Coach Bryant once insisted that a successful football team had to be “willing to out-condition your opponents.” And he didn’t waste any time making sure that the Crimson Tide was going to be in better shape than anybody it would face across a football field.
In January 1958, just days after meeting their new coach for the first time, the Alabama players began a new conditioning program. The coaching staff had transformed the third floor gymnasium of Friedman Hall into a workout area with weights, floor mats and a chain for the door.
The sessions were voluntary but only in the sense that they were not, Stoddard wrote in Turnaround. If any player wanted to stay on the team they went up the stairs at your appointed time and the doors were locked behind them.