Glenn Dorsey and Early Doucet's NFL Combine Training

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It's easy to resent athletes who seem to have it all: guys who make the big plays, win championships, get the glory and become top NFL Draft picks–and do it all with a sense of ease. They are, in effect, living out your dream. So it might comfort you to know that, although they recently won the national title and are destined to become NFL stars, nothing has come easy for Glenn Dorsey and Early Doucet. They appreciate every second of their journeys and every opportunity that has come their way. They've battled to get to where they now are–and they will continue fighting, knowing that tomorrow is never guaranteed.

Throughout their entire 2007 national championship campaign, the LSU Tigers emphasized unity. They entered two-a-days together, took their lumps together and won the title together. So it's no surprise that two of the squad's key members are entering the next stage of their football careers side by side.

Glenn Dorsey and Early Doucet are leaving the Bayou behind to live out their long-held NFL dreams, with the help of Combine guru Tom Shaw. After a typically grueling Shaw workout, surrounded by several other NFL hopefuls, the two ex-Tigers reminisce about their BCS win over Ohio State. No bragging or showmanship, just simple appreciation.

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It's easy to resent athletes who seem to have it all: guys who make the big plays, win championships, get the glory and become top NFL Draft picks–and do it all with a sense of ease. They are, in effect, living out your dream. So it might comfort you to know that, although they recently won the national title and are destined to become NFL stars, nothing has come easy for Glenn Dorsey and Early Doucet. They appreciate every second of their journeys and every opportunity that has come their way. They've battled to get to where they now are–and they will continue fighting, knowing that tomorrow is never guaranteed.

Throughout their entire 2007 national championship campaign, the LSU Tigers emphasized unity. They entered two-a-days together, took their lumps together and won the title together. So it's no surprise that two of the squad's key members are entering the next stage of their football careers side by side.

Glenn Dorsey and Early Doucet are leaving the Bayou behind to live out their long-held NFL dreams, with the help of Combine guru Tom Shaw. After a typically grueling Shaw workout, surrounded by several other NFL hopefuls, the two ex-Tigers reminisce about their BCS win over Ohio State. No bragging or showmanship, just simple appreciation.

"When we knew we had the game wrapped up, I went over to Glenn," Early says. "We had told each other that before we left LSU, we were going to win a national championship, whatever it took. To fulfill that dream and accomplish that goal was an awesome feeling. To be able to share it with a guy like Glenn made it that much better."

While their championship goal was set during their freshman year, Glenn and Early were shooting for the NFL much earlier, despite small-town odds stacked against them. "As far back as elementary school, I would watch Michael Irvin, Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith, [then] I would go in my backyard and emulate the moves they were doing on TV," Early says. "I told myself that one day, I'd be able to do that. It's a big deal for me, because I will be the first guy from my town to make it to the NFL."

Glenn never let his grade-school daydream get out of control though; the big defensive tackle always assumed his chances were slim. "It was a big deal for me to even play college football," he says. "I was from Gonzales, Louisiana. We've got a lot of athletes down there, but most don't make it that far, so the odds are against you. You play little league ball, then high school ball and that's it. When I got the chance to go to LSU, it was kind of unreal, like I was dreaming. I just want to be that guy to represent my hometown. They're all proud of me and support me, [so] I just want to do my best for them."

Small town odds were hardly Glenn's biggest obstacle. The same powerful legs he used to dominate double-and triple-teams for 69 tackles last season almost cost him his athletic career. As a child, Glenn was so severely bow-legged that he had to wear braces. Not exactly an auspicious beginning for the future winner of the Outland Trophy and the Nagurski, Lombardi and Lott Awards. "It almost ended before it got started," Glenn says, "I had to overcome that, but it taught me a lot about perseverance. You got to come out and overcome a lot of adversity. That helps me now when I get hurt and have to listen to everyone saying [that I can't get things done]."

Throughout their journeys, the two star athletes never would have guessed that every NFL team would want them on their roster. "When I got to the Senior Bowl, it started to set in," Early says. "The reality of being able to live out my childhood dream was overwhelming. I saw all the NFL coaches I had seen on TV and talked about with my friends. To sit down and talk to them and perform in front of them was overwhelming."

