COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- When Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin brought strength coach Larry Jackson with him from Houston last December, he named the former Aggie linebacker as his most important hire. That in and of itself is not an unusual statement by a college football coach. However, it just so happens to be true.
Texas A&M went 7-6 last season. In five of the losses, the Aggies held leads of 9 to 18 points in the second half. You can argue that not all of the come-from-ahead losses could be blamed on conditioning. But it’s fair to surmise that some of the Aggies got tired.
"You can teach a player to do a lot of things," Jackson said. "You can show him the schemes and everything. But when you get tired, a whole lot of that goes out the door. And it becomes, 'I'm just trying to make it through,' vs., 'I'm trying to perform and win.'"
Jackson relies on his experience as a player to guide him as he works the football team, and that includes his experience as a player off the field. For instance, the more you play, the later your workout will be scheduled.
“I don't like to get vets up early in the morning during the season to do workouts,” Jackson said. “The freshmen that are not going to play, the developmental guys, will work out first every morning. Then the veterans get to sleep in. They’re going to be who they are. They’re going to be kids. You can tell them, ‘You gotta get up early.’ They’re still going to stay up and watch ESPN or talk to the girl on the phone late at night. They’re going to still do those things, so you have to kind of account for that.”