Alabama football director of sports science Matt Rhea leaving program – Tuscaloosa Magazine

Matt Rhea, Alabama football’s director of sports science, announced he is leaving the Crimson Tide on Tuesday. 
“Love the Alabama guys and grateful to Coach Saban for the experience,” Rhea tweeted. “They won’t even notice I’m gone but what an experience for me! Looking ahead to new challenges but I’ll be cheering for Alabama football this fall.” 
According to a report, he is expected to join the New Orleans Saints. 
Rhea has been with Alabama since March 2020 when he joined alongside David Ballou, the Crimson Tide’s director of sports performance. They use Alabama’s sports science center that opened in July 2020. The duo previously worked together at Indiana. Ballou, however, is expected to stay in Tuscaloosa. 
In his UA bio, Rhea is described as bringing a scientific approach to Alabama’s dedication to get stronger and faster. Through Rhea’s data recorded during practices and workouts, Alabama could better determine what type of recovery each player needed. 
Rhea and Ballou have been at the forefront of Alabama shifting from a powerlifting approach to a focus on explosive movement. 
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Coach Nick Saban discussed during 2021 SEC Media Days how that emphasis, along with technology to test players, Alabama reduced the injury rate. 
“Last year our injuries were down by about 50%, soft tissue injuries,” Saban said. “We increased explosive movement during the season by almost 5%, which we had not done for several years.” 
Alabama also eliminated running tests because the technology allowed the opportunity to track the speed of players on any day. 
“The players have really bought into it from a flexibility standpoint and a strength and conditioning standpoint, and the technology has been very instrumental in helping the players see their progress and buy in to this process,” Saban said.
Before Rhea spent two years at Indiana, he served as IMG Academy’s head of sports science from 2016-17. His time as a strength and conditioning coach also included five years with NFL combine training and five years at the high school level. 

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