“Membership in Seminole Boosters is the lifeblood of the athletics budget,” said Michael Alford, Seminole Boosters CEO. “Your membership funds scholarships and essential services for more than 550 student-athletes.
This is the second in a series of One Tribe Campaign articles that takes a deeper dive into the quote above to discuss exactly how Seminole Boosters contributions are used to fund those “scholarships and essential services” for all of FSU’s men’s and women’s student-athletes.
The One Tribe campaign seeks to fund the cost of the following student services, which account for $38 million of FSU’s $80 million athletics budget:
- Part 1 One Tribe Campaign Scholarships
- Part 2 One Tribe Campaign Strength and Conditioning
- Sports Medicine
- Professional Development
- COVID-19 Expenses
Strength and Conditioning
A portion of your contribution funds the cost of strength and conditioning ($650,000) for our student-athletes, including eight training rooms and 13 full-time strength coaches. Enhancing performance, of course, is an essential goal of FSU’s strength and conditioning program. Preventing injury is another goal but FSU’s student-athletes will tell you the strength and conditioning staff plays a key role in their individual development and in establishing a team culture.
We interview football strength and conditioning coach Josh Storms for this article but could have chosen any other sport and heard many of the same benefits of a good strength and conditioning program.
The first evaluation Storms had to make was to figure out where each individual was in terms of their development.
“It’s got nothing to do with anybody who came before you, right?” Storms said. “You’re going to ask different things of the guys than what would have been asked of them in the past. Needing to improve in physical development in size, strength, power, agility, speed, all the different areas of the things that we’re charged with developing. Starting from square one, and teaching our guys to train our way with the consistency and effort and intensity it takes to maximize your potential, to give yourself an opportunity to be great. Not just to improve, but to be great.”
Strength coaches across campus will tell you their role is relationship based, Storms included.
“We see our (strength coaches) more than our (football) coaches,” said Renardo Green, a defensive back from Wekiva High School. “They teach us how to do the right (strength) movement so when you go to use your power, you can actually generate and use everything you can. But they also teach us little things, about being early and doing what you’re supposed to be doing. They are on us about all that because all that translates onto the field. Being in the right spot when you’re supposed to, setting the edge when you are supposed to. I feel like they really, really help us.”
Green is referring to the football strength program, led by Storms, who served Mike Norvell from Memphis.
Unfortunately, six weeks into his first year of football development, the Covid pandemic forced all in-person strength and conditioning work to cease. Just as Storms and the players were getting to know one another, the workouts had to stop.
“You start and then lose the opportunity to build that relationship face to face and so it takes time on the back end,” Storms said. “By the end of quarantine, when we got back together, we’d actually been away from our guys in quarantine for longer than we had been with our guys when we got here in January leading up to quarantine.
“That’s where the difficulty lies (this year),” Storms continued. “If we had been here for two, three, four-plus years, you would know those kids well. You’ve built a lot of equity into your relationship at that point. They know you. They know your character. They know what you’re all about. They very much so understand the expectation of the program and your expectation of their work and all those things. Well, when you’ve only just walked into a new staff and when quarantine hit, we’ve been with our guys for 11 weeks total. Well, you haven’t had the opportunity of the luxury of having time to build that equity, the relationship at that point.
“Right before Covid hit, we were together five or six times a week and (the staff) is all so good,” said Devontay Love-Taylor, a graduate transfer tackle from Florida International University. “Every single coach knows exactly what they’re talking about, and they’re all helpful. They’re so detailed in the weight room. Like, if you’re not doing it with the right technique, they’re gonna drop your weight and make sure you have the right technique so you don’t hurt yourself.”
Love-Taylor believes this emphasis on detail will translate into success on the football field in coming seasons and in personal development off the field. “It plays a big part in our success, doing the little things right,” he said.
The time lapse was almost like starting over and underscores why strength and conditioning is so important to each of FSU’s 20 men’s and women’s teams.
Storms implemented his in-season strength and conditioning program when the team returned in the fall, with modifications to meet the players where they were after not seeing them for 10 weeks. The in-season program consists of three groups: freshmen and newcomers, veterans who will not be in the two deep on gameday, and players who need to be fresh on gameday.
“There are some similarities and some differences across the board so we kind of are starting from the foundation and working our way up,” Storms said. “Our newcomer program, our freshman program, is basically a true developmental training program. Those guys will train on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Those guys (train) in the morning before meetings, before practice.”
