Last month Defensive Line Coach for the New York Jets, Karl Dunbar, shared his thoughts with us on training camp. For Coach Dunbar, it’s a time to get away and focus solely on football. He needs to prepare his team to play at a high level and teach them proper techniques. We wanted to dive a little deeper with Coach Dunbar to discover tips and tricks of NFL training.
1. What are the best exercises to get your team in shape?
The best exercises to do to get your team in shape is “contact”, all out scrimmaging without taking guys to the ground. There aren’t many drills I know of other than that! The weight of the pads and the pushing and pulling of other players are hard to simulate. That’s why I really think if a player comes to training camp in excellent shape it will take him 2 to 2-1/2 weeks to get into football shape.
2. How do you incorporate endurance training?
We try to start off by giving the players 3 reps at a time before switching groups and as the practices go on we increase the reps to 4-5-6-7 and sometimes 10 plays before we give them a break. This way they will be able to handle a regular offensive drive during a game.
3. What portion of time do you spend on strength training?
The guys lift weights 3 to 4 days a week and workouts last from 45 minutes to an hour. They do machine base lifts as well as free weights. Leg press, shoulder press, leg extension and curls on machines and then bench press, squats, dumb bell curls and power cleans would be the free weights.
4. What about drills?
Drills are more position specific. Everyone does the quickness and change of direction drills but receivers and defensive backs run farther than the other positions because that’s what they do on the field. The offensive line and defensive line do more short burst and rest while the running backs and linebackers do a little of both.
5. Is balance and agility a part of training?
Balance is very important as well as core (abs) strength. That’s why the guys do free weights, to work on their balance, and the abdominal and back workout ties the upper and lower body together.
6. Over the course of your career, you have worked with many talented athletes. Tell us about some unusual techniques your players (past and present) have used for conditioning, for example; sumo, stair running, flying trapeze, etc.
Some of my guys over the years have engaged in boxing, MMA, wrestling, yoga, karate, and some hired a former Marine Drill Sgt. to put them thru a mini boot camp! Guys try all sorts of things looking for an edge!
7. What are you most excited about for the 2012 football season?
The thing I’m most excited about for this season is getting to see our younger guys play and contribute to the team with our veterans! We have a nice mixture of defensive linemen and since it’s my first year with them, in the words of #57 Bart Scott, “Can’t Wait!”
8. Other thoughts on training?
Training Camp was awesome and the people of Cortland treated us like family. It was great to get away, but it was great to get back home and see my girls and sleep in my own bed.
More updates soon.
NFL Defensive Line Coach for New York Jets