Trainer: Aidan Keanaaina Focused On The Right Things

March 12, 2019

Aidan Keanaaina’s college future has been set since the 2020 Colorado defensive tackle committed to Notre Dame last month and his options were solidified with several scholarship offers long before that, but according to Matt McChesney, his work ethic has never slowed down.

McChesney works with several of the state’s premier recruits through his facility, Six Zero Strength & Fitness in Centennial, Colo.

“His desire to improve instead of just chasing offers,” McChesney says of Keanaaina’s strengths.

“Let me put it like this, there are a whole lot of people who just wanted to get offered these days instead of putting in the work to actually get better. Aidan doesn’t need help getting offered. Aidan needs helping developing and that’s what we’ve been trying to do with him since he walked in.”

The 2020 Irish commit is certainly holding up his end of the bargain by coming with the proper attitude.

“He was like that this morning at 6 a.m. and he’ll be like that again Thursday at 6 a.m.,” McChesney says. “it’s good to have a player who’s that highly-rated and that coveted and also that hungry. Unfortunately, other kids get a little bit of shine and start to think they’re special and that they’re the first ones to play football at that position.”

McChesney is happy to say he often has to humble many kids who have only been told how great they are.

“I try to be as hard on them as possible early so they don’t clam up when Mike Elston jumps down their throat when they do something wrong and they just say, ‘Yes sir,’ instead,” he says. “Mike’s a really good recruiter, but he’s (tough) as a coach.”

McChesney believes attitude is hard to quantify when college and NFL programs are scouting players.

“The evaluation process in college and the evaluation process in the NFL are both messed up,” says McChesney, who spent six years as an offensive and defensive lineman in the NFL. “It’s terrible, it’s awful.

“I’m not saying they can’t ID talent. They can’t identify heart, that’s what I’m saying. They have a hard time identifying kids who love it as opposed to kids who are just good at it. Those are two very different things because you’re not going to be good at it forever. Eventually, you’re going to suck.”

McChesney has seen improvement in a number of areas for the 6-foot-3, 305-pound Keanaaina since working with him.

“Hip flexibility, using his inside hand, covering ground on his first step, overall pass rush moves,” the trainer says of where Keanaaina has gotten better.

“He’s understanding angles better. He understands the little things we’re talking about. He’s operating like he’s in college. My challenge to him was to upgrade every day as if he’s redshirting and he should be successful heading into Notre Dame. That’s what he’s doing now until he leaves.”

McChesney sees areas where the Brighton, Colo., native can continue to improve.

“Short-space explosive power, what they look for from NFL players, being really, really explosive and fast-twitch at the point of attack, making sure he’s not wasting movement and motion.”

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