Some players in the freshman/newcomer group, like freshman All-American tackle Robert Scott and Lawrance Toafili were in the two-deep and need to be fresh on Saturday.
“Obviously, (Robert) had a very big role on the field so we had to make some modifications in his training in that group, making sure that he can leave his best work on the field on Saturday, and not the weight room on a Thursday,” Storms said. “But he’s still a little more in a developmental program than what our older, veteran guys are.
“You have a guy like Toafili who everybody knows what a talented ball carrier he is. We also know that for him to maximize his abilities, he’s a guy that’s going to have to gain muscle mass, to develop that body armor to play this game the way he plays it. Well, you would have loved to be able to start making headway on that even deeper his first year. Well, that guy’s playing several snaps every Saturday, and we need that guy to be dynamic and be a playmaker. So, we make lots of modifications to his training, change up what he’s doing especially the lower body stuff, and changing some of the volume.”
Storms said in the developmental mode, you have to put a heavy workload on your body to cause your body to adapt to develop more muscle to do the work.
“It’s pretty hard to go and play football on a high level at the exact same time you are doing that,” Storms said. “The art is finding that balance. How can we make forward progress?”
By mid season, Florida State had one of the youngest Power 5 teams and Storms was making an increasing number of modifications.
“It is managing, making sure that you don’t get greedy with a guy like that and what he’s capable of doing in the weight room,” Storms said. “You always have to keep an eye on that front burner of what that guy’s also going to be expected to do, (whether) a 25-period practice on a Tuesday or having to go out and play however many snaps on Saturday.”
The second group is what Storms calls “our squad program.” They are not freshmen but they are also not in the two-deep on game day.
“(Their regimen) is a little bit of a blend between our full developmental program and our in-season program,” Storms said. “Their Sunday and Tuesday lifts will look just like the guys who are playing and then their Thursday lift is when we’re gonna get some more volume on them. We’re actually gonna train and train that day.”
The third group, players in the two-deep, also train on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays but have a different regimen in season.
On Sunday, they go out to the indoor practice facility to get warmed up, make sure the guys weren’t dinged up on gameday, before heading to the weight room to work lower body.
“We’ll squat on Sunday,” Storms said. “The reason we do that is, Monday is the players’ off day, so they got a day to recover in their lower body before practice starts and puts that squat the furthest away from the next game.”
The two-deep group will lift on Tuesday after practice and then on Thursday lift. “Basically what we’re doing is kind of an upper body flush,” Storms said. “Getting a good pump on that upper body, flushing a lot of blood through, helping their body kind of recover from the banging of the week of practice.
“(On Thursday), we’ll do a good section of soft tissue recovery, lower body mobility work, making sure those guys are feeling good, moving good. (After that lift) most of the guys will then go in and have a massage appointment, making sure they’re ready to roll for Saturday.”
Even during the season, Storms believes you can gain strength with the proper balance.
“You can talk to our older guys about this, we’re not an in-season maintenance program,” Storms said. “We’re still going to push hard in-season, we’re still going to get pretty damn heavy in-season, but we’re gonna do the smart way with how we control the volume, how we space those weeks out, how the schedules match up, all those types of things.”
Strength helps build team culture
Storms was happy to see the guys in the fall and resume getting to know them and what makes their bodies and their minds tick. They made progress together not only in terms of strength but in terms of building a team culture.
“It made it pretty difficult in year one, because the guys are still getting to know us, we’re getting to know them,” Storms said. “It really drastically changed the dynamic of that relationship. It goes from seeing guys every day in the hallway or in the weight room working, straining, and seeing the smile on your face or on their face and be able to share stuff that comes up. (It was) limited to me calling them on the phone or me trying to get them on Zoom. It changes a lot.”
The day-to-day insistence on being on time and doing movements exactly the right way – and seeing quick results from discipline and work – helps in building team culture. Being inspired by the work of teammates is another important aspect of a strength and conditioning program.
“That’s one of the biggest things we missed out on during (quarantine) was the ability to build the culture, build the team dynamic. It’s pretty hard to put guys in leadership roles and get them leadership reps when they’re separate and apart from each other for that long,” said Storms.
Keyshawn Helton is an example of strength development. When the wide receiver arrived at Florida State, he weighed just 150 pounds. As a sophomore in 2019, Helton played in six games, starting four, before sustaining a serious knee injury, which he was able to rehabilitate well enough to play in 2020.