Glenn recognized a bit sooner that he was a hot commodity, but he still struggles to grasp how it transpired. "Toward the end of my junior season, I kept hearing people say my name and first-round draft pick," he says. "I was like, 'No way, man!' It was just regular old me playing ball like I always did. As more scouts [came] and I kept hearing my name, that's when I realized I actually had the opportunity to work out for the scouts at the next level."

A monstrous senior season, which some experts thought he should've passed up for NFL stardom, solidified Glenn's spot as a top pick in the recent draft. "I just tell them, 'Look at me now.' I'm a national champion and had the opportunity to go high in the draft. Nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors, how hard we work and how [our] bodies feel."

Being high-lowed on the field early in the season slowed Glenn slightly with a knee injury. But like a true champion, he played through pain. "Everything goes well when you can come out and dominate," he says. "But once it gets taken from you, it messes with the mental aspect. You can't make those plays you're used to making. You have to dig deeper inside yourself. I just stayed within myself and started every game, even though I was hurt." For the 2008 BCS Championship, Glenn was restored to full health-and we all know how that turned out for him: five tackles, a forced fumble and a sack.

Wide receiver Early was also hurt at the start of the 07 season, missing five games with a severe groin injury. "It was so tough for me," he says. "I worked so hard and [got] a freakish injury that caused me to sit out five games-when I had such high expectations for myself. But I took it as a learning experience on how to handle life when football isn't there. It can be taken from me at any time. This past year has helped me mature as a person as well as a player."

Despite being sidelined initially, Early still impressed. His refined route-running, quickness and explosion-all of which helped him lead the Tigers with 57 receptions for five TDs-had the scouts scribbling in their notebooks.

Working together again and in full health, Glenn and Early are ready to show NFL coaches what they can do. League experts expect immediate success for both men; but Glenn and Early have a more humble, respect-the-league-and-its-vets approach. "They can expect me to bring it all and put my heart and soul into it," Glenn says. "That's the only way I know how to approach things. You've got to earn your right to be in that league. Every day, I wake up and try to earn my right to be in this position, because every day, there's a guy better than you who's getting even better."

Early adds, "I'm going to be a hard worker, a guy who's going to come in and know his role and not try to be a hero. I'm going to soak up everything I can from the older guys on the team. I want to be a good teammate. Without having paid any dues, you have to understand that it's a process to earn respect."

Glenn will continue to grind, too-something he learned from watching his father come home from the plant every day covered in grime from head to toe-so that he can grant his grandmother one of her last wishes. "She would always tell me that she wanted to see me play in the NFL," he says. "That's my biggest motivation. She's not here with me, but she's still going to see it. She's up there smiling and guiding me."

While Glenn's inspiration comes from the past, Early is looking to the future. When I get up in the morning and my body's sore, and I don't feel like [moving], I think about my two kids back at home who are depending on me to provide as their father. I'll do whatever it takes-whether it's run 10 miles a day or climb the highest mountain."

As these inspired and grateful men take full advantage of their opportunities, we all get to sit back and watch the simultaneous making of two NFL legends.

Training Day
Almost immediately after Glenn showed up at Disney's Wide World of Sports, legendary coach Tom Shaw recognized what NFL scouts had been drooling over for more than a year. "He can do things most guys can't." Shaw says. "It was most impressive to see how strong and explosive he was. He's very dedicated as well. It's hard to measure how hard a guy works or how he plays hurt, but there's no doubt that Glenn is going to be a guy who goes in, works hard and is willing to play hurt."

Hard work, according to Shaw, is how Glenn will make his impact at the next level. "Guys who work the hardest are the ones that play the longest in the NFL," he says. "Some guys are very talented, but don't have a work ethic, so they're never going to make it in the NFL. That's why, every year, they invite 340 kids to the Combine. Somebody is going to take someone else's job, and every year, one-third of the NFL changes over."

Shaw sees good things for Glenn's former teammate, too. "Early's biggest weapons are his knowledge of the game, then his speed," he says. "When you have a big, strong guy who's fast and knows the game and what the defense is trying to throw at him, that's a big deal."

While Glenn and Early were fortunate to work under the tutelage of one of country's best strength and conditioning teams at LSU, their Combine prep has proven to be a 180. "Coach Shaw's techniques are a lot different than what were used to," Glenn says. "In college, we got used to doing the same things every day. I'd wake up every morning knowing what we had to do that day. With Tom, he throws a lot of curve balls at us, [and] we do a lot of drills we are going to do at the Combine, because the more reps we get here, the better off we're going to be until it becomes second nature."

