Connect with us

Alabama Football News

Alabama’s tandem of David Ballou, Dr. Matt Rhea ‘light years’ ahead of everyone else, per Nick Saban

Cedric Mason - Touchdown Alabama Magazinec

Before the United States was affected by the coronavirus pandemic, fans of Alabama football were scheduled to be at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. for A-Day. 

Instead of having the annual spring game, Eli Gold of the Crimson Tide’s Sports Radio Network had Nick Saban provide a spring update. During this time of social distancing, it has been documented that the coaching staff has taken advantage of Zoom meetings with players and recruits.

Coach Saban also mentioned the team is prepping for future opponents in the coming season and going over different installments with players.

Prior to the global crisis, Alabama made two hires for its sports performance department: David Ballou and Dr. Matt Rhea. 

Ballou was hired as the Director of Sports Performance, while Rhea has the Director of Performance Science tag.

With the program having a new science center, Saban is very excited about what the former duo at IMG Academy and Indiana University will put together. After 13 seasons with Scott Cochran, he said the tandem of Ballou and Rhea are ‘light years’ in advance of what a lot of people are doing at their programs. 

“Four to five years ago, these guys were at IMG,” Saban said. “I heard a lot about the state-of-the-art sports science stuff they were actually into and doing there. I never really thought much about it and then we had an opportunity to research these guys, they did a phenomenal job at Notre Dame of eliminating injuries by 50 percent and even better at Indiana.” 

Cochran’s old school approach was good for five national championships; however, Saban noticed the growth of injuries in the last few seasons. He said that Alabama brought in guys from the NFL to see if it could improve the injury prevention.

The program was headed into a more advanced path and after looking at candidates that were strength coaches, Saban could not turn down the dynamic duo. 

“These guys were really way advanced, in terms of some of the things they did to prevent injuries, the training programs they had,” Saban said. “We are really excited to have them here in the program.” 

According to Saban, the players love Ballou and Rhea. 

Both coaches observe drills and monitor the sleep patterns, maximum weight training/speed training and overall well-being of each athlete.

Ballou and Rhea were behind the idea of installing workout apps on phones and getting Apple watches for coaches to monitor players. 

RELATED: Reading between the lines in a recent Nick Saban interview

Since the hires were made, Alabama is pleased with what it has in both guys. 

Hopefully, we can return to football soon.  

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

More in Alabama Football News