Texans kick off new workouts under new regime

Texans kick off new workouts under new regime
April 7, 2014, 4:00 pm
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RICHMOND, Texas – School was back in session for the Texans on Monday.

The team has a new principal and teachers, so it was no surprise most of the players showed up to NRG Stadium 15 to 20 minutes earlier than the team meeting was set to begin.

“New coaching staff, you want to get in there early,” said tight end Garrett Graham before teeing off at Matt Schaub’s charity golf event on Monday afternoon. “You want to see how everything’s going to go. You definitely don’t want to be late.”

Graham said the team didn’t do anything “earth shattering” during their first day back together but attendance was very strong at the voluntary workouts and those in attendance were excited about the changes they saw.

“Everybody was really quiet when (new head coach Bill O’Brien) walked in there,” said quarterback T.J. Yates. “But it was good. It was a lot like the first day of school. Everybody was really anxious. Everybody’s got a fresh start. Everybody’s a rookie right now. Everybody’s got brand new coaches, offense, defense. So everybody is really excited.”

The Texans were allowed to begin their offseason workouts on Monday because they have a new coach. They were one of seven teams allowed to start workouts early but, under the CBA, full practices aren’t allowed. Players are limited to weight-room training and on-field conditioning, while coaches aren’t allowed on the field or in the weight room. Coaches are, however, allowed to conduct meetings and film sessions.

But when the Texans arrived on Monday, things weren’t the same. The new regime has been changing things around NRG Stadium. Bill O’Brien has already notably taken down posters from the complex that celebrated personal achievements. But the weight room has a new look too.

“It’s completely different,” Yates said. “Just as far as the weight room, it was completely different. There’s a 40-yard turf in the middle of the weight room, all the squat racks on the one side look like and Erector Set. There’s so many different things we can do and we haven’t even scratched the surface of all the stuff that we’re going to be doing.”

And it’s not just a different look to the weight room. The team will be doing things differently, from a strength and conditioning perspective, under new strength and conditioning coach Craig Fitzgerald. One of the biggest changes is the possible addition of MMA training to their workout regimen.

“I mean, I’m up for anything,” said punter Shane Lechler, who joked he wasn’t really involved in the Raiders’ offseason program, a situation that benefited him. “Whatever they want to do, I’ll do. I think it can only make us better. You can only lift the same weight and run the same runs so many times, it’ll be nice to do something different.”

“I’ve done some stuff outside the box type of stuff,” center Chris Myers said. “But they’re having some new ways of training. As long as you approach it with an open mind, you’ll be alright.”

Fitzgerald comes to Houston from Penn State, where he worked under Bill O’Brien, who brought him to the Texans. He revamped the Penn State workout facility and program and often worked out with the players.  Fitzgerald is known for being a fiery, in-your-face-type of coach.
“That’s exactly what he is,” Yates said. “He’s a super high-energy guy and that’s what you need in a weight room staff. All of his assistants are the same way. Very good at encouraging, not putting you down type stuff, but stuff that gets you better. A lot of it today wasn’t that type of stuff but we’ve been working out the last couple of weeks. You can see the fire and the energy that he brings into his job and I think that’s going to carry over with all the guys.”