Christian McCollum of Irish Sports Daily contributed this story to Hail Varsity.
One of Matt McChesney’s challenges as owner and head coach at Six Zero Strength & Fitness is getting linemen to let loose.
“You just have to dig it out because everybody has been told, ‘If you’re big, be nice,’” says McChesney, who played six years in the NFL on both sides of the ball. “I’m not telling them to be bullies, but I’m also not telling them to be somebody that they’re not.
“When these kids walk in, they need a place where they can go be a savage and that’s what we provide. I’m not going to lie, that’s what we’re doing. Football is a violent, savage game.”
Some kids take to the environment quicker than others and 2020 Colorado offensive lineman Reece Atteberry is certainly one of them. McChesney says the 6-foot-5, 280-pounder “is about as good as they get.”
“He has some things to fix like every kid does, but [success comes] when you have a 4.0 and you’re built like he is and you’re just a nasty prick naturally and you love sports and competing,” says McChesney. “He’s one of these kids who has just taken to it like a fish to water.”
Atteberry has blossomed into one of the nation’s top offensive line targets with offers from schools like Nebraska, Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Iowa, Duke, USC, Oregon and Colorado among several others.
“It’s amazing how many of the kids want to do things correctly and how many adults want to cut corners and do things wrong,” says McChesney. “It’s amazing to me. He’s another one of these guys in the community who has walked into the room with no offers and is walking out with 30-something.
“It resonates with the serious athletes. It is crazy to watch guys who didn’t want to work and had opportunities to and then go to college and hear about their struggles. And then to see the guys we’re working with and hear about how much they’re excelling.”
Because of their work ethics, McChesney is confident Atteberry is one of his guys who fall in the second category. As physical as Six Zero can be, McChesney and his staff also work hard with their guys on the board so they’re also well-versed on the mental side of the game when they arrive at college.
“They’re learning how to be a professional off the field and on the field,” says McChesney. “All they have to do is apply terminology and the technique they’ve been coached on and you’ve got pros on the field.
“It’s all language. The personnel groupings, the fronts and being able to read the second and third level together instead of independently. People try to read the second and third levels independently and they get confused because you can’t do it fast enough.”
McChesney helps his players understand what they need to look for from their opponents, what it means and how to apply the information.”
“How many guys are high?” he explains. “Where are there? Are there four for three? Are there three for four? Are there two for three? Where’s the three-technique? Where’s the middle of the defense? Where’s the most dangerous rusher? Let’s roll.
“Put the information out, articulate it, communicate it and let’s get moving. We try to teach them young and young people are more apt to learn faster because you’re not locked into a system.”