“I gained 21 pounds from the time Coach Storms started out here until the end of the spring,” Helton said. “I’m 5-foot-9 so on a frame like mine, you don’t really see that often, but I did gain 21 pounds of muscle, a lot of strength. And I gained a lot more confidence in myself.”
While the injury was a low part in his life, it did allow him more time to get to know the athletic trainers and strength coaches during rehab.
“Outside of strength and conditioning, outside of sports, they are great men and care about your well-being,” Helton said. “Inside of the weight room, they are business oriented. When you come in there they are ready to work and they’re enthusiastic about what they’re doing. You can tell they love what they’re doing. They love coaching us and they love watching young men mold into men.”
Green, who weighs between 180 and 185 pounds, would like to increase his weight to 205, which would be more conducive to the safety position. Green went to Storms and told him his goals and what he would like to achieve.
“I wanna get bigger, stronger, faster,” Green, who loves football, told Storms. “I wanna get bigger but still need to keep the speed I have or get faster.”
“I fully believe in Coach Storms. I’ve been with Coach Storms long enough to see what type of man he is and to see what he was about. I know if I do what I’m supposed to do, everything will work out. Because I know Coach Storms is gonna do his part. I know the entire strength staff is gonna do their part.”
“What we have is a group of guys here that wants this, that’s eager to improve, that’s eager to be better, to raise the standard,” Storms said. “It’s exciting. If you have a group that has displayed a good amount of eagerness, our job is to teach them the way. That’s what we got shorted on last year — the time to teach them the way. We’re trying to do some things here that haven’t been done, or haven’t been done in a while, and trying to show these guys our standard, something that’s proven, that works. It’s a pretty enjoyable group of guys to work with, there’s no limitations on what these guys can accomplish here.”
Storms is particularly impressed with the newcomers.
“Collectively that group was phenomenal this year,” Storms said. “You have a group of guys who chose this place for this culture. We set that newcomer group up with some competitive things as far as how we track what they do in lifting. It’s the opportunity to train hard and go big and push yourself and it really starts building a bond within that class.”
Strength coaches are full-time psychologists, learning what makes players tick and creating programs to tap their full potential. Storms says the newcomers come from being a senior in high school and being the best guy on their team or maybe even the best guy that ever played at their high school to college, where they might not play a down the first couple of years.
“Those guys need something to attach to, something to be a part of,” Storms said, noting strength and conditioning is where they can push themselves with others. “Collectively that group was phenomenal. It’s bringing those guys together and kind of the reason we train that group separately. Oftentimes, you could bring a guy in who was a great leader in high school. But if I throw him in there with the vets, oftentimes, he’s not gonna be that great leader. He’ll be led because we have guys on the team who have been here for years that assume leadership roles.
“If I keep that guy with his own class, in a group like that, now all of a sudden the guy steps up as being a leader within that group. That’s a guy that often becomes the leader of his position group, the leader on that side of the ball and maybe eventually the leader of this team. If we can identify those qualities in guys early on in their career, it gives us a chance to get that guy some leadership reps here and there along the way to facilitate growing him into that role, helping other guys see him in that role and modeling that behavior for teammates.”
Storms says there is a unique challenge for any freshman that is thrust into playing time, like so many were, especially if he is a front-seven type player. As obvious as it may be, he says, it’s not high school anymore.
“I don’t mean in the sense of competition, or anything else, but in the day-to-day pounding,” Storms said. “You’re no longer the biggest, strongest guy, you are one of many who are similar to you. Very seldom do you get a chance to bully a guy. Every time you put your hands on the guy, that’s combat. And then, just dealing with the length of the season. You don’t just show up for practice in the afternoon and coach is happy to have you. We’re gonna meet. We’re going to train. You’re going to go to school. You’re going to do all those things. It’s dealing with the mental grind really as much as it is the physical pounding.
This is where strength and conditioning meets nutrition and medical services.
“We can do a lot of stuff with those guys with working in nutrition to make sure they are fueling their bodies properly,” Storms said. “We can talk to them about sleep and trying to do as much recovery of soft tissue and self-care and teaching them the things they need to do to take care of their body to keep it one piece to play. But the biggest thing for those guys is the time management and kind of the mental and physical fatigue management, and how to take care of yourself to be able to do it week in week out for the duration of the season.”
Storms pointed to Robert Scott, who became a starter on the offensive line and a Freshman All American.
