Hardy set to announce to Texas Tuesday

Galena Park coach <B>Mike Coker</B> told <I>IT</I> Monday afternoon that his star running back <B>Albert Hardy</B> will hold a news conference Tuesday around noon to announce his college destination.

Coker said he is in the process right now of calling the coaches of the teams that did not make the cut. As expected, that group doesn't include the UT coaches, who finally won the battle to land Hardy after the back returned from his weekend visit to the Forty Acres. Darryl Drake and Bruce Chambers did the heavy liftin' on the 5-11, (currently) 213-pound running back, convincing Hardy to spend four years at UT rather than LSU, Colorado or Alabama.

Coker said the traits that made Hardy such a sought-after prospect are his power and his durability. Plus, he's a "little faster than what people think," the coach added. At LSU camp last summer, while weighing in at 218 pounds, Hardy turned in 40 times in the 4.56-4.57 range, according to Coker, and the back plans to spend the off-season working on lowering that number to the low 4.5s. To do so, Hardy will try to keep at his ideal playing weight of about 215 through conditioning while also employing speed-specific training, including "starts, plyometrics and elastics," Coker said. (FYI, according to on-line fitness magazine www.protraineronline.com, plyometrics are a collection of carefully designed hops, jumps and upper body exercises performed with great speed and intensity. . . . plyometric exercises are designed to be more similar in form to sports-specific skills and involve light resistance to allow for explosive speed.)

His high school coach said Hardy also offers more than just athletic ability to the team. "Not only does he lead by example," Coker said, "he's a vocal leader. He takes charge and he wants to win. He's everything you want in a student and in a player."

With UT specifically, Coker said, Mack Brown and the staff stressed to Hardy the Horns need for more than one back. "Everybody is looking at the big backs, the guys that can wear down a defense and can provide protection," he said, something that Hardy will provide the Texas O. Coker also pointed out that with a back the size of Hardy, the offense doesn't necessarily tip its hand, regardless of down or distance, on whether the play is a run or a pass.

"He's a money-time, game-day player," Coker added.

Tuesday, Hardy will make it official; he'll wear the Orange and White on his game days for the next several years.

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