Aaron Feld

The secret to Oregon's success starts in the weight room with Aaron Feld

The secret to Oregon's success starts in the weight room with Aaron Feld

You probably noticed the moment Aaron Feld took over as Oregon Football’s Strength and Conditioning coach back in January 2018.

Whether it was the magnificent mustache or perhaps it was the first time you heard him screaming ‘good morning’ at his players when they arrived for football practice in the early AM. Or maybe you noticed his impact on the players themselves, seeing their bodies transform in the weight room. 

Whatever the case may be, Feld has made quite the impact in Eugene, Oregon. 

The biggest difference Feld sees since he has taken over the program is the mindset in the weight room.

The weight room mentality here in the long history seemed to be just guys come in, do what they got to do and get out. What we tried to do was change that mentality of ‘Okay this is something we have to do,’ to ‘Okay, this is part of the process of winning.’ — Aaron Feld

That’s no easy task. For example, the players would have a scheduled lift every Sunday during football season, meaning after playing a long, hard-hitting football game on Saturday, to then wake up on Sunday to go lift. But Feld believes first in training your mind to then train your body. To see working out as something greater than just working out.

We used to have to come up with gimmicks and games and ideas to get them excited about training. This past season, it’s a business mentality. You walk in the weight room, you go to work, you get your job done and then you bounce. The purpose isn’t to lift weights; the purpose is to be great at football. — Aaron Feld

It’s that mindset that separates the good from the great and it’s in every small detail.

The fact that the Oregon weight room overlooks the practice fields serves as a constant reminder to the players that they’re not there to lift weights; they are there to play football. It’s about keeping your body and your mind in tip top shape to play the game of football.

Now it’s part of what they [the players] do and not something they have to do. — Aaron Feld

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon Strength & Conditioning Coach Aaron Feld.

Justin Herbert’s Redbox Bowl halftime speech is the most Justin Herbert speech ever

Justin Herbert’s Redbox Bowl halftime speech is the most Justin Herbert speech ever

For those of you who don’t remember, most likely because you’ve washed it from your memory on purpose, let’s flash back to the 2018 Redbox Bowl game.

It was a warm, sunny day for a noon kickoff at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The 8-4 Ducks, in head coach Mario Cristobal’s inaugural season, earned a post-season bowl game against the 7-6 Michigan State Spartans.

What came next was anything but predicted.

The Ducks and Spartans entered halftime with the scoreboard reading 0-0, and no that wasn’t the game clock, it was the score. 

Oregon Strength & Conditioning Coach Aaron Feld joined host Jordan Kent on the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast. Feld was asked what his favorite memory of being a coach at Oregon was. 

One of his favorites came at halftime of this Redbox bowl shutout.

Justin Herbert calls the whole team up - he doesn’t speak a whole lot - and he give this great ‘Hey, everybody relax, do your job, you know the drill, we’re going to go out there and win this game.’ And then he said, ‘Now let’s go out there and kick their butts.’ The entire team died out laughing. It was the perfect comic relief, icebreaker, like everyone calm down. We went out and had a good time the second half. — Aaron Feld

It’s the most Justin Herbert-like speech ever. 

But it also got the job done. The Ducks went on to win 7-6 and Mario Cristobal earned his first post-season bowl game win as head coach at Oregon. Oregon’s sole touchdown was a 28-yard pass from Herbert to wide receiver Dillon Mitchell with 11:19 to play in the fourth quarter.

Oh man, to be a fly on the wall during that halftime speech.

Feld has another favorite memory, quite similar to the one above, that too makes a whole lot of sense when looking at the last four years of the Oregon Football program. 

Last season, Cal had a 7-0 lead at halftime over Oregon in Autzen Stadium, something that doesn’t happen often. 

Troy Dye comes into the locker room, grabs Herbie [Justin Herbert] and pulls him over to the offensive line… We had been coaching and preaching about lifting each other up and elevating everybody and Troy calls these guys over and says, ‘Hey, all we need is eight points. If you get us eight points, we’ll win this game.’ We ended up winning 17-7 so the defense absolutely held their end of the bargain. — Aaron Feld

It’s like those moments when the student becomes the master. 

That kind of leadership was both needed and expected in those crucial moments and throughout the rest of the season from Justin Herbert and Troy Dye when the two decided to forgo the 2019 NFL Draft and return to Oregon for their senior year.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon Strength & Conditioning Coach Aaron Feld.

Report: Alabama offers David Ballou, not Aaron Feld for vacant strength and conditioning job

Report: Alabama offers David Ballou, not Aaron Feld for vacant strength and conditioning job

It appears that Duck fans can rest easy now.

A report surfaced last week that Oregon Head Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Aaron Feld was in the running to fill the same position at Alabama after Scott Cochran got hired away from Tuscaloosa to Georgia.  

Now, HoosiersNow.com reports that Indiana Strength and Conditioning Coordinator David Ballou has been offered the same position at Alabama to replace Cochran and is expected to accept the offer. That would mean that Feld will not be leaving Eugene to bulk up the Crimson Tide. 

