Over the last year-plus, it's become crystal clear to WSU football fans that Luke Falk is just a different kind of player.
Whether it was walking on at WSU before beating out a 4-star recruit for the backup job last season, or stepping in to throw for 400 yards in his first start as a redshirt freshman, or leading the Cougars to eight wins -- thanks to a number of cool-as-a-cucumber fourth-quarter comebacks -- and inserting himself into the Heisman Trophy conversation as a sophomore, doubt no longer exists that Falk is a pretty special quarterback.
And to hear Falk and the people around him tell it, this didn't happen by chance.
Stefanie Loh of The Seattle Times has written a fascinating piece detailing the lengths to which Falk has gone in pursuit of his football career, ranging from goal setting to specialized sports science training to diet management to holistic medicine treatment. It's a really incredible story that gives you just a little window into how driven Falk is to succeed at the highest level.
One of the more interesting anecdotes in the story involves Dr. Matt Rhea, Falk's personal trainer in high school.
"A classic sample of one of the more challenging workouts was two and a half hours of a sequence style workout where one exercise follows another, and it’s performed in a way that simulates a football drive where the average play lasts six to seven seconds and the average drive is about eight to 10 plays," Rhea says. "We would simulate the most aggressive stress he’d see in a game in a very long drive with fast plays."
The long sequence of plyometric and resistance-based exercises might include movements like squats, power cleans, or dumbbell work, and throughout the workout, Rhea was constantly monitoring Falk’s physiological data, examining factors like heart rate and heart rate recovery.
"We’d keep pushing things until there were physiological signs that a workout needed to end," Rhea says.
The problem, however, was that "we had a hard time finding his point of exhaustion," Rhea says. "We’d do it for three to four hours and he was still going strong. (At that point) I would just shut him down."
Yep, he's just wired a little differently.
There's a lot more in there, including Falk's proclivity for essential oils (like frankincense -- yes, that frankincense). It's a side of Falk you almost certainly weren't aware of, and it's worth your time to read.
(Unless you're afraid of being a little ashamed, as I was, that you've never in your life been as singleminded in your pursuit of something as 20-year-old Falk has been in his pursuit of becoming a quarterback. Then don't read it.)