New strength coach heightens intensity at Kansas

Early in his Kansas career, Scott Holsopple received a phone call from one his players, and the message he heard on the other line was not desired. The player told Holsopple he was stuck in traffic from a basketball game, and he would be late to practice.

Instead of giving his player sympathy, Holsopple barked orders, “Get out of your car and run.”

Coach Holsopple, Kansas’ new strength and conditioning coach, said the story was just an example of the accountability he wants from his players. It embodies the new, discipline-first mindset of the Kansas football team that all starts with Holsopple himself.

“That’s what I expect from them, because I would do the same thing,” Holsopple said. “If my truck broke down an hour away, I’m going to run make sure I’m here. I’m going to run.”

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Just two months ago, Holsopple was the top assistant on the Florida Gators’ strength and conditioning staff.

Shortly after Charlie Weis left his position as offensive coordinator at Florida to take the Kansas job, he spoke with Holsopple about coming to Lawrence to run the strength and conditioning program.

Holsopple spent five years at Florida, and won a national championship in 2008. He helped coach and mentor 18 players who were drafted in the NFL, six of whom were first round draft picks. Florida’s record during his time was 50-17, but Holsopple said the decision to leave one of the nation’s elite programs to come to Kansas did not take long.

And Kansas running backs coach Reggie Mitchell said Coach Weis’ name alone can raise a player’s eyebrows. Mitchell served on former coach Turner Gill’s staff as well, and knows why Holsopple would be drawn to the University.

“Coach Weis has done it on a national stage,” Mitchell said. “He’ll get you in a few more doors than maybe coach Gill could.”

On top of his respect for coach Weis, Holsopple said he has a folder that helped with the decision. In this folder, he said he has pictures of every football facility in the country and lists of every machine each school has.

So Holsopple knew all about the state-of-the-art $31 million dollar Anderson Family Football Complex that he now has at his disposal.

“You’re not going to get any better facilities than what the University of Kansas has here,” Holsopple said. “They’re the best of the best.”

Less than two months into the job, Holsopple has already received advice from another Kansas coach, special teams coordinator Clint Bowen.

Bowen coached with former Kansas coach Mark Mangino in 2008, when the Jayhawks won the Orange Bowl, the school’s most prolific football season ever.

Bowen said Mangino’s philosophy centered on three attributes he could control over his players: toughness, conditioning and smarts.

And those attributes now come to fruition in the weight room with coach Holsopple.

“In college football, no one spends more time with the players than the strength coach,” Bowen said. “His role is invaluable.”

And the coach with a crucial role in the future of Kansas football has received rave ratings throughout his career in coaching and athletics.

The former All American boxer at Penn State coached at his alma mater and Notre Dame in the years after he graduated. He then spent five seasons as Marquette basketball’s strength and conditioning coach, where the Golden Eagles’ former coach and current Indiana coach, Tom Crean, gave Holsoplle praise.

“Scott Holsopple would be the MVP of our staff right now,” Crean said to gomarquette.com following the 2001 season. “He’s done a tremendous job of building their bodies over a period of time.”

And now it’s time for Holsopple to do the same at Kansas.

“I don’t expect anybody to be able to get through it right now,” Holsopple said. “You’re not supposed to. It shouldn’t feel good. It’s never going to. It’s part of the price you pay that makes winning so sweet. I don’t judge somebody for being down. I judge them for not standing back up.

To hear coach Holsopple talk more about coach Weis, why he came to Kansas and how he intends to use the facilities at Kansas, click here.

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