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Rusty Whitt's offseason program sets the stage for the 2016 season

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"I think it has to do with the people being brought in. The strength staff has done such an awesome job, just instilling discipline. The (strength) staff are all great guys, talk to us both on and off the field. We're just surrounded by good people."

That's what senior Texas Tech cornerback Justis Nelson had to say about the spring and summer offseason strength and conditioning program that was revamped by new head strength coach Rusty Whitt and his staff.

Players and Texas Tech coaches have universally praised the efforts of the former Green Beret and Louisiana-Lafayette strength coach, noting - above all - that he's done an eye-popping job of impacting the culture throughout the football program itself, setting the bar and tone for discipline, expectations and mentality.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury will be the first to tell you that, too.

“They’ve responded well," Kingsbury said. "He challenges them every day. There’s no backing off. There’s no easy days. There’s no going-through-the-motion days. Every day he has a plan to push them to the max, and I think we’ll see the result of that this fall.”

And the ultimate test of whether or not Whitt's changes to the offseason regimen take hold can be summed up in one question: Will it help Texas Tech win more on the field?

Last week, in an interview for Texas Tech's Outside The Huddle feature, Whitt discussed how things have progressed since his arrival in Lubbock earlier this year.

"Great intensity by the guys, very receptive of our approach," he said. "The coaching staff has been very supportive, and I couldn't ask for a better situation right now. My staff and I agree that we're very happy with how the offseason and summer have gone so far, and we're excited to finish it up."

So, how did players react to the new expectations and demands placed upon them? Well, they adjusted.

"We were very assertive the first month. It was very assertive. We didn't have a lot of - I wouldn't say push back. They just weren't used to the approach and the overall intensity and consistency and accountability, and I stress accountability," Whitt said. "A lot of guys are used to taking care of their own self and handling their own business. Then, when a guy messes it up and it affects them, all of a sudden their comfort zone gets violated. They want to fix the problem. We've gone the entire summer without anybody being late for breakfast, and in the first two weeks I was here, there was two, three guys late every day."

And at Big 12 Media Days, senior offensive lineman Baylen Brown made sure to make note of just how much that culture shock helped this team evolve in a positive way.

“Rusty Whitt really came in and changed our program around on accountability and discipline," Brown said. "He and the strength staff have really been pushing us to a limit we didn’t think we had. We’ve physically gotten bigger, and we’ve really come together as a team.”

Fall camp begins for the Red Raiders in less than a week, and we'll soon find out what rewards this 2016 Texas Tech team might reap as a result of Whitt's program.