Offseason workout program begins

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The Texans' offseason workout program began Monday at Reliant Stadium under new strength and conditioning coach Cedric Smith.

Players reported in different shifts, the first one beginning at 7:30 a.m., for an outdoor group run followed by weightlifting with Smith and his staff.

"It's good to get back at it here with the guys," said Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, the 2010 Pro Bowl MVP. "I haven't seen a lot of them in a while. The offseason always seems to go faster with each passing year, but it's good to get back to work and get after this 2010 season."

For many players, Monday was the first time they'd been at the stadium since the end of the 2009 season. They were receptive to Smith's revamped weight room and new strength and conditioning philosophy.

"We're doing more power cleans, squats, more free weights," linebacker Zac Diles said. "It's definitely a change. It feels like being right back in college doing the 6 a.m. workouts, power cleans and all the big heavy work and the lifting. It's a good look."

Linebacker Brian Cushing, the 2009 defensive rookie of the year, was among those impressed after his first workout with Smith.

"Today was a pretty tough first day," Cushing said. "We were out there running already, and (doing) a lot more Olympic lifting. I think he's really focusing on power and training on your feet, and it's something we're all looking forward to."

{QUOTE}Running back Arian Foster, who has changed his number from 37 to 23, was happy to get back to work with his teammates. He said that he's ready to pick up where he left off last season, when he had 216 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the final two games.

"I've been working since the season let out," Foster said. "I took a little bit of a break, but I plan on doing big things this year, so I've been working like it.

"I'm going to go in training camp with the mindset of I have to make this roster, which I do, and so that's exactly what I'm going to do."

The players will continue with voluntary workouts for the next six weeks leading up to organized team activities in May. Mini-camp begins in mid-June, and training camp will start at the end of July.

Schaub said that Monday was a good start to their preparations for the season.

"Cedric came in and he's really taken control and let guys know that we're here to work, and that's what we're here for," Schaub said. "All the guys are on board, and we're ready to go to work and get better."

Follow Nick Scurfield on Twitter at *twitter.com/NickScurfield or find him on the "I'm A Texan Club" at imatexan.com/profiles/Nick_Scurf/.*

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