Every year, the draft's fastest players materialize from Shaw's camp. "It's such a great opportunity to come down here and train with the top guys from all over the country," Early says, "They might do something you don't do, and you can pick that up from them. It makes you a more dangerous threat. You just try to learn as much as you can from everybody. When you have a group of guys who are so talented, it's the right place to be. You can only get better and take steps forward."

With just a few short weeks before the biggest test of their lives, Glenn and Early are cramming as much as possible. Glenn has already reaped rewards from Shaw's multi-focused methods. "Man, we focus on everything down here; we're working all aspects all the time," he says. "I've slimmed down a little bit to 296; my 40 time and start are getting better; [and] I'm improving in the weight room and in agility drills, too. I've gotten better at pretty much everything we have to do."

Early is also confident that his time with Shaw has raised his stock. "Most scouts [have been] concerned with my 40 time," he says. "So to come down here and improve on that time has been huge. To be able to get back healthy and train at full speed with Tom Shaw-one of the best speed coaches in the country-is going to allow me to come out and show what I can do."

Glenn and Early were extremely busy this spring; and the day we visited Disney was no different. Within the same morning session, the two former Tigers attacked two of the Combine's biggest tests-the 40-Yard Dash and 225 Bench.

On-Track Speed Work
Goal
: A faster 40 through improved technique, explosive power and longer stride length.
Shaw: The 40-yard dash measures explosive power, not speed. If we can increase vertical and standing broad jump, stride length is going to increase automatically. The only way to increase speed is to increase stride length and stride frequency, without offsetting each other.
Dorsey: We do starts and a lot of technique when we're coming out of our stances, because that is so important to running a good 40. I've learned a whole lot, because I haven't had to run a 40 in years.

Jump Rope
• Jump rope for specified reps, making sure to limit ground contact time
Reps: 200
Shaw: We do this as a warm-up; [it] also works the ankle flexors. When you land on the balls of your feet, you have to push off with your ankle flexors. When a guy is explosive and powerful and is able to push off with his ankle flexors, this might be how he gets an extra two inches on every step.

Strideouts
• Gradually build into a sprint along the track straightaway
• Walk the curve; repeat on opposite straightaway
• Continue around track for specified reps
Reps: 2 laps

Resistive Starts
• Assume 40-yard dash stance with partner providing light band resistance from behind
• Explode into sprint for specified distance, adhering to Shaw's start technique
Sets/Reps: 4-5x10-20 yards

Resistive Runs
• Assume athletic stance with partner providing light band resistance from behind
• Explode into sprint for specified distance
Sets/Reps: 3x30 yards
Shaw: These add [20 percent] resistance. I don't want them to feel like they're pulling a truck; you're never going to do that on the field. [But you'll] get stronger in that position. You're still able to run fast, which is important since training needs to be pace-specific. When the bands come off, they still have that feeling of being in the forward lean position and having to drive and eat up the track. They feel like they've taken 20 pounds off their bodies, so they are able to sprint and be explosive.
Dorsey: When you take off the band, you feel faster coming out of the blocks. It's a great drill.
Doucet: This really helps with explosion, because you're able to pump your arms and get that drive phase going. This is a great workout, because it really gets guys competing. That's how it's supposed to be if you're a competitor-and both of us are. We want to come out and compete. That competition will make you that much faster.

A Brief Message from the King of Speed
Coach Shaw explains the reasoning behind some of his time-tested keys to running the best 40 of your life.

Fast and Relaxed You want to run as fast as you can while staying under control. You don't want to strain, grit your teeth or have your elbows going across the centerline of your body. Your elbows should be moving as fast as possible. If you run relaxed and concentrate on all of those points together, you'll be able to run faster. If you strain, grit your teeth, or shake your head and shoulders, you're going to have problems running a good 40. You might not even finish, because there's a good chance you'll get injured.

Long and Explosive If you can get guys thinking about taking longer, faster steps, you're going to get guys gaining more ground on each step. Think about a kid who takes 20 strides to run a 40-yard dash. If he can gain two inches on every step, that's 40 inches over 40 yards. If you're a 4.8 guy and can now run 40 inches ahead of what you were running, that's .2 off your time. Our goal is to get our kids to full stride length after their second step. I don't care if their stride length is 62 or 66; we want them to be explosive and powerful. Don't take short and choppy steps, because it doesn't help you.

