CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Early mornings with players are music to the ears of college football strength and conditioning coaches.

"I love what I get to do for a living," UVA Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Adam Smotherman said, "I get to show up and train these guys and watch the sun rise as we're training. It's awesome."

No one on staff has worked with head coach Tony Elliott longer than Smotherman, with both arriving at Clemson in 2011 when Elliott accepted a role as running back coach and Smotherman was a graduate assistant. So after a decade together at Clemson, 'Coach Smo' jumped at the opportunity to follow Elliott to UVA.

"No hesitation whatsoever," Smotherman said minutes after finishing an early July workout with players, "I've worked with him for ten years, Coach Elliott is unbelievable, he's an unbelievable father, husband, leader, loves his players like no one I've ever seen before, so it was no question that I wanted to come with him and help him build something special."

Smotherman made a name for himself nationally at Clemson, not as Coach Smo, but as "The Get Back Coach" for then Tigers defensive coordinator Brent Venables, now the head coach at Oklahoma. Throughout every Clemson game, Smotherman could be seen yanking Venables back on the sideline to avoid a penalty, excelling in his role so much he went viral.

"Whatever your role is go be great at it, if it's important to your boss, it better be important to you," Smotherman said laughing, "Previously it was important to manage the sideline, that was my role. Now what my role is with Coach Elliott, it's important that I achieve that role to the best of my ability."

Strength coaches get eight hours a week with players in the offseason, meaning Smotherman and his staff are key in building the program's foundation. Before Elliott ever got to step on the field and coach the Cavaliers, they had already spent months with Smotherman in the weight room.

"How the calendar is set up, strength and conditioning coaches, we get more time with the players than anybody," Smotherman said, "We talk about an old saying in strength and conditioning, we don't coach weights, we coach people."

Under Elliott's model the year is broken up into four phases, 'Foundation' in the spring, 'Construction' in the summer, the 'Showcase' during the season and then 'Championship' come the postseason. Smotherman oversees the 'Construction' phase of the process.

"When we go into summer training, we're in the construction phase, which is the foundation is laid, now it's time to build the house," Smotherman said, "So every day we're erecting wall, we're hammering a nail, we're putting something together on the house that we're building."

Nail by nail, run after run, the Cavaliers are deep into the construction phase with a solid house on the horizon.

"Really everybody honestly and I know that sounds cliche, but I'm serious," Smotherman said about who has impressed him most this offseason.

I'm so proud of this team and what they're doing and the work they're putting in every single day, from number 0 to 99, all throughout the roster these guys are doing a heck of a job."