The Texans named Ray Wright this offseason to be the new head strength and conditioning coach. Wright has been with the Texans for the last eights years and looks forward to getting the most out of the players in 2009. He spoke with Texans TV's Brooke Bentley about the philosophy behind his program.
Brooke Bentley (Texans TV): Ray, you were with the Texans for the last eight years as an assistant strength and conditioning coach under Dan Riley. What did you learn during that time that prepared you to take over as head of the program?
Ray Wright: I was fortunate to have worked under Dan for seven to eight years. I looked at it as a graduate opportunity, almost a like a graduate school opportunity for me. I would say the most important thing I learned from Dan was how to treat people and how to work with our players. I think that would be the lesson that sticks with me the longest.
Brooke Bentley: I'm sure you developed a close relationship with a lot of the players on the team. What was their reaction when they found out you been named to this position?
Ray Wright: They were happy. There is a great deal of respect for what they do, and I think they respect my approach, from a strength-and-conditioning perspective. Everything has been positive, and we are ready to go.
Brooke Bentley: What is your philosophy or your goals for the team this year?
Ray Wright: I guess my goals would be to get the most out of every player for every workout, keep the intensity level high. Also, we want to do as many movement patterns as we can, so that our players are ready to go when we start practice and OTAs.
Brooke Bentley: How different will your program be from the one under Dan (Riley)?
Ray Wright: There will be some differences in some of the movements. But for the most part, we are going to focus on how we do things and not necessarily how much weight or how many reps we can get. We want to focus on being very specific on what we want from them in their movement patterns.
Brooke Bentley: You work hand in hand with the training room staff to get players back from injuries. Talk about your role in the rehab process.
Ray Wright: First of all, we hired Geoff Kaplan (head athletic trainer), who is going to do an outstanding job with our training department. We want to be as preventative as possible. We want to try and do a screen on the players to make sure we find any red flags and we are going to work each muscle group and make them as strong as we can.
Brooke Bentley: The Texans had some injuries problem in previous years. What do you think is the key to making sure that the players enter the season injury free and are able stay that way?
Ray Wright: Really, preparing each muscle group and making each part of the body as strong as you can and make sure they are flexible. Not every injury can be prevented, but we want to be as proactive as we can with the individual.
Brooke Bentley: How much do you tailor-make workouts for each position group?
Ray Wright: They are not necessarily tailored for each group. We can tailor workouts for a player. If a player likes a movement – if he doesn't like to bench with a bar, we have a lot of different tools we can use to offset that. We try to make each program for each player as specific as we can.
Brooke Bentley: Offseason workouts are around the corner. After that, there is training camp. How are getting the guys in shape for both and what do you have planned for both?
Ray Wright: We have a six week "offseason program." It's not very long, but what we'll try to do during those six weeks is make sure they are getting stronger, they are getting in great condition and then go through as many football-specific positions that they can before we start our OTAs and mini-camps.
Brooke Bentley: The Texans right now are in the free agency period. Talk about your role in that.
Ray Wright: My role is really small. I just want to meet with the players, let them know my expectations, our expectations in the strength and conditioning department and just make them feel comfortable. And hopefully, they sign on the dotted line.
Brooke Bentley: When you walk into the weight room, there are a lot of motivational sayings and pictures. What motivational techniques do you plan to use with the players?
Ray Wright: I really don't believe in hanging up signs by historians or anything like that. I think whatever will go on the wall will come from them; it's their team. If we do put something up, you'll know it came from them.