The man with the best mustache in the country graduated from Mississippi State University before working on strength staffs at UAB, Alabama, North Alabama, and Georgia before Oregon. 

He has certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association.

Keeping him on Cristobal's staff is a win for Oregon.

Feld's Fourth Quarter program in the offseason has paid off for the Ducks in terms of staying in shape and increasing both size and speed when the season rolls around. Also, his energy is contagious. 'Flex Friday''s, yelling and jumping around, leading stretches and warm ups before practice... he does it all for the Ducks to limit injury and keep the Ducks in football shape.

He is the 27th highest paid strength and conditioning coach in the nation, third in the Pac-12 conference, making $310,000 in 2019 and having a max bonus of $93,000.

Alabama reportedly targeting Oregon Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Aaron Feld

feld.jpg
NBCSNW

Alabama reportedly targeting Oregon Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Aaron Feld

You can hear Aaron Feld coming from a mile away. He is the loudest person in the room, or in this case, on the football field.

He's vibrant, rambunctious You can find him screaming “Let’s go!” and giving out high fives as the Oregon Ducks football team takes the field and during early morning practices and lift sessions. 

His energy is infectious, contagious. His mustache and bulging biceps are unmistakable. He is Oregon’s Head Strength and Conditioning Coordinator and he is very good at his job. 

So good, in fact, that he is in high-demand for other programs across the country.

There is rumored interest in Feld from the Alabama Crimson Tide, according to Jon Wilner of the Pac-12 hotline newsletter, who just lost their Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Scott Cochran to the Georgia Bulldogs.

Here is how Feld is already connected to Alabama:

COACHING EXPERIENCE

2012-2013, UAB: Assistant Strength Coach (football) & Head Strength Coach (women’s basketball)

2013-2014, Alabama: Volunteer Strength Coach (football)

2014-2015, North Alabama: Head Strength Coach (all sports)

2015-2017, Georgia: Assistant Director of Strength and Conditioning (football)

2017-present, Oregon: Head Football Strength and Conditioning Coordinator

Feld graduated from Mississippi State University. He has certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association.

While this is just a rumor, it would be a huge blow to the Oregon football program. His Fourth Quarter program in the offseason has paid off for the Ducks in terms of staying in shape and increasing both size and speed when the season rolls around. Also, his energy is contagious. Flex Friday's, yelling and jumping around, leading before practice stretching, he does it all for the Ducks to limit injury and keep the Ducks in football shape.

Feld is the 27th highest paid strength and conditioning coach in the nation, third in the Pac-12 conference. He made $310,000 in 2019 and had a max bonus of $93,000.

It would be a big loss indeed.

 

With the celebration over, the Ducks are back in the weight room

With the celebration over, the Ducks are back in the weight room

No rest for the weary!

The defending Pac-12 and Rose Bowl Champions are already preparing to defend their crown and build off an impressive season.

Strength and conditioning coordinator Aaron Feld already has the Ducks in the weight room for Oregon's offseason training program ahead of the 2020 season. Feld has said in the past that the offseason is his season.

The players themselves are taking these workouts seriously, giving their all.

However, the program definitely works. In Feld's first season following his offseason training program, the Ducks were clearly more physically dominant. For three quarters they blew Stanford off the line and ran a dive play on third-and-five to walk off against Washington. 

Last season, they won the Pac-12 conference rushing for 239 yards against the nation's top rushing defense heading into the game. Feld uses the hashtag #TAKETHEPAC and the Ducks did just that this season. One game later, they beat a Wisconsin team known for their physicality.

Once coach Feld came from Georgia to Eugene, he began using the #FLEXFRIDAY hashtag to let the players show off their gains on social media. 

Here are some from this week's #FLEXFRIDAY.

And here are some of my favorites from the last two seasons.

Keep flexin'!

Opposing leadership styles working for Oregon Football

Opposing leadership styles working for Oregon Football

You can hear Oregon strength and conditioning coordinator Aaron Feld before you can see him. And that’s momentous, considering his larger than life dance moves and body builder physique bulging from his all-black Oregon-Nike-Air Jordan collaboration outfit.

From 100 yards away I can hear Feld, clear as the sunny mid-August Eugene day, scream, “Turn it upppp!!!!”

The beat drops to Hypnotize by Notorious B.I.G and the Ducks start their 10th fall football practice, buzzing.

“If you had my arms, you’d be the biggest running back in the country,” Feld says to sophomore Cyrus Habibi-Likio, who ran with the first-team offense. Habibi-Likio laughs, turns around and mouths to me with a shrug, “He’s right.”

Just 15 yards away, the leadership style is much different. Senior quarterback Justin Herbert lines up, commanding the quarterback unit with precise stretching, smiles and quiet high-fives. Lingering nearby, a Los Angeles Rams scout dutifully watches him.

The juxtaposition is palpable.

The reality, of course, is not the extreme. Feld is not a screaming psychopath with a crisp mustache and Herbert is not a shy pushover with a good arm.

Actually, the mustache and arm element ring true.

