Over a month ago in the "what changes will Jimbo Fisher make" article, Tomahawk Nation suggested that Florida State would hire a disciple of LSU strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffit, if they could not steal Moffit himself away from the Tigers. The two most likely candidates were Vic Viloria of SMU and another from Western Kentucky. A source close to the situation informs us that the hire has been made and Vic Viloria is Jimbo Fisher's man, replacing Todd Stroud, who was not retained. Viloria has also been influenced by coach Hatch, who stresses creating functional power over sheer numbers. He is considered a student of the S&C game, and while he looks like your traditional strength coach, he is not a meat head.
Viloria could not immediately be reached for comment, but one source familiar with S&C has this to say:
..., but Vic Viloria is the Godfather of college S&C right now. As a student, fan, and practitioner of S&C myself, I will be PSYCHED if/when they land him.
Watch the video (below) of the athletes he had to work with at SMU, and then compare then to what he walks into at Florida State—there is no comparison. From a S&C standpoint, the FSU guys are already "pretty good". Stroud was a decent strength coach. Difference is, now they have an AWESOME strength coach, coupled with a nutritional program (potentially 60% of the equation, or more), and a unified, focused change in the tone & atmosphere of the program.
Vic need to build functional strength….and he will. No point in benching 450 pounds if you cannot hold up at the point of attack (Budd Thacker). He needs to tailor the program to emphasize function over stats, and he will. No point in squatting 550 pounds if you lack the hip girdle flexibility to stay with a back in coverage or maneuver around the trash to make a play (Bradham). [Editor's note: Bradham worked a lot on his flexibility in the off-season and it showed this year, so Stroud should receive credit for that.]
Viloria was an assistant on Moffit's national champion LSU team. Fisher was the offensive coordinator of that team under Nick Saban. Moffitt is highly regarded in the S&C community, and when Saban needed a S&C coach at Alabama, he pursued another former Moffit assistant, Scott Cochran, who has done a phenomenal job for the Tide. Viloria is expected to start immediately and, paired with the new nutrition program, is expected to make the 'Noles much bigger come next year.
For more on the Hatch system, consider the work of Tommy Moffitt, the premier Hatch disciple in the college game:
"Four years after Tennessee installed the Hatch system, they won the national championship (1998)," Hatch said. "Four years after Miami installed the Hatch system, they won the national championship (2001).
"Four years after LSU installed it, LSU won the national championship (2003)."
A few years after USC installed it, they won the 2004 national championship. (Coach Carlisle)
And in its 3rd year under the Hatch system run by Moffitt disciple Scott Cochran, Alabama won the National Championship this year (2009).
Viloria is expected to install what is known as the 4th quarter program, currently used by LSU and Alabama:
Hatch's system ignores the trendy machines of the high-tech age and the emphasis on bodybuilding techniques embraced by the likes of Charles Atlas and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Hatch combined Olympic lifts of free weights with plyometric and jumping drills to develop explosive strength for football players.
"Pure strength that can't be converted to athletic strength is of no use to an athlete," Hatch said, launching into an example using a former LSU football player. "A delivery man can move a refrigerator 10 yards, but he can't move it as fast as (former LSU defensive lineman) Booger McFarland can move it 10 yards.
"In Olympic-style lifts, you're standing on your feet. That's the way you play football. You're not laying on your back like you would for a bench press."
The Hatch system focuses on overall explosive strength and doesn't target body parts the way bodybuilders sculpt themselves for on-stage posing or the beach.
"In Olympic lifting and in football, your body is working as a single unit," Hatch said. "You don't use your hamstrings on one play and your pecs the next."
Football players do specific leg, hip and back work, but it's part of a system that strengthens those areas for better explosive strength in competition. Hatch said the system also demands -- and exacts -- mental toughness.
Athletes that have trained with Coach Hatch have great respect for him and are quick to sing his praises. Warrick Dunn seeked out Coach Hatch the summer of his senior year in high school. His mother, Betty Smothers a Baton Rouge police woman, was shot and killed and suddenly Warrick's role as big brother to his five younger siblings changed to that of a father figure. His approach to football also changed. There were goals and hopes and dreams of making it big at F.S.U. and being drafted by the N.F.L. Dunn continued to train with Coach Hatch each summer during his college career and his explosive strength improved each year while keeping his quickness and speed.
Defensive tackle Chad Lavalais, a consensus All-America [LSU 2001], said the LSU strength and conditioning program, including an offseason running program that features Saban's infamous series of 110-yard sprints, 26 at a time, is the most demanding physical test he's ever endured.
"I'm not saying it's impossible to do," Lavalais said. "You can do it, but they make it so hard to where the games come easy. There's no game I've played in that's as hard as the 110s that we run in the offseason.
"That's a testament to the coaching staff, the strength coaches. If you go out there with the mindset that you want to get better and try to kill all these sprints and the weight training we do, when it comes time for the game, it's a breeze."
Lavalais said players on other teams say they don't do nearly as much as the Tigers. Then he laughs, like someone with a satisfying secret. Source: lhttp://www.gaylehatch.com/HatchingAChampion.htm
Florida State's players have been considered very undersized for some time now, and last season an NFL scout came out with comments on ProFootballTalk.com that said "their development program is a joke. I have no idea what they do with their guys."
Many felt that Florida State focused too much on conditioning and not enough on strength, specifically functional strength. That was exacerbated by the decision by the departed staff to focus on speed as opposed to speed and size in the recruiting game as the program began to fall apart, and the previous staff was unable to reel in the recruits possessing size and strength. That issue is being addressed under the new administration.
While strength and conditioning progressed in the 1990's-2000's, FSU had a major drop off under Coach Jost, under whom Florida State's strength program took a massive nose dive with his archaic and inefficient methods. Another problem was the complete lack of syngery between the strength coach and the position coaches. Under the new regime, players who do not fully buy in will not be retained (see above linked article). While Todd Stroud was not a bad S&C coach, he is not on Viloria's level.
Here is some background on Viloria, courtesy SMUMustangs.com:
A Mustang through and through, Vic Viloria is in his third season as SMU's Head Strength & Conditioning Coach He arrived at SMU after serving as an assistant strength & conditioning coach at LSU for two years where he worked with the Tiger football, baseball, swimming and golf teams.
Viloria, a graduate of SMU, was a four-year letterman and three-year All-WAC performer as a Mustang player. He led SMU in tackles for three straight seasons and recorded at least 10 tackles in 21 games over his career before being drafted by the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe.
A native of Chalmette, La., Viloria is married to the former Randi Taylor, a former SMU sprinter. They are the proud parents of a daughter, Taylor Ann, and also have two dogs, Lucy and Rocky
It is also interesting to note that Viloria was the only major member of the Mustang staff retained by SMU's new head coach, June Jones.
Here is a video of Viloria outlining his philosophies. This is considered an excellent hire.