Much is expected of USF defensive end Ryne Giddins this season as he becomes a starter.
He already is known as a good speed rusher. So what did he focus on this summer to make himself even better? Hand-eye coordination was huge. So Giddins did extra activities outside of football to help him in that area.
Giddins’ father signed him up for some karate classes. He threw tennis balls against a wall, and also did work with a bandana tied around his eyes.
“Karate helps with your technique and balance, when to attack, when not to attack,” Giddins said in a recent phone interview. “When throwing the tennis balls against the wall, that helps you stay focused on the tennis ball and catch with your hand. With the bandana tied around my head, it helps you work a move with your eyes closed because every defensive and offensive lineman blinks when they make contract. You only get that split second to see who’s going to be the one getting that edge.”
Giddins explains that while his speed was good last season, his hand-eye coordination was not.
“I used a lot of speed,” said Giddins, who had 3.5 sacks as a backup last season. “Every time I hit the hole, my eyes were closed and I was still in the same spot. Now, I’m working on moving and getting around the corner, watching the offensive lineman’s his hands, swiping them at the right time. I need to get in the threatening range of the offensive lineman.”
In addition to working on his hand-eye coordination, Giddins put on 15 pounds and is up to 262. He also credits new strength and conditioning coach Mike Golden for improving his work outs and getting him a little faster. They concentrated on specific areas in the weight room like bench work, speed work and grip work.
“You can lift weights and go in there, but sometimes you’re hurting your body more than you think you are, and not making your body better,” he said. “The way Mike Golden did it was awesome. I feel in shape, and having him in there is the key to my success.”
As for the increased expectations, Giddins is ready for them. He understands USF has turned out successful defensive ends that have made their way to the NFL. Maybe his turn is next.
“I worked my butt off this summer,” Giddins said. “I’m ready for this role. It’s not really pressure to me. I feel real comfortable with where I’m at right now. I know the defense and I know the scheme. There’s no pressure for me to do what I’m supposed to do.”