McKnight opens up on new role as Texas strength and conditioning coach

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With new coaching comes new conditioning.

The Texas Longhorns have undergone their first week of workouts under new strength and conditioning coach Yancy McKnight. The former Rice, Iowa State and Houston assistant reunites with head coach Tom Herman in Austin for the fourth time in their coaching careers.

McKnight emphasizes the importance of establishing relationships with his players, hoping to build character and work ethic along the way. When entering a new coaching environment, strength coaches are tested with getting veterans on board with new workouts and different conditioning methods.

“Respect and trust is earned not given, and that’s both sides,” McKnight said. “I don’t expect them right this minute to respect me completely or trust me completely yet. I’m going to work day and night, every day, every minute to earn it from them. We’re going to work hard and going to work smart.”

Smart training is of vital importance in today’s college athletics. The Oregon Ducks recently suspended their newly hired strength and conditioning coach after the hospitalization of three players following grueling workouts.

“I know that our guys have been off for five weeks because they (didn’t) go to a bowl game,” McKnight said. “I think you have to take that into consideration when they’ve had long breaks. If you’re in the middle of a six-week training session, it’s a little bit different than week one coming off a five or six-week break.”

McKnight has a system of separating his athletes into color groups — gold, green and crimson. Gold represents the gold standard players of the program, green signifies a player is trending upward and crimson recognizes that a player needs assistance to progress.

“Every day is an evaluation,” McKnight said on his labeling system. “If you can get to where you’re supposed to go and do all your stuff, you get treated like a big boy. If you can’t do those other things, can’t set your alarm clock, we’re gonna have someone do it for you.”