MOBILE, Ala. – Since taking over as strength and conditioning coach for the Titans earlier this month, Frank Piraino has done his best to get to know his new players.
Here at the Senior Bowl, his former players at Boston College believe the Titans will learn to appreciate him.
Piraino will make them better, they say.
“I haven’t been in an NFL locker room, so I don’t know how certain things will be,” Boston College offensive lineman Chris Lindstrom said. “But knowing coach Piraino and the man he is, and the professional he is, I think he’s going to do a fantastic job.
“Coach Piraino is one of the best men I’ve ever met. The way he controls a room, not just with his voice, but with his presence, is pretty special. The Titans are getting a great coach, and a great person.”
Boston College defensive back Will Harris agreed.
“He’s a players’ coach,” Harris said. “The guys around B.C. love that man -- I know I do. He’s a guy who is always going to be in your corner.”
Titans coach Mike Vrabel hired Piraino as the team’s new strength and conditioning coach following the 2018 season, a year when the team was ravaged by injuries. Piraino most recently served as head strength and conditioning coach for football at Boston College, where he’d just wrapped up his sixth season.
Piraino replaced Tom Kanavy, who was promoted after long-time Titans strength and conditioning coach Steve Watterson retired last April.
Piraino has been working at Saint Thomas Hospital the past few weeks. He arrived in Tennessee after racking up plenty of experience in the collegiate ranks. Piraino joined head coach Steve Addazio in Boston College after spending two seasons as his head strength and conditioning coach at Temple. Piraino previously served as the head strength and conditioning coach for football at Marshall University, and prior to that he served on the strength and conditioning staff at the University of Florida for five years.
“I’ve been able to watch him and observe him during his time at Florida, at Temple and B.C., and felt like where we were, he could help us take the next step,” Vrabel said of Piraino. “I’m excited about bringing him in, bringing his energy, his expertise, his passion for improving players on the field. We want to improve them obviously in the weight room, but the whole intent is they translate that to the football field.”
The Boston College players described Piraino as firm and no-nonsense, but with a likeable personality.
Lindstrom, whose father played three seasons in the NFL, said Piraino helped him grow into a college player who is now an NFL prospect. The 310-pound Lindstrom was just 230 pounds when he first arrived on campus as a freshman.
Tight end Tommy Sweeney said Piraino helped him with his explosiveness.
“His big thing is work hard, and do the right thing,” Sweeney said. “His thing is you are going to get it done, or somebody else will. And he wants it to be you. I think he’ll fit in perfectly. In that league, either you’re going to do it or you’re not. And he’s going to help them do it.”
Boston College defensive end Zach Allen said Piraino is big on “functional movement.”
“He just makes guys better football players, and not just better lifters,” Allen said. “I think the guys will absolutely love him.”
Piraino worked with Florida’s football strength and conditioning program from January 2005 to January 2010, during a stretch when Florida won a pair of national championships and Southeastern Conference titles in both 2006 and 2008, under the direction of head coach Urban Meyer.
Prior to his days at Florida, Piraino served as a strength and conditioning assistant at Notre Dame in 2004, and he was a graduate assistant at Michigan State from 2003-04.
“That’s my guy,” Harris said of Piraino. “The Titans are getting a guy who is very detail-oriented. He is a guy who is going to push the players in the weight room, knows his players well, and is a great judge of being able to get out positive change in his players.
“He’s not a yeller or a screamer. But he is one of those guys who has that aura to him where you don’t want to get on his bad side. Very stern, but very fair. He demands a lot from his players. I know every year I got bigger, stronger and faster.”