CAVALIER and new Jet D'Brickashaw Ferguson has good speed for an offensive
lineman. He ran a 5.1 40-yard dash at Virginia's Pro Day on March 21 thanks in
part to six weeks with trainer Tom Shaw in Orlando before the NFL draft. The
6'6", 312-pound left tackle, who went No. 4 to New York, worked six days a
week on speed, quickness and agility, doing drills few players his size can
execute. "He's explosive, he's powerful, he's not sloppy like some other
linemen," says Shaw. The trainer says Ferguson, who since 10th grade has
drunk a quart of nutritional shakes (about 1,400 calories and 50 grams of
protein) each day to help bulk up (he was 260 pounds as a freshman at
Virginia), compares favorably with Seattle All-Pro Walter Jones, the most
athletic offensive lineman Shaw has seen. "Brick trains with the DBs and
receivers," he says. "His work ethic is unbelievable. He's never tried
to get out of a drill."
Drill Trainer Shaw ties a large mirror to the back of a John Deere ATV and
drives 12 mph. Ferguson chases it for 100 yards (he's going at about 80% speed)
while carefully watching his movements. Five reps, two minutes' rest between
working on form and technique," says Shaw. "Brick's elbows used to
flail out, and anything that moves side to side is wasted movement. He's
deceptively fast; he has long, loping strides, but they're very powerful."
Says Ferguson, "Some people like to use videotape and then go back and
look, but this is instant feedback. Small differences can be monumental. If I'm
clenching my fists, that's going to hold me back. The mirror allows me to
adjust on the fly."
Drill Wearing a belt attached to an elastic band that Shaw (right, in rear)
holds for resistance, Ferguson sprints over six six-inch-high barriers, placed
one yard apart. He keeps his feet as low to the ground as possible. Three reps
with resistance, one without.
builds explosiveness," says Shaw. "The offensive linemen who raise
their feet are the ones who get beat; they can't react quickly enough.
Defensive linemen look for that. The resistance makes him have to stride
forward, so he can't take short, choppy steps."
Drill Two lines of six cones are set up two yards apart over 10 yards. While
Shaw provides resistance with elastic bands, Ferguson sidesteps left between
the first pair of cones, runs a few steps forward, then sidesteps right,
zigzagging through the course. Three reps with resistance, one without
Purpose Meant to
increase foot speed, particularly when moving in a confined space. "It's a
running back drill, but I have Brick do it because he has such quick feet,"
says Shaw. "For an offensive lineman, the quicker your feet the better
you're going to do."
Drill A partner--in this case North Alabama defensive lineman Lee Vickers, who
signed as a rookie free agent with the Steelers--advances down the same course
used in the previous exercise, but in random patterns. Ferguson, moving
backward, mirrors his movements in blocking position. Three reps.
trying to keep his feet low and keep his center of gravity. If he gets too
high, he can be bullrushed," Shaw says. "He watches [Vickers's] hips,
not his arm. He watches where [Vickers's] body's going."
Drill While attached to the same resistance belt as in the straight-ahead
drill, Ferguson weaves through a course of three cones that are spaced five
yards apart in an equilateral triangle. He first runs forward, then backward.
The belt resists Ferguson's movement as he runs forward, away from Shaw, and
assists Ferguson as he runs backward, toward Shaw. He runs five different
patterns, three reps of each with resistance, one without.