The 2019 Oregon football team looks to these two completely different leaders in preparation; and it’s working for the Ducks.

Let’s start with the loud. Feld has been igniting energy into the program since January of 2018. It’s easy to see the focus in the weight room is paying off; much of the team has exceeded personal records in most lifts. Last year, Oregon had 29 players who could squad 400 or more pounds. That number has almost doubled to 56 players in the “400 club”, according to coach Mario Cristobal. 15 Ducks can squat 500 pounds compared to three a year ago.

Yes, the Oregon Ducks are feeling swole, hanging around the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex with their sleeves filled.

If you haven’t heard of Feld’s “Fill the Sleeves” motto yet, this tweet will explain.

Their more muscular physiques are adding up to increased physicality, durability and upgraded size. While every position group has benefitted, the difference particularly on the offensive and defensive lines is impressive. Which is imperative, considering the Ducks have a date with Auburn in week one and the better team in the trenches will likely be the victor.

Feld’s most impressive work may be getting UO’s incoming freshmen ready for the college game. Freshman defensive lineman Kayvon Thibodeaux had never squatted before becoming a Duck and he just joined the 500-pound squat club. Brandon Dorlus and Keyon Ware-Hudson are raw talents that may be able to make an impact on the defensive line this season.

Feld can be heard at practice, while Herbert can be seen.

Steady eddy Herbert, standing at 6-foot-6, 240-pounds, on his final season at Oregon, is months away from making millions in the NFL. Entering the second week of fall camp, there hasn’t been much news of the Heisman Trophy hopeful. His junior campaign flashed brilliance that caused NFL scouts to project him as a top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft had he chosen to leave school.

A rare slight on the passer with the powerful right arm and sneaky fast wheels from scouts was his “shy” and/or “immature” personality. That notion has drifted away through Herbert’s evolution. His teammates have noticed exponential growth in his leadership.

"Justin has never been the athlete he is now," Offensive lineman Shane Lemieux said. "Especially off the field, he’s such a better leader… He’s always the one that brings us back in."

Herbert isn’t going to get in your face, unless he needs to. Herbert’s leadership is truly set by his example.

“He’s exactly what you want on your football team,” Cristobal said. “He acts like he’s a freshman that just got here and is trying to prove something.  He lives each day as if he’s the guy who’s trying to prove that he belongs here. When your best players are doing that, you’ve got a chance to be a good football team.”

Quiet, loud…whatever… It’s working. The Oregon football team is motivated and 18 days away from the national spotlight.

Oregon Ducks' surprising hobbies: Can you guess who is the best at video games?

Oregon Ducks' surprising hobbies: Can you guess who is the best at video games?

Have you ever wondered which Oregon Duck football player is the best at video games? Did you know that UO’s leading rusher lived in Japan for three years of his life? Would you guess that an incoming freshman is a huge Star Wars fan?

At Oregon football media day, players’ personalities shined through, and we discovered divulging hobbies and facts that fans might be surprised to find out.

At this point, you’ve seen Oregon football’s strength and conditioning coordinator Aaron Feld and his mustache. You’ve heard of Flex Friday. Today we are trading in Flex Friday for Fun Friday, so you can learn more about the Ducks off the field.

A few highlights from the video above:

- Starting cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. loves video games and is the self-proclaimed “best player at Madden on the team". The only person that can challenge him is fellow junior cornerback Deommodore Lenoir.

- Freshman tight end Patrick Herbert, quarterback Justin Herbert’s younger brother, is a huge Star Wars fan.

- Safety Jevon Holland is from Vancouver, British Columbia. In his spare time, he loves to paint.

- Defensive tackle Jordon Scott can throw down in the kitchen.

What is Oregon's Flex Friday? "It's pure, GET SWOLE!"

What is Oregon's Flex Friday? "It's pure, GET SWOLE!"

Caution. The above video may cause you to run to the gym for some curls and mirror flexing.

I’m only half kidding.

Meet Oregon football’s strength and conditioning coordinator, Aaron Feld. You’ve probably already seen his mustache. But have you heard of Flex Friday?

During the last 10 minutes of every Friday workout, the Ducks head to the mirror with a curl bar or dumbbells for biceps and triceps. Shirts come off and Feld captures the moment to share on Twitter. Feld says the team loves it so much he has to kick players out of the weight room to stay within NCAA offseason workout guidelines. 

“Flex Friday is optional and so is winning the Pac-12 championship,” said Feld. “99.99 percent of the time, you have 100 percent of the guys in here.”

"Flex Friday" is a small part of the infectious energy Feld has brought to the Oregon weight room. He just introduced his new "45 day challenge" where he challened all football coaches to get mentally and physically prepared for kickoff with 100 bicep and tricep reps every day. 

Feld came to Oregon from the University of Georgia, where he spent the previous three years as the assistant director of strength and conditioning.

Feld and UO coach Mario Cristobal have ties that go back to 2013. Feld was a volunteer strength coach while Cristobal served as assistant head coach, offensive line coach, and recruiting coordinator at the University of Alabama.

 

Here are some of his best moments on social media: