A lot of uncertainty surrounds the Texas Longhorns this offseason with the program undergoing its third regime change in less than five years.
And the unknown is becoming the storyline of winter conditioning.
Physically, offseason workouts have been tough, but not much more difficult than what the team was accustomed to under Charlie Strong, according to sources close to the situation. (ICYMI, Horns Digest covered the physicality of workouts in HD Only Pt. 1)
Mentally, it's a different scenario.
First-year head coach Tom Herman is in the process of instilling a culture change in Austin, and it has kicked into overdrive since the start of offseason workouts.
The Longhorns have been on the receiving end of a lot of difficult messages from the staff, and are feeling the pressure that comes along with change, sources told Horns Digest.
One source referred to Herman's approach as something similarly seen in the military, with the goal being to break down the players so much, the only people they turn to are each other.
In addition to pushing the Longhorns to the limit during each workout, multiple sources said the coaches are demanding accountability amongst the team - both on and off the field.
While the players are still getting to know the staff, and vice versa, the coaches have made one thing very clear: Consequences follow mistakes. And under Herman, repercussions stemming from one person's error impacts more than simply the individual at fault.
If a player misses study hall/is late to a meeting/skips class/etc., he AND his entire position group will suffer the consequences during workouts, according to sources.
Why? To teach the Longhorns accountability and what it means to be a team.
"The team is trying to find its way around principles the staff feels strongly about," one source told HD. "There's a lot of unknown, but it's a tried-and-true approach that a lot of coaches use."
Herman has publicly discussed his intentions to change the culture at Texas ever since being introduced as head coach, and the process is now underway.
Sources indicated Herman's tough love method is geared towards eliminating the mistakes that have continually plagued the Longhorns in recent years.
"The administration and staff recognized there needs to be a culture change," one source said. "It's about creating a culture where there are fewer mistakes, and where mediocrity is unacceptable."