Originally posted on The Lady Sportswriter  |  Last updated 2/23/12
Sherman Armstrong is the latest addition to Georgia's strength staff, hired to replace the departed Thomas Brown, and he's a hire that from the outside seems a bit curious. Armstrong is a "speed development specialist" by trade and hasn't had much experience working specifically as a collegiate strength and conditioning coach. Much of his work has been done with NFL athletes and college athletes who are looking to train for the NFL Combine and want to improve their stock.

According to an article published by Gentry Estes of Dawgs247 ($), Armstrong is a 33-year old former All-American sprinter for the University of Illinois track team and he's been hired by Georgia's football program to help increase speed as well as assist in strength development.

"My primary role is to help our athletes get faster, loosen their hips up and pretty much improve the team's overall speed at every position...That's the No. 1 goal. And then to also assist Coach T and the staff in helping our athletes develop strength."

Armstrong's training philosophies focus on technique, speed, and proper running mechanics. He studies the way an athlete moves vs. the way he should be moving and uses that knowledge to help players improve upon their skill-set no matter what position they play.

Over the last several seasons, the Bulldogs have signed a lot of "track" guys who also happen to play football. Think Todd Gurley, Justin Scott-Wesley, and Branden Smith. And while all are very talented and accomplished athletes in their own respects, applying what you do with your track and field skills to make it work most effectively as a football player can be a transition that takes some time to master.

Most guys get away with doing things improperly from a technique standpoint because they are faster than the competition, but being able to use that speed in a consistently effective way will be an invaluable resource for both the guys who are just coming into the program as well as those who are looking to increase their stock and move on to the next level in 2013.

Below you will see a couple of clips that emphasize specific elements of Armstrong's philosophy and training approach.

Clip #1: Lateral Movement



You can't help but wonder how much this will help Scott Lakatos' efforts with his defensive backs—particular Branden Smith who is still coming into his own as a corner.

Clip #2: Proper Running Mechanics



This could play a pivotal role for coach Bryan McClendon. The Georgia running backs haven't been nearly as successful over the last few seasons as the talent-level would imply they should have been. If McClendon and Armstrong are able to come together with a plan of action for molding these young tailbacks into more consistently productive runners, it could be a game changer for the offense.

Clip #3: Defensive Backs



The last part where he discusses his philosophy on 4th quarter preparedness stands out the most as one of the things I've noticed about the secondary is a tendency to get more vulnerable as each offensive series rolls on. The defensive front of Georgia was so dominant last season that the secondary really wasn't as tested as it maybe could have been. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, it does make the deficiencies that do get caught that much more glaring. Keeping that in mind, it will be good to see more focus put on the fundamentals of playing defensive back as opposed to just playing in coverage.

Last one...



As Georgia went into this off-season, a lot of chatter surrounded the "toughness" of true freshman running back, Isaiah Crowell. Despite his ability to nearly eclipse the 1,000 yard mark and garner SEC Freshman of the Year honors, many wondered if he had what it took to be an every-down back (EDB) given what was seemingly becoming his penchant for injuries.

Crowell downplayed many of the questions and made it known that his focus would be on "getting his wind up" so he could be more productive in the future. Armstrong's statement about fatigue being a factor in the above drills as well as his statement of getting the athletes to push through that while still maintaining proper form—thereby limiting their injury chances—is something that will certainly bear keeping notice of this season.

I'm a realist where this hire is concerned. I understand that miracles aren't happening the moment Armstrong steps into the Butts-Mehre building. But, I also know that a strategic hire like this one can propel a strength program to that next level if incorporated properly.

I like what Armstrong brings to the table and I'm looking forward to seeing how it impacts the S&C program in 2012.



Read more sports commentary at: http://theladysportswriter.blogspot.com/


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