“He did a phenomenal job of keeping that positive attitude, keeping that learner’s mentality of trying to get better every week and trying to improve on all the little things you could improve on and still working hard physically to improve his body and his physical traits along the way,” Storms said. “That’s a big load, and he’s a guy that really, really did an excellent job handling that.”
Off-season strength and conditioning
Storms is now looking ahead to the off-season conditioning program and, fingers crossed, getting to really lean into building a team.
“In the staff meeting we had with our guys (recently), that was the biggest thing I talked to my staff about. This is kind of like winter 1 all over again. Now the only difference is we know the guys’ names and they kind of understand the terminology. But from a work standpoint, and standards standpoint, it’s very much kind of year 1. We have 38 true freshmen on our roster. None of those guys have experienced an offseason, a winter program yet. In a lot of ways, mathematically, this is our first winter.”
Storms will train normal-sized groups of three during the offseason in the Moore Center strength and conditioning facility, which is currently shared with other sports, which Storms says he is able to manage.
“We’re in a shared facility here with other sports but kind of what we set for our training schedule for football kind of dictates what everyone else does,” Storms said. “So when we’re in the room, we’re the only people in the room. Because of the square feet, occupancy and whatnot, especially an environment where we test the way we do, we can lift in our normal size lift groups this time of year.”
Storms said that was not the case in early summer when the workout groups had to be much smaller.
Facility and equipment needs
In terms of facility improvements, Storms said he was able to purchase 20 pieces of new equipment but is still trying to find the budget to fill some equipment needs necessary to be able to do their job.
Most of the improvements made in the weight room were via elbow grease, cleaning things up and getting rid of some old equipment that doesn’t translate to training athletes.
“With COVID and the financial situations that surrounds (the budget) there really hasn’t been an opportunity for us to continue to move forward in that direction,” Storms said. “So we’re kind of in the mode of doing everything we do to maximize what we have to get our job done.
“Can we do our job in here? Absolutely. But do you want to push to the future and really have something to display for recruiting and to be on the cutting edge and to really have that wow factor. That’s what we’re all aiming for but the time has to be right to achieve that.”
Your contribution to Seminole Boosters funds the equipment and the personal trainers these young men and women need in order to develop the attention to detail necessary to build their bodies. With your help we can push the future forward faster.
“I’m very, very, very, very appreciative or our Seminole Booster donors,” said Jashaun Corbin, a junior running back from Rockledge. “Very thankful they have invested into us. The resources and money they’re putting into us is not being taken lightly. We very much appreciate it. We’re very thankful.
“We try to show our gratitude by doing community service and being the best student-athletes we can. We’re just thankful for their support.”
Green, a defensive back from Wekiva High School, would like Seminole Booster members to know he considers them an important member of the team.
“Even though they’re not with us every day, like the coaches are, even though we don’t see them every day, they’re still a part of the family because, without them, a lot of this stuff wouldn’t be available. We won’t be able to do it at all,” Green said. “So I think they’re very much a part of our family.”
Donor Impact: The One Tribe Campaign
Florida State University is a preeminent, Top 20 public institution, and ranked No. 2 athletically among all Division I institutions (357) for overall winning percentage since 2015.
In addition to winning games and gaining knowledge, FSU’s student-athletes are learning the value of giving back to the community with more than 6,500 hours of community outreach in the typical year.
Your Seminole Booster membership helps FSU Athletics develop these future leaders who will contribute to society as outstanding citizens.
In a quest to achieve more, we are excited to announce the launch of the One Tribe Campaign!
Your 2021 Annual Fund contribution will strengthen our Annual Membership in support of the following areas of Athletics: coaching, support staff, sports medicine, academics, mental health, nutrition, scholarships, professional development and COVID-19 response.
As of January 8, 2021:
2021 Members: 3,887 (30% to goal)
Rewards and Benefits 2021
In addition to the intrinsic feeling of assisting the program and our student-athletes, Seminole Booster members receive tangible benefits as well as ticket and parking priority.
$70 – $329 One Tribe Vinyl Decal
$330 – $1299 One Tribe Hat
$1300-$6499 One Tribe Polo
$6500-plus Mike Norvell Autographed Football
Thank You For Being On the Team!
Thank you for your continued support of Florida State Athletics! We simply could not compete for championships or provide the educational and leadership opportunities for student-athletes without you. You are a vital part of the team. If you have questions about giving or benefits, or would like to make a contribution over the phone, please call us at (850) 644-1830 or visit boosters.fsu.edu.