Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Defensive linemen putting in the work at UConn

Luke Carrezola (15), Mikal Myers (92) and Cole Ormsby have added
a combined 41 pounds since end of 2014 season adding strength to front 7
This is pretty much the calm before the storm in the college football season.

The hoopla from national signing has subsided and the start of spring practice is still a few weeks away so the biggest news out of UConn was some of the changes on its roster.

I've already addressed Matt Walsh's move from fullback to linebacker but another aspect of the recently posted spring roster has been the weight changes. There isn't a position that has been a bigger change in the listed weight of players than on the defensive line.

Walk-on Sean Marinan, a former Xavier High star and one of three football players honored for having a 4.0 grade-point average in one of the two most recent semesters, leads the way as he went from 264 to 286. Kenton Adeyemi added 19 points and is now listed at 287 pounds. Mikal Myers added 14 pounds and is now at 326. On the other end of the spectrum, Foley Fatukasi dropped nine pounds to get down to 298 pounds. Cameron Stapleton and Luke Carrezola, while listed at linebackers, can be used as defensive ends as well and there could be better suited to hold up at the line of scrimmage as sophomores after adding 20 and 18 pounds respectively.

We met with the UConn assistant coaches earlier today and I spoke with defensive line coach Kevin Wolthausen about how the defensive linemen have been changing their bodies.

"You have not just a strength and conditioning coach, he (Matt Balis) is everything," Wolthausen said. "You have the trainers, the nutritionists and everything and that is why we can look at the frames we can look at and they can develop so well. We had guys who have gone 'x' number of years at a certain level of training and then who knows.

"Foley Fatukasi, he got down in weight to get back up, Julian Campenni and all of those guys they attacked it and will continue to do that. We are expecting them to have great results
"It is a group that we added the two redshirt freshmen (James Atkins and Sheriden Lawley) and now we have to take a look at them in the spring and it is a group that just by the nature of understanding what we are doing, you expect (improvement) and what they expect out of each other how can you not be excited about the next level of development."

Linebackers coach Vincent Brown echoed Wolthausen's sentiments as the young players who were thrust into key roles a season ago will be more physically able to handle things at the point of attack.

"They will be 10 times better," Brown said. "They are stronger, their understanding of how to play the position and techniques will be so much better. With those guys, they are eager to learn so they are growing every day. I am really excited to watch them grow.
"It is a nice blend, you have some veteran leadership with Marquise (Vann) and Graham (Stewart) because they bring an element of strength and toughness, they have been here, they have been through some really tough times here. I am hoping the younger guys like Junior Joseph, Stapleton, Vontae (Diggs), Luke and they are all embracing their roles within the defense. We are excited to come out and watch these kids come out and play."

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