Brady Collins insists that his daily intake of caffeine is modest.
“I have two cups of coffee,” he told me. “One in the morning on my drive to work and one after lunch.”
Perhaps I should have asked how many ounces are in each cup.
Consider some of the words that are used to describe the UC football program’s new strength and conditioning coach.
“Juiced is the first word that comes to mind,” said cornerback Grant Coleman. “I’ve never seen somebody as energized as him. He brings it every day and sets the tone.”
“If I had to pick one work to describe him it would be fireworks,” said kicker Andrew Gantz. “If you ever walk by the (practice) bubble when we’re working out it sounds like a freaking concert or something like that. He makes things a lot of fun.”
“Coach Brady is a ball of energy,” said running back Mike Boone. “From the time we walk in until the time we leave.”
When Luke Fickell was hired as Cincinnati’s head coach in December, he brought Collins with him from Ohio State where Brady had been an assistant for the past two years under esteemed former UC strength coach Mickey Marotti.
“Energy, energy, energy,” said head coach Luke Fickell. “Positive, positive, positive. He’s one of those guys that if I’m having a bad day, the first call that I’ll make is to Brady.”
“I would have followed that guy to the University of Alaska,” said Collins. “I would have gone anywhere with Coach Fick – he’s awesome.”
So if Collins isn’t guzzling coffee or Red Bull, where does all of that energy come from?
“It’s just my natural personality and who I am,” Brady told me. “Up-tempo, passion, energy, juice – all that stuff. These kids have so many stresses in life that when they come into the weight room I want it to be fun, I want it to be loud, and I want it to be nuts. If they see me with my head down and I’m not loud or I’m not excited, they feed off that. The number one thing that I’m always thinking of is these kids and making sure that when they come in, their energy level is through the roof. When they’re under our watch, it’s high-octane crazy stuff.”
That was obvious in early January when Collins began conducting 6:00 am outdoor “attention training” workouts.
“How hard is it to crawl through mud or snow?” said Fickell. “It’s not that hard. But it’s hard mentally. We wanted to see how committed they were and how much work we needed to do.”
“I won’t lie to you,” said Collins. “When we came in, we anticipated friction and guys not wanting to buy in. It was the complete opposite. It was almost like they ripped their chests open and said, ‘Please coach us.’ It was like we hit them in the face, they took a step back, and then they stepped right back up and wanted more. Once we saw that, I said, “We got ‘em.’ You were either in or out and everybody was in.”
“Everybody’s open to it,” said Coleman. “And if somebody’s not, they’re out of here. That’s just how it is.”
Coleman says he’s put on 22 pounds of muscle since January. Offensive lineman Korey Cunningham, on the other hand, dropped 12 pounds and lowered his body fat.
“Gains in our strength and speed are a given, but the bigger thing is the bond we’ve developed from the hard work that we’ve gone through,” said quarterback Ross Trail.
“One of the reasons why this team is coming together so well is because of what him and Coach Fickell have done for the culture,” said Gantz.
“When I see them do something in the weight room or on the field, or when they do something in academics, they act differently,” said Collins. “They have smiles on their faces or they have their chests up. That’s what gets me going.”
In other words, it’s not those two cups of coffee.
“People always ask me, ‘Where do you get the energy?’” said Collins. “Really, I get it from these kids.
“We’re asking them to do ridiculous things and they can do it. They may not think that at first, but when you get their hearts and their minds, that’s when you win championships. That’s when you turn them into great men, great husbands, great fathers, and great representatives of the university.”
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