While many collegiate and professional American Football strength programs follow similar intensity in the off-season, if one were to pull 10 coaches into a room for a discussion of the intensity and types of exercises to be used to support/maintain the strength of American football players DURING the season, it is likely that 10 different philosophies would be realized. The purpose of the off-season strength program is to promote functional strength & power AND prepare players for the brutal pounding that takes place during a given football season. Maintaining the gains made during the off-season, however, is often viewed as a necessary evil. Players must continue to maintain their gains, but not at the sacrifice of their performance on the field. Moreover, one must be careful to assure that the in-season strength program does not promote injury due to a weakened state realized during a pounding football season.
As such, there are conflicting ideologies surrounding the proper implementation of an in-season American Football strength program. Some coaches implement programs that utilize high percentages of a 1RM while minimizing volume in terms of reps and/or sets. Others maintain that the percentage of a 1RM must be reduced in-season while favoring higher reps/sets. Still others reduce both the percentage of 1RMs used as well as minimizing the sets/reps. Removing high intensity exercises (such as power cleans in favor of less intense rack cleans) is also considered.
Personally, I believe that in-season it is necessary to continue to maintain explosive/functional POWER over all-out strength. While weights used must be reduced to, say, 65-70% (as a percentage of tested 1RMs), I also believe that weights/sets should be reduced. Further, olympic type lifts should continue to be implemented (I.e. Cleans, Snatch Squats, etc.) as one can simply not simulate explosive movements in the weight room through any other means. Rather than "how much", my philosophy is to realize quality reps during a reduced weight/rep/set program. This quality over quantity philosophy will maintain explosive power while ensuring that the in-season weight program does not limit the recovery time of an athlete in the midst of their season.
I'm interested to hear other philosophies