For the Campbell football team, success starts in the weight room.
Howie DeCristofaro, who was hired as the Spartans’ coach in March, trained at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a few years ago. In his attempt to improve the team after last season’s 1-9 record, DeCristofaro’s installed a more strenuous workout routine.
“I don’t care if a glacier comes through the back end of that stadium, we’re lifting weights,” DeCristofaro said. “As long as the sun comes up, we’re lifting. I don’t think they were used to that.”
The workouts during spring practice lasted about 70 minutes, but DeCristofaro said the intensity is what separated his workouts from those of other coaches.
DeCristofaro tried to simulate a game in the workout. One player would lift for approximately the same time a play would last on the field. After a quick rest, he would go again. There is not a lot of waiting around during the lifting sessions.
While the players were initially surprised, DeCristofaro said they eventually adjusted to the intensity of his workouts.
“They want to be successful, so they will do what it takes to get to that point,” he said.
After winning only five games over the last three seasons, former coach Kyle Adkins left Campbell in February to become the coach at Bradwell Institute in Hinesville.
Before serving as Etowah’s defensive coordinator for two seasons, DeCristofaro was the coach at Milton. After six years, he was the first coach to leave that program with a winning record.
Campbell presents a similar challenge. Even after spring practice, DeCristofaro said the team needs to get stronger and learn a few fundamental concepts, and the Spartans will work on those things during the summer.
DeCristofaro said he has solid talent to work with. Junior quarterback Alex Stack and senior offensive lineman Tomas Salvador will be players to watch, and DeCristoraro said the team’s depth will be an advantage.
Seven assistant coaches will work with DeCristofaro. Not all of them were present during spring practice, and DeCristofaro said the absence of those coaches was the reason why Campbell did not have a spring scrimmage.
It may be early, but DeCristofaro said he likes what he sees from his team so far.
“They understand what it takes to win,” he said.