Tracy Ford knows what football players need.
He played at Decatur, then starred on the Bellevue High squad at tailback in 2004 before going on to Idaho, then Portland State – and finally a short stint in the Canadian Football League.
He also knows what players need to function properly – he has been the head strength and conditioning coach at Bellevue High School, as well as an owner of a private gym (EndZone Athletics) in Kirkland.
And now, Ford is opening new doors for Northwest products hoping to make the jump to professional football with his UnderDogNation Elite Training combine program.
With the NFL Draft approaching in April, Ford has six football players participating in his combine-specific workouts – defensive back Justin Glenn (UW), tight end John Reese (Oregon State), lineman Matt Cleveland (Idaho), quarterback Josh Stallons (Shaw/Wisconsin) and two South Sound products in tight end Kavario Middleton (Lakes High/UW and Montana) and defensive back Alex Tennyson (Mount Tahoma High/Western Oregon).
The focus of the programs is mastering all the running tests (40-yard dash, pro-agility, L-drill, 60-yard shuttle), jumping tests (vertical and broad jump), strength and conditioning, mobility and flexibility, even nutrition and mental preparation.
“It’s preparing them for their biggest job interview of their lives,” Ford said.
The workouts are broken up in three-week increments, and many of the athletes live on-site (Dates are Jan. 6-26 and Feb. 18-March 2).