Rookies putting the wraps on their offseason program

Posted Jun 21, 2013

The veterans are gone, and so are Pete Carroll and his position coaches. But the Seahawks’ rookies are in the process of completing their offseason program with strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle and his staff.

The veterans might have left the building after last week’s minicamp, but the work and approach has only intensified this week for the Seahawks’ rookies as they move toward the final few days of their offseason program.

Friday’s workout included something head strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle calls “the triceps trifecta.”

“You do 20 pushups on a bench, 15 on a ball and then 10 on the ground,” Carlisle said. “When they’re done with their two sets of that, they can’t lift themselves off the ground.

“But they’re enjoying it. There’s a lot of teaching still going on with these young guys.”

That has been the focus of this extra time – four workouts this week and the final two on Monday and Tuesday.

“We’re going back through all our training and all our conditioning, which is different from the way some people do it,” said Carlisle, who was on coach Pete Carroll’s staff at USC and came to Seattle with him in 2010. “So we’re teaching this whole process about the Seahawks’ way – the way we think, the way we do things, the way we train.

“Like coach Carroll told me a long time ago, it’s all about preparing at the highest level so we can practice at the highest level so we can play at the highest level. And this is their preparation time. We’re preparing not only their bodies, we’re preparing their minds.”

The rookies are embracing “their” time.

“We’re all trying to work together and we all have the same goals,” said Jesse Williams, the 325-pound defensive tackle from Alabama who was selected in the fifth round of April’s NFL draft. “We’re working hard and trying to push each other to be the best we can.

“So it’s good to be on our own and work through everything ourselves.”

And the Seahawks’ way – which starts with Carroll, moves to his assistant coaches and ends up with the players – might not be the same way these rookies are used to doing things. While Williams arrived from Alabama, running back and second-round draft pick Christine Michael is from Texas A&M, defensive tackle and third-round pick Jordan Hill from Penn State and tackle and seventh-round pick Michael Bowie from Northeastern State in Oklahoma.

“For me, this has been really different,” Williams said. “Alabama is a really tough place to play. It’s super disciplined. Here things are different, starting with the tempo. But I feel comfortable coming in now and working out with everyone here.”

That’s another goal of these extra days for the rookies – getting them prepared for what will come when training camp practices begin on July 25.

“This is a great time,” Carlisle said. “We do our introductory course in teaching the rookies how we work here when they first come in after that rookie minicamp (in May). This is a good opportunity to re-teach it and get them ready to go into the book that we give them when they go home for the summer.

“It’s an acceleration of what they were doing, and it allows us to teach them some of the work we don’t do during minicamp but we’ll do during the offseason.”

It’s not just the veterans who have left the building, Carroll and his position coaches also have started their break. So these workouts are conducted by Carlisle and his assistants, Jamie Yanchar and Mondray Gee. But some things have not changed.

“I get to use coach Carroll’s words – Rule 1, Rule 2, Rule 3,” Carlisle said. “Teach them how we do things. Every time we can talk about it and bring it up again, we’re doing that. Coach Carroll says it. I say it. Same song, different drummer.” 

Those rules, in case you haven’t been paying attention: Rule 1, Always protect the team; Rule 2, No whining, no complaining, no excuses; Rule 3, Be early. And the sooner the rookies adopt them as a way of their Seahawks life, the better.

“We’re just helping them understand how it is important and how this whole system works because we all are on the same page,” Carlisle said. “These rules apply not only to the football field, they apply to life. So you try to teach these kids how to do things right all the time.”