Davis hopes increased strength helps on defense, special teams Posted on 04/02/2012 by PonyFans.com
It has been said that numbers and statistics can be skewed in order to make a certain point have more impact.
In the case of an astonishing recent performance in the SMU weight room by defensive lineman Aaron “Spike” Davis, the argument could be made that the way in which he performed the lift altered the perception of his accomplishment. That assertion, according to SMU strength and conditioning coach Mel de Laura, is ludicrous.
|Nose tackle and special teamer Aaron Davis said his increased leg strength should help him on defense and on special teams in 2012 (photo by SMU athletics).
There is a YouTube.com video that shows Davis squatting 815 pounds.
Read that again: eight hundred fifteen pounds
. That’s like Davis lifting four
of his roommate, kicker Mike Loftus (listed at 204 pounds) at the same time. It’s nearly 41 percent of a ton
In the interest of accuracy, there are two kinds of squats. The traditional squat is when the lifter steps under a bar, crouches down into a position near the ground and then stands back up before placing the bar back on its rests. The lift Davis did was a “safety squat,” in which the same muscles are used to move the weight in the same vertical pattern, but the bar is affixed to a pair of posts, thereby eliminating the option of extra movement and significantly reducing the risk of injury during exceptionally heavy lifts.
Many people can lift significantly more weight in a safety squat, because of the added stability in the fixed bar. But to suggest that the safety squat somehow belittles Davis’s performance or the hours he has put in to his training, de Laura said, is simply inaccurate.
“Eight hundred pounds is still 800 pounds,” de Laura said. “I don’t care how you lift it — that’s a hell of a lot of weight.”
Davis shied away from any declarations of superhuman strength, acknowledging that other players like guard Jordan Free and nose tackle Torlan Pittman, among others, are “incredibly strong — they can lift a ton of weight.”
That Davis, who will be a senior in the fall, has made significant strides in his strength should come as no surprise. Since transferring to SMU from Fresno State, Davis has been among the most dedicated occupants of the weight room. de Laura said Davis works as hard in the weight room “as anyone I have ever had.”
Not surprisingly, Davis wants to accomplish more in the weight room, which he says will lead to more success on the field.
“I want to do more,” he said. “After spring ball, over the summer … I’m going to keep lifting hard. I don’t know — maybe one day I’ll (squat) 1,000 pounds.”
His desire to get bigger and stronger is no vanity-driven ego trip. Playing in the trenches, Davis knows he needs his power to compete against offensive linemen who often outweigh him by 30 or 40 (or more) pounds.
“You use your punch a lot (to knock linemen off balance and get through gaps),” Davis said, “so anyone who says the bench press doesn’t matter are ignorant.
“But moving those guys … you’ve got to get your legs strong to move those big guys, so squatting a lot of weight definitely translates to what I do on the field.”
In addition to his spot in the rotation on the defensive line, Davis is something of a kamikaze on special teams, racing downfield on kick coverage and launching himself over would-be blockers in an effort to get himself in front of a punt. The NCAA has disallowed the over-the-top punt block attempts, meaning Davis’s increased leg strength could prove useful on special teams, too.
“I don’t think (his increased power) will affect my quickness,” he said. “I stretch a lot, and I don’t think there will be much of a difference there.
“But you can’t go over them (personal protectors in front of punters) anymore … so I guess I’ll just have to go through them.”