The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Hocke making huge impact as new strength coach

Photo by By Alex Miller

Safety Armani Watts said the Aggies must stay consistent throughout the 2017 season to have success.

HOOVER, Ala. – Texas A&M coaches and players alike can agree on one thing — the Aggies must finish games.
Over the past three years, A&M has started a combined 16-0, but has finished 8-15 in the second half of the season as fatigue and injuries have played a key role in several stumbles.
“I feel like it’s wear and tear, injury,” safety Armani Watts said of A&M’s second half struggles. “This year, we have to be in the weight room more, training room, take care of our bodies, doing the little things right so we can be able to compete every week at our highest level.”
In January, the Aggies added new strength coach Mark Hocke in hopes to supply stamina for A&M in the second half of the season.
“You can see it early and during spring football,” A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said of Hocke’s difference. “There’s no doubt they’ve had an impact on our program and the biggest way to tell is to play games.”
Maybe showing old clips of Mike Tyson slugging men on the weight room video board while lifting can help motivate the Aggies to finish opponents like the legendary boxer did in the ring.
“In the middle of our workout, we’ve got boxers up there, got Mike Tyson going after it,” offensive tackle Koda Martin said. “Great athletes that are training to just put a picture in your mind of this isn’t just lifting weights, you’re training for your sport, you’re training to win.”
Martin noted that along with Hocke came four position-specific strength coaches to add emphasis to training for their exact unit. Martin said that doing lifts that involve stances, pass sets and run steps are just several examples of more detailed exercises tailored for the linemen.
“We’ve been training hard and it’s football specific,” Martin said. “It’s really going to help us when we get to the season when it’s time to play ball.”
Hocke’s personality has been described as culture-changing and players enjoy going to his workouts.
“He’s enthusiastic, we love workouts, love coming to run, we’re just having fun with the game,” Watts said. “We’re all competing, all competing with each other… This whole staff has been a great impact on us.”
Aside from finishing, the Aggies must have another element to their game from the beginning of September to the end of November – consistency.
“This year staying consistent, try to play consistent and that’s what we’ve been improving on during our offseason training,” Watts said of the team’s approach.
Many doubt A&M’s ability to be a contender this year, but the players feel they can be a part of the mix if they can put the pieces together.
“I know we have the talent to do it,” Kirk said of A&M’s chances in 2017. “We just have to put it together the whole season. We just need to finish and work hard every game.”

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