Yox Talks About Preparing To Face Oregon

Auburn strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall talks about getting the team ready for the BCS National Championship Game.

Scottsdale, Ariz.--Monday night will bring to an end the careers of a large and very successful senior class of 24 players for the Auburn Tigers as they take on the Oregon Ducks in the BCS National Championship Game.

It also brings to an end their working relationship with Auburn strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall, the man who has been a part of the Auburn program since he was hired in 1999.

That relationship is something that keeps players coming back for years to come and usually the first person they seek out is Yoxall. That trust in what he does for them on and off the field is something they hold dear and Yoxall said this year's senior class is one that has earned everything it has gotten.

"They've done a very, very good job," Yoxall said. "They have been through a lot, some of them only four years but some of them five. It has been quite a haul. It's kind of a nice reward to get to this point. They've done a very good job."

One of the toughest parts of Yoxall's job comes after every regular season when the Tigers become bowl eligible. Dealing with the time off surrounding final exams and the holiday season while trying to keep guys in shape is always a chore and this time around it has been even more difficult he noted.

"You have to figure out how not to do too much too soon," Yoxall said. "You have to figure out how to space things out. It has been very challenging. It has been unlike any bowl we've ever gotten ready for, even a New Year's Day bowl. You might not think nine days makes that much difference, but it really does in terms of the kids' focus. They've got finals going on and you have Christmas. We really had to try to do the best job we could of getting things spaced out. I feel like we have."

Making Yoxall's job even more challenging this time around has been the extra burden of trying to figure out a way to keep the Auburn defense as fresh as possible against an Oregon offense that runs plays at a breakneck pace. He said that's something he believes they've gotten a handle on but he won't know for sure until they get under the lights Monday night.

"It's the biggest concern on my mind from where I sit as the strength and conditioning coach," Yoxall said. "I'm anxious to see how well we hold up. I feel like we will. They are an out of conference team so we don't get a lot of exposure to them. You wonder how that's all going to pan out. I feel like it's good."

With the hay pretty much in the barn following Friday's practice and the rest time beginning for the game, Yoxall's job is pretty much coming to an end as far as Auburn's prep for Oregon is concerned. Even though his job is never really done with the Tigers needing constant work to stay in top form, he said for him he'll take some time to soak it all in that he's part of a team playing for the national championship in just a few short days.

"It's unbelievable," Yoxall said. "I just wish it would get here. It has taken a long time to get here."


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