I was watching the Jimmy Johnson episode of "A Football Life" on NFL Network this morning, and got so fired up that I almost hopped on the treadmill. Almost. Johnson was speaking in front of people at the University of Miami about the importance of being in shape, which made me think of the conversation CSN Philly's Reuben Frank had with former Oregon LT Kyle Long at the Combine back in February:
"You just need to be able to run past the point of exhaustion," said Long, who played for Chip Kelly at Oregon. "You need to be in good cardio shape. A big emphasis on that offense's tempo. That became very evident the first day I showed up at fall camp, I thought I was going to die."
Here is the Johnson's speech, transcribed in full. It's pretty hard not to get excited about Kelly's up-tempo offense after reading this:
You know, I think there's a misconception about football. People think that football is for tough guys. You know (makes "tough guy" face), tough guys. Bullshit. Football rewards the guys that are in great condition. That's when you have fun, when you're kicking somebody's ass and they're sucking for wind.
There was a great coach one time who said, "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." What if I walked up to you and said, "You're a coward. You're a coward." You wouldn't like it, would you? But that's the reality of it. When you're tired, you make mistakes, you don't do what's right, and your will to win all of a sudden starts to waver just a little bit. You get tired and all of a sudden you don't have that same fight.
Fatigue makes cowards of us all. All of us, me included. I guarantee you, when I was on that damn TV show (Survivor) and I hadn't had any sleep, and I hadn't had any food, bugs are biting on my ass, I wasn't a big, tough guy. I'm saying, ‘What the hell am I doing here?'
Fatigue makes cowards of us all. If you're in great shape, if you can run like a deer, at the end of the ballgame, you're going to be smiling and having fun. And let me tell you something, guys. This is going to be the greatest time of your life. I used to sit in this same ass room, I'd look at the schedule, and I'd say ‘I can't wait until Oklahoma comes in here. I can't wait until Florida comes in here. I wanna kick their ass!' And that's what you should feel. This is why you came to Miami. That's why you wanted to be a Hurricane.
But you can only do it if you're in great shape. And if you're not sucking for wind at the end of the game. And when you look across the way and that guy is hanging down, he is a coward. He's a coward because he's tired. Don't be tired.
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