The Club also presented a check for $32,000.
“This is a blessing. It’s finally come to fruition,” Brooks said. “You can’t out-train nutrition. We didn’t have a hard work problem. We had a recovery problem. Now, we can operate like some of the bigger schools.”