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Early morning wake-ups helped A&M build team morale

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Spring workouts have left Texas A&M players scrambling out of their beds to report for practice well before daylight.

Part of that was designed by A&M coach Mike Sherman to foster commitment in a team that often seemed fractured in route to last season's disappointing 4-8 record.

The bonding from the early-morning workouts has helped, according to junior linebacker/defensive end Von Miller.

"We got together a lot as a team," Miller said. "It was a grind -- the hardest thing anybody on this team has ever went through. But we grew off it and built some chemistry."

Those early-morning workouts might have seemed like a piece of cake to some members of the "The Junction Boys" who were weaned on Paul "Bear" Bryant's difficult training methods. But Sherman said the early workouts served a purpose for his team.

"They learned to set their alarm clocks for 5:40 a.m. and be here on time," Sherman said. "I challenged them. We started the offseason program by saying it wasn't going to be easy and that they needed to exceed what other people are doing because we had to get further faster.

"It was challenging and will continue to be challenging for where we want to get and how fast we want to get there."