Chizik: Building Auburn's Strength a Priority

The new Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik discusses his team's offseason workouts.

Auburn, Ala.--Forty-four minutes before sunrise on Tuesday, Auburn's football players were on the practice field for the first time with their new coaching staff.

Gene Chizik, who took over the Auburn program in December, is putting the Tigers through the most demanding portion of offseason workouts.

"It was interesting," Chizik says. "It was good. They worked hard and their spirits were good.

"Of course, there was a lot of fear of the unknown," Chizik adds. "They get it now and we will get better every time we go out there to do it."

Chizik and his entire coaching staff were on the practice field for the pre-breakfast workouts that Chizik's notes that are designed to build mental toughness as well as physical toughness. The Tigers do agility drills and running in the sessions to get in the best shape possible to perform for spring training practices that will start next month.

The early morning workouts will take place twice a week and three times a week strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall and his staff will be training the Tigers in the weight room.

Chizik says, "One thing I told Coach Yox, is look, ‘We are going to back up spring practice. I want these guys to get strong so I want you to have them for three or four days a week for a month and half before we get them (for spring practice).

"We are not going to start spring practice until after spring break," Chizik says. "We will start spring practice on March 24. We will have our spring game on April 18 so we will go about a month. Before that we are going to keep training them and keep working them. Learning a new offense, a new defense and new specials there are just a lot of moving parts right now and that is the way it should be.

"One thing we are going to do with those kids is we are going to demand," the coach adds. "We told them we are going to set a standard right now and they are going to have to come up to that standard. We are not going down to theirs. If they are not there, they are going to have to come up.

"We have some work to do, but these kids understand Auburn and they understand the passion of Auburn and what Auburn is about," Chizik says. "They will get it. If they don't get it, they won't be there very long."

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