The Arizona State football resurgence gets credited to Todd Graham, and rightfully so.
But behind the scenes, strength and conditioning coach Shawn Griswold makes sure the players are in peak physical shape to take on the rigorous Pac-12 season. Graham believes he wouldn't be in position to thrive without Griswold. The two have been working together off and on since 2004.
Griswold actually works harder during the offseason, as he pushes and assists the Sun Devils to get stronger before the opening whistle sounds off. Beyond the muscles and brute force, maintaining the proper conditioning also falls within his responsibilities.
While there are less game plan discussions during the bye week, the trips to the weight room become more frequent. Griswold kindly stopped by to answer some questions.
HoS: How do you think the team held up physically over the first 7 games?
Shawn Griswold: "Its been very good. We kind of base it off injury reports. Muscle beach hasn't been a lot of guys there. Same thing last year. You play with two corners and two safeties that didn't miss any games. That stat came out, might have been the first of the year, the stat came out that we only had five missed starts due to injury. We are blessed. Knock on wood. A lot of that is training. A lot of that is a kid buying into what we are doing. But some of it is luck too. The way we practice, the way our coaches teach fundamentals everyday, keeps us injury free too."
HoS: Does the training change during the bye week?
SG: "Yeah, we extended it. We add an extra workout to it. Maybe tomorrow morning we will lift again in a little game style setting as far as conditioning. We'll go four quarters. Obviously our conditioning is a factor in most games. You saw that against Washington, we ran 53 plays in the first half. And a lot of people have a hard time matching it. That's kind of what we are doing. We play a lot of teams. Washington State ran 101 [plays], so we are going to have to be able to play on defense."
HoS: How does the strength and conditioning evolve during the season?
SG: "Every season is different. Every team is different. So you got to kind of adjust it on the fly sometimes. You write the program out, but we change it as we see fit. Whether is has been a physical game, some guys got to go lighter. Depending on injury and those kind of things. Again we are still trying to stay strong and make some gains in the season. Especially with our guys who do not play a lot of snaps, they do different workouts than our guys that play a lot of snaps. So it is very individualized into 120 kids."
HoS: What three players have NFL type of physiques?
SG: "There's a lot in that senior class. I mean obviously Will [Sutton] has proven on and off the field that he can do it. Carl [Bradford] has got a chance, but he will come back next year as a senior. Jamil Douglas is a guy that [does not] get talked about much very much because he is an offensive lineman, he will have a chance. Chris Young I think will play. Marion Grice obviously not just production but some of the physical tools he has. There are some guys that are close."
HoS: What are your game day responsibilities?
SG: "For us on game days, the offense will do a stretch and film roll and the band stretch at the hotel after their meetings in the morning. Getting some hydration packets out to some of the guys that play. Come back here and do the Devil walk. In the locker room, my guys will stretch people. Whether it is manual stretch or we put the running backs through a little bit of performance stuff either outside or downstairs. Then we are doing special teams. As far as after the warmup, then we lead that and keep coach on time. As far as getting him onto the field and off the field. And during the game, we do special teams. As far as helping coach [Joe] Lorig get guys in the box.