Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Balis Bringing Intensity to South Bend

January 20, 2017

Matt Balis is the new Director of Football Performance at Notre Dame and things are about things are about to get intense in The Gug, according to Max DeLorenzo, a former UConn star.

DeLorenzo played in 46 games at UConn as a running back and fullback from 2012-15, taking part in Balis’ program his final two seasons.

“If there was one word to describe him, it would be intense,” Balis stated. “He is a really big competitor and raises the competition level in the weight room. I’d tell the Notre Dame players, I am sure they had their guy in the past and weight room coaches are somewhat similar, but they need to get ready and I am sure they got a taste already.

“He’s intense in a good way. He’s going to make sure those guys are ready to do what they need to do on the field.”

Balis isn’t a screamer, DeLorenzo says, but a guy who’s going to relate to his guys while also pressing the right buttons to ensure goals are being accomplished.  

“It’s a player-like mindset,” said DeLorenzo. “People say a coach’s coach. He yells, but it’s not like ‘You suck’ type of way. When you’re in the weight room, he gets in your face to fire you up and it’s all in a good way.”  

You’re going to be strong, fast and quick at a top weight. His goal is to be as fast at your maximum weight. - Former UConn RB Max DeLorenzo
When it comes to Balis’ program, Notre Dame players can expect to do plenty, but also to see plenty of results.

“It’s a lot of high-rep stuff to help endurance and to get cut up a little bit, but then there’s a max stage and he brings the reps down,” explained DeLorenzo. “With the weight room stuff, there is always a high-intensity agility warm up and especially in the offseason, there is a lot of running.

“You’re going to be in shape, fast and quick. You’re going to be strong, fast and quick at a top weight. His goal is to be as fast at your maximum weight.”

Over the last few years, the Notre Dame offensive and defensive line had problems keeping good weight on and adding good weight. That shouldn’t be an issue under Balis.

“Notre Dame isn’t going to have a problem with that,” stated DeLorenzo. “Our offensive and defensive linemen were fit. Our guys were big. The offensive line was the bigger group body-type wise and our defensive line was a step faster, but that is mainly just because of the position, as the defensive line is going to be a little more athletic.

“They are going to be in the weight room and eating the right food. I am sure they have nutritionists out there helping them with their diet. Coach Balis, the way he wanted us was our fastest possible, but at your highest body weight.”  

When it comes to a performance program, the results aren’t always noticeable in the short-term, but DeLorenzo and his teammates saw and felt the results within the first year Balis was at UConn.

“He came in during the winter along with our new coach and by the fall, we saw differences,” said DeLorenzo. “It was the strength and running program along with our diet. I had so many parents, former players and friends tell me that not just my body, but guys on our team looked completely different in a good way.

“I am not making that up. It’s 100 percent true.”  

DeLorenzo has no regrets about being pushed to his limits by Balis and wouldn’t change a thing.

“I enjoyed him for the two years I had him at UConn. He’s a real tough guy, but it was worth it.”
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