Lovie Smith was excited for Monday.
Offseason conditioning began this morning for the Texans, and the head coach was ready to address his team for the first time in his new role.
"We've been waiting for this day for a long period of time," Smith said. "Since I became the head football coach here, the offseason kind of starts and seems like it officially kicks off the next 2022 season, when you can really do something about it."
Smith was named head coach on February 7, and it was a long two months until he got to address the team.
"We've been talking on the telephone with the guys for a long period of time but haven't been able to see them," Smith said. "A lot of new faces, coaching staff, players, so we're able to do that today and start our offseason program. As you know, the offseason program is voluntary, but when you win four games you just assume everybody is a lot like me that wants to get here and go to work to see what we can do to have better results this coming season, and that was absolutely the case."
Smith said attendance was "really good" and that the team will be together from 8 to noon each day over the next few weeks. The defensive coordinator in 2021, Smith begins his 12th season as an NFL head coach. Also promoted from 2021 was Pep Hamilton. A quarterbacks coach last year, he's now the offensive coordinator in 2022.
"It's good to have everybody back in the building," Hamilton said. "The good news is there were a small group of guys that stayed around over the course of the last month or so and took that time to work out together."
Ultimately, if the Texans are to improve upon their 4-13 mark of last autumn, Smith explained they'll need to keep the focus very narrow.
"There's no magic pill on how we're going to do things, just hard work," Smith said. "At first just work, faith in what we're doing, faith with work is what we're talking about right now. That starts with just showing up for the offseason program. Letting our strength and conditioning guys coach them up, get bigger, stronger, faster."
The Texans will continue spending time together in the classroom, weight room, and in the next few weeks, on the practice fields at the Houston Methodist Training Center.
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