Big 12: Workout warriors

Dobson reshaping Cornhuskers' storied weight program

May, 20, 2009
5/20/09
3:05
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Coming into the Nebraska football offices every day for James Dobson is akin to a pianist heading into Carnegie Hall.

Dobson feels like he's carrying on a unique tradition for the Cornhuskers, who pioneered the concepts of a modern strength and conditioning program with Boyd Epley's ground-breaking work back with the programs in the late 1960s.

"This is a very unique place for strength and conditioning," said Dobson, who arrived from Iowa several weeks after Bo Pelini was hired. "Boyd got it started and Mike Arthur really developed strength and conditioning into what it is today here. It's very special to be a part of it."

Despite that lofty and storied history, Dobson has been able to place his own stamp on the Nebraska program after only one season directing the strength and conditioning program.

Charged by Pelini to help develop speed, particularly for players in the offensive and defensive lines, Dobson instituted a plan to help his players in the trenches lose weight.

The result was improved performance in both groups by emphasizing leaner, quicker athletes in his first season. It paid off with a 9-4 record last season, capped by a Gator Bowl victory over Clemson.

That strong finish helped catapult the Cornhuskers through a strong second season in Dobson's program, building on their work of the first year there.

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Kazadi fostering new attitude among Baylor players

May, 18, 2009
5/18/09
12:52
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

After orchestrating organized chaos every day in his weight room, Baylor strength coach Kaz Kazadi has a unique way of relieving his own stress.

Long after his players have left the weight room, Kazadi gets his chance to work the machines late at night.

He'll stop for a few minutes as the only person in the gleaming room with floor-to-ceiling mirrors. While there, he'll practice what he preaches to the Bears -- albeit at a much more sedate pace than what he typically fosters during their workouts.

 
  Baylor Athletics
  Quarterback Robert Griffin has taken advantage of the strength program at Baylor.

"I might have some slow rhythm-and-blues, maybe crank up some Marvin Gaye or some real slow jazz while I work out to really help me unwind," Kazadi said. "It's vital to my performance and longevity to do this. I have to be ready to emulate what we're preaching."

The extra work in the weight room obviously has paid off for Kazadi, a former linebacker at Tulsa. His own career isn't that far removed after he was sixth-round draft choice who spent a season with the St. Louis Rams in 1997. Later, he played four more seasons in various professional leagues before deciding to go into strength and conditioning coaching.

Today, he looks like he could still stack up a ball carrier or two in the Oklahoma Drill. With his bald head, ripped build and intense nature, Kazadi is reminiscent of Lou Gossett in "An Officer and a Gentleman" in his role of a drill sergeant training his young troops.

Kazadi hasn't been involved in any scrapes with any recalcitrant Baylor players like Gossett when he squared off with Richard Gere in a climactic scene from the movie. But if he did, it's understandable that Kazadi could take of himself against nearly any member of his team.

"If you are selling beauty products you have to look like you've used them," Kazadi said. "The whole thing is working with 18 to 20 year old kids who look my way, they have to know that I'm practicing what I'm preaching."

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