Temple Football: Non-Travel Squad In-Season Training

Some of the most common questions I receive as a strength and conditioning coach focus on in-season training. Head Coach Matt Rhule and I believe in-season training is as important as any other period of training that occurs during the year. We do not view in-season training as maintenance; rather, we train to get stronger. In-season training gives us ample time to get a jumpstart on our younger players.  Whether a player is on travel or scout team, they have been trained to have the mentality to come into the weight room to compete no matter which phase of training we are in.

The non-travel squad is usually made up of second year players and freshmen who are the future of the program. We have 12-14 weeks to train the non-travel squad hard and prepare them for life as a Temple football player. My staff and I must take advantage of training the younger players in a group by themselves. We train them to be players that have a great work ethic, discipline, accountability, and mental toughness. Everything at Temple Football revolves around these values and competition

As a staff, we must be smart in our programming to allow the non-travel squad to do their part at practice every day and make the travel team better. Our players take great pride in this role, knowing their hard work during the week of practice is their contribution to winning on Saturdays. The following is a brief overview of the non-travel squad in-season training program:

In-Season Program Objectives

1.     Injury prevention

2.     Improve mental toughness and competitive mindset

3.     Build strength and power

4.     Educate on and improve core strength

5.     Educate on and improve flexibility

6.     Educate on and improve nutritional habits, body weight goals, recovery

7.     Team building / peer leadership

Non-Travel Daily Schedule

7:00 am    Breakfast Club, hydration

8:00 am    Lift

9:15 am    Scout Meeting, hydration

9:30 am    Practice

11:45 am  Post practice stretch, ice tub, hydration


 The entrance to the weight room and warm-up sets the tone for the entire workout. Players assemble outside the weight room, break it down, and sprint in touching their hands on the “Difference Yard” located at the entrance of the weight room (see photo). This yard signifies that if you play offense, you will be able to get that tough yard when the game is on the line and if you play defense, you will be able to stop the opponent from getting that yard.

Players will then sprint to the turf area for the warm-up which includes:

·     Foam rolling

·     Stretch

·     Mobility drills such as hurdle exercises

·     Activation exercises focusing on hip adduction, abduction, flexion, extension and core

·     4-2-2 tempo bodyweight split squats

·     4-2-2 tempo bodyweight squats, hands overhead

Lifting Intensity

Light  2 – 3 sets, 6 – 8 reps at 70 – 79%

Moderate:  3 – 4 sets, 3 – 5 reps at 80 – 89%

Heavy: 3 – 4 sets, 1 – 3 reps at 90+%

Monday  (Light Practice)

1.     Warm-up

2.     Core strengthening

3.     Clean tech

4.     Hang clean (light)

5.     BB back or front squat (moderate)

6.     BB rdl (light)

7.     BB or DB incline (light to moderate)

8.     Chin-ups or machine back (light)

9.     Neck flexion / extension / BB shrugs

Tuesday (Hard Practice)

1.     Warm-up

2.     Core strengthening

3.     Rotator cuff strengthening

4.     Lateral neck flexion / rotation / band upright row

5.     Grip and arms

Wednesday (Hard Practice)

       1.     Warm-up

2.      Core strengthening

3.     BB Press (moderate)

4.     DB or BB row (light)

5.     BB box step-ups or lunges (light)

6.     Accessory bench exercise (moderate)

7.     Neck flexion / extension / single arm DB shrugs

Thursday (Light Practice)

1.     Warm-up

2.     Core strengthening

3.     Rotator cuff strengthening

4.     Lateral neck flexion / rotation / band face pulls

5.     Grip and arms

Friday (Light Practice)

        1.   Warm-up

2.     Clean Tech

3.     Clean Pull (moderate)

4.     BB Deadlift (moderate to heavy)

5.     Glute ham raise or reverse hypers (moderate)

6.     BB Bench (moderate to heavy)

7.     Jump chins or negative only chins (moderate)

8.     Finisher Friday Competition

Finisher Friday Competition

·     Non-Travel squad is split into two groups that will compete against each other every Friday throughout the season.

·     Winning team will get T-shirts.

·     These competitions teach our young players to focus and compete to the highest level no matter how their bodies feel following the weight room workout.

·     We expect them to be accountable and do their job by competing to help their team win.

·     The travel squad comes out and encourages the non-travel squad.

·     Competitions are done for time, reps, or distance and include 1 or 2 of the following :

1.     Prowler races

2.     Tire flips

3.     Board push

4.     Chin ups or pull ups

5.     Plate carry

6.     Push-ups

7.     225 bench reps

8.     Bag drags

9.     Leg press

Nutrition / Hydration

Nutrition and hydration are two main areas of concern with younger players. In order to educate them, we have a breakfast club that meets daily at 7 am in the football facility. My staff and I will eat with the non-travel squad and teach them proper nutritional habits to help them achieve their monthly bodyweight goal.  Weight gain players also receive a snack bag totaling 1500 calories after each practice to take with them for the rest of the day.

To emphasize hydration, each player receives a gallon water jug, which is to be filled up each morning at breakfast. We advise drinking at least a gallon daily. Also, specific gravity testing is done each morning on any player with hydration issues.

Educating our young players and teaching them good habits now will pay off down the road when they are upperclassmen.


      1.    As hard as we train, we recognize the stress that practice places on the body.

2.     We will manage fatigue with load and volume adjustments along with exercise variety.

3.     We usually have our freshmen for the month of July, August or September. Newcomers will begin with box squats and front squats before progressing to back squats.

4.     Every workout is recorded. This allows us to continue challenging our players utilizing progressive overload.

5.     Certain Friday lifts are made up of competitions only.

6.     We use similar guidelines as off-season training and de-load every fourth week.

7.     We periodically give this group a day off, or a day of stretching instead of lifting when needed.

8.     Injured players will remain lifting with this group and alterations are made for them.

9.     Bottom Line: Train Hard

About the Author:

Jeremy Scott (MSCC, CSCS) is in his third year as head strength and conditioning coach at Temple University.  He previously served as an assistant at Penn State and Princeton.