University of Hawaii football team pushing for more power

Aug. 25—Safety Peter Manuma's transformation was the prototype.

After delaying his enrollment for a semester, the Campbell High graduate joined the Warriors in

January 2022. In six months, under

a program directed by strength/

conditioning coordinator Kody Cooke, Manuma reshaped into an

action figure. Manuma was a play-

making safety as a freshman last year.

This offseason, starting quarterback Brayden Schager benefited

from the program that helped him gain strength and quickness.

"He's a strong kid in general," Cooke said of Schager, who grew up in Highland Park, Texas. "I think a lot of kids you get from Texas come from really good strength programs. We were able to build off the foundation he had when he got here."

One aspect was to increase Schager's out-of-pocket speed. "We wanted to capitalize on his acceleration," Cooke said. "That's what he's going

to need if he's going to scramble and pick up five yards."

By working on lower-body workouts, such as back squats, Schager strengthened his legs, which gave him more powerful — and quicker — strides. It also allowed him to step into throws, which lengthened his passes. Schager, who is 6 feet 3, weighed between 225 and 230 pounds ahead of training camp. The intent was to be over the goal in anticipation of losing 5 pounds during the training-camp grind. Schager now weighs about 222. "A guy who's listed as a pocket quarterback is going to take some shots," Cooke said. "We want him durable in the pocket."

The Warriors had to adjust their offseason program because the Ching Complex, their on-campus facility for home games, underwent seating expansion from March through July. Instead of a late March start, the first of 15 spring practices began in February.

January was MTA month —

mental-toughness awareness — in which the players focused on the details of training. After spring training, workouts were separated into force (heavy squat and clean workouts to improve acceleration), speed (lower-body workouts that entail quick-lift reps and one-legged drills) and power.

"When guys first get here, we teach them to move in the right way," Cooke said. "It helps us to identify what their deficiencies are. If there's a guy who lacks hip mobility, we can identify that and work on that a little extra to make sure they're quality movers."

During the summer, each Warrior will be measured for a vertical jump off padded flooring. The maximum-

height touch and flight time are recorded as baselines. Each Monday beginning with training camp, players will be tested on the vertical jump. Those numbers are compared against a player's baseline.

"If they're below 1 1/2 inches of their baselines, then they'll get flagged," Cooke said. "If they're more than 2 inches below, they'll be red-flagged, and that's when we'll

either shut guys down or modify what their practices look like (that week). It gives us a really good opportunity to see how they're recovering from the game, how they're recovering from practice And that's why we set up fall camp to be really like game weeks."

On game weeks, the Warriors have "recovery" sessions on Mondays, physical practices on Tuesdays and Wednesday, light workouts on Thursday, and quick runthroughs on Fridays. Red-flagged players might be withheld from contact drills on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

Cooke said if a player with a 40-inch baseline drops to 37 inches on a Monday, "then we know, even if he might not feel tired, his central nervous system — the way his brain is interacting with his muscles — is not firing as fast as it really could. Our job is to bring him back for game day."

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