Explode Forward Once you get your weight loaded and powerful, like you've loaded yourself into a cannon, think about exploding up and out. You're jumping out with both feet. Don't worry about taking short, quick steps. Again, you want to take long, fast, explosive steps.

Upper Body Training
Goal:
Increased reps on 225 Bench Test through improved strength in the Bench and auxiliary lifts.
Shaw: The Bench is the core lift of the workout; then we work on all the auxiliaries-the shoulders, back, biceps and triceps. Everything helps to increase upper body strength, which in turn helps with endurance when you're lifting 225 in the rep test. You're really trying to work the opposite muscles, like push and pull. You [might] never have to do [this] on the football field, but it provides balance.
Dorsey: The upper body lifts [don't take] that long, but we are able to work on everything-bench, shoulders, back, arms and especially abs-they love to punish us on abs!
Douset: We do high repetitions so [we] get used to moving the weight a lot of times. At LSU we did heavier weights and not as many reps to build power and strength. But now, it's more endurance.

Bench Press
• Lie with back on bench, grasping bar slightly wider than shoulder width
• Keeping elbows close to sides, lower bar with control until it touches chest
• Drive weight toward ceiling until arms are straight
• Repeat for specified reps
Sets/Reps/Weight: 3x6 at 275, 1x4 at 315
Shaw: We have a six-week bench program developed by Mike Woicek, who has six Super Bowl Championships. He's the best strength coach in the world. We are lifting for muscle endurance, not necessarily strength. On the first Monday, we do sets of 8 reps at 65 percent of their one-rep max. On Wednesday, we do the same weight for 9 reps. On Saturday, we go back to 8 reps. The second week, we come back and add more and more reps throughout the week. In the fourth week, we go 6 reps at 75 percent, then work our way down. We rep out with 225 pounds, 5 different times in the last 3 weeks.

Guys always want to come in and lift one rep to see how strong they are. So a 300-pound bencher is always going to come in and try to bench 300 pounds. But football is a game of angles and endurance. It's not one rep or one play. You have to train the way you are going to compete.

Alternate Hammer Row
• Sitting at Hammer Row machine, grasp handles with straight arms
• Perform row with left arm, then right arm, then both arms together
• Repeat pattern for specified reps
Targeted Muscles: Back, shoulders and biceps
Reps: 3x6+6+6

ISO Shoulder Press
• Sitting at Iso Shoulder Press machine, grasp handles at shoulder level
• Drive weight up until arms are straight
• Lower weight to start position; repeat for specified reps
Targeted Muscles: Shoulders and triceps
Reps: 2x8

Barbell Military Press
• Assume athletic position, holding barbell at shoulder level
• Without arching lower back, drive weight overhead until arms are straight
• Lower weight with control; repeat for specified reps
Targeted Muscles: Shoulders and triceps
Reps: 2x8

Front Plate Raise
• Assume athletic stance holding weight plate at waist level
• Without rocking back, raise arms until they're parallel to ground; pause
• Lower weight with control; repeat for specified reps
Targeted Muscles: Shoulders and traps
Reps: 2x10

ISO Lateral Shrug
• Assume position at Iso Lateral Shrug machine, holding handles at sides [or barbell in front]
• Without rocking, shrug shoulders toward ears
• Lower weight with control; repeat for specified reps
Targeted Muscles: Traps, forearms and hands
Reps: 2x10

Preacher Curl
• Sitting at Preacher Curl, grasp handles with elbows locked into place
• Without rocking, curl weight up by bringing hands toward chin
• Lower weight with control; repeat for specified reps
Targeted Muscles: Biceps
Reps: 2x10

Core
Med Ball Stability Throws
• Sit on ground facing partner
• Raise legs so that only butt touches ground
• As partner throws med ball, catch it, stabilize body, and throw ball back
Coaching points: Don't allow the ball to knock you backwards; keep core tight to absorb it
Dorsey: This one's a killer!
Reps: 3x30. Catch first 10 at chest, second 10 overhead, third 10 to left and right

Partner Sit-up
• Perform sit-up with partner in front
• Once you reach top of sit-up, partner pushes as hard as possible on your chest
• Resist him until upper back touches floor
• Repeat for specified reps
Reps: 2x15


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: FOOTBALL | STRENGTH TRAINING | CORE