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New Titans Director of Sports Performance Zac Woodfin Preaches "Blue-Collar, Cutting Edge" Approach


NASHVILLE – Zac Woodfin is in his first few months on the job with the Titans, serving as the team's new director of sports performance.

His approach, in his words, is two-fold.

"The simplest way to describe our style is blue-collar, and it's cutting edge," Woodfin said after one of the team's offseason workouts last week. "It's the perfect balance between those two. Blue-collar in the nature of, this is a very physical, violent game, and you have to train hard. There is no way you can train soft and play hard. So, the training has to be hard training at times.

"The cutting-edge part is the assessment, using the technologies that we have, that we brought in with our sports science department, to assess our guys, to know: 'Are there asymmetries to understand what the things are they really need in order to improve their performance?' Because everybody is different, and having a very individual training plan for each one of our guys based on the position they play, based on the needs that they gave. Again, everybody is different. So, I think we've done a great job assessing our players based on their bodies, based on their position, the positional demands of that – o-linemen are asked to do something completely different than our receivers, so they train differently. So that is the easiest way to describe what we're all about.

"We're about being blue-collar, and we're about being cutting edge."

Woodfin, hired in March, arrived with 18 years of experience in the strength and conditioning field. He served the past two years as the Director of Player Performance and Wellness for the United States Football League and United Football League (2022-24), overseeing the league's athletic performance training staff.

Prior to his time with the USFL/UFL, Woodfin was the Director of Athletic Performance at Missouri (2020-21), Kansas (2017-19) and Southern Miss (2015-16) and was the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at his alma mater, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, for one season (2014). From 2011 to 2013, he was an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Green Bay Packers.

Under new head coach Brian Callahan, the team's strength and conditioning staff has been expanded.

Mark Lovat and Grant Thorne were hired as assistant strength and conditioning Coaches, and John Shaw was hired as assistant sports performance – speed training coach.

Woodfin, Lovat, Thorne and Shaw joined holdovers Brian Bell (Assistant Director of Sports Performance) and Haley Roberts (Sports Performance Assistant) from the team's previous sports performance staff.

"Just the style that we're going to work with in that space, in the performance space," Callahan said, "(we've) got a really great staff. It's numbers-wise, a heavier staff. We got six on the staff, plus Lauren (Silvio), the nutritionist. So, you got seven people in the performance world for us. I just love their plan. I love their energy. There's old school elements that have to be a part of that. You still have to do hard things. You have to lift hard, you have to condition.

"But then there's also the science factor of making sure we're doing the right things when we're doing them, what the loads are. There's a lot more that can go into that. … There's a science part and a management part that filters in with the hard part. And I think that they do a great job of mixing that process together."

Lovat joined the Titans after spending the past 25 years with the Green Bay Packers. He was hired in 1999 as a Strength and Conditioning Assistant, a title he held for a total of 16 seasons with the team. He was the club's Strength and Conditioning Coordinator from 2010 to 2018.

Shaw joined the Titans after spending the past five years in college coaching, most recently as the Director of Speed Development at the University of Washington. Prior to his time at Washington, Shaw was the Director of Speed Development for two seasons on the strength and conditioning staff at the University of Arizona (2022-23). He was an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for two seasons at the University of Missouri (2020-21) and one campaign at the University of Kansas (2019).

Thorne spent the previous 14 seasons coaching in college and the NFL, most recently totaling 11 seasons with the Packers, including nine years as a Strength and Conditioning Assistant (2015-23) and two years as a Strength and Conditioning Consultant (2013-14).

Part of the staff's focus will be on preventing injuries, which has been an issue with recent Titans teams.

Woodfin said the entire organization will work to prevent injuries, from how the team trains and practices, to how players, eat, sleep and hydrate. The NFL is the most violent sport in the world, Woodfin reminded.

"We all want to help our team be as healthy and be fast and be ready to play at a high level on game day as we can," Woodfin said. "It's really a collective effort, across the organization."

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