HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Before a team can take the field, the hard work starts in the weight room.
USM football Strength and Conditioning Coach Zac Woodfin not only strengthens the players physically, but also mentally with his constant positive energy.
"I don't know what everything that happened before I was here," Woodfin said. "I know what I wanted to bring and what we have been able to accomplish and one is to have a very positive energy."
In fact, USM Quarterback Nick Mullens said Woodfin is one of the best motivators he has been around.
"You've got guys who you never thought would have come as far as they have come this year," Mullens said. "Now having the whole team going into workouts excited to work out, excited to make each other better and work as hard as we've ever worked. "
Woodfin said most Division 1 college athletes are at this level because they like to compete, so Woodfin involves a lot of competition in the team's workouts.
Woodfin's competitive workouts have elevated the Golden Eagles to a 9-4 record where they will compete in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Dec. 26.
"(Woodfin has) done many things for us," said D.J. Thompson, a wide receiver for the Golden Eagles. "He's gotten us bigger, he's gotten us faster he's made us more athletic, he's gotten us more explosive and not even just body wise but mentally. He's gotten us prepared he has the same attitude every day. He knows when to relax off our bodies he knows when to push us to the limit. You can't do anything but trust him because the outcome of anything we've done has always been positive especially dealing with him."
Before taking his job at USM, Woodfin was the strength and conditioning coach at UAB in 2014, according to the Southern Miss website.
Prior to his UAB position, he spent three seasons with the Green Bay Packers as an assistant strength and conditioning coach.
In 2014, Woodfin was named the FootballScoop Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year.