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Wake Forest Football: Offensive/Defensive Line Weight Gains

We hear a lot about offseason conditioning programs such as the #aWAKEning. We take a look at the listed weights of the players in the trenches to see any noticeable gains.

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Since the beginning of time, college coaches will tell everyone at the start of spring practice how great the offseason conditioning program went and how every player is in the best shape of his life. After much has been made about Wake Forest's strength issues, I decided to conduct some research and track weight gains over the past several months. Wake Forest head football coach Dave Clawson told Dan Collins of the Winston-Salem Journal, "Physically, our kids look different. We look bigger." Based on my research, his eyes are not deceiving him, and director of sports performance Brandon Hourigan is doing a damn good job.

Some obvious caveats to this data. I don't claim that this data is 100% accurate. Obviously not every single player on our football team has a weight that is divisible by 5. This is the best data that is publicly available, however, as it is pulled directly from the school website.   Another caveat is that weight gain/loss does not necessarily indicate how hard a player is working. No weight gain could mean that the player simply has a different body composition, but did not actually gain any weight. Additionally, I do not claim to know what each individual player's workout goals are. That said, this should give us a good indication of trends and can potentially help us spot breakout candidates at positions where size is so critical.

Offensive Line

I'm not going to rehash how bad our offensive line play last year, because everyone reading this probably knows full well how bad it was. That was last year. Coach Clawson has said that this will be a position of strength moving forward. While that remains to be seen, the weight gains are impressive. RS Freshman Phil Haynes is up 20 pounds, and was one of the first players taken in the #aWAKEning draft. He will compete for the starting left tackle position against RS Junior Will Smith, who also gained 15 pounds. RS Freshman Patrick Osterhage gained 15 pounds.  will compete for the left guard position, though he will probably back up junior Josh Harris. Another RS Freshman Justin Herron gained 5 pounds and will compete for the starting right tackle job. A'Lique Terry, who started seven games as a true freshman last season, has gained 10 pounds and will compete for the starting center position. I don't know how good the line will be this season, but the gains are encouraging. This is a team who had the worst offensive line in college football last season according to Football Outsiders, so there is nowhere to go but up.

Player Position Class 2014 Weight 2015 Weight Delta
Phil Haynes LT RS FR 260 280 20
Patrick Osterhage LG RS FR 285 300 15
Will Smith LT RS JR 290 305 15
A'Lique Terry OC SO 300 310 10
Nick Luedeke OL RS FR 260 265 5
Justin Herron RT RS FR 285 290 5
Ryan Anderson OC RS FR 290 290 0
Josh Harris LG JR 310 310 0
Ty Hayworth RG RS JR 325 325 0
Dylan Intemann RG/RT RS SR 305 305 0
Taylor Chambers OL RS SO 300 290 -10
Joel Suggs OL RS JR 310 300 -10
Cameron Gardner OL RS SO 300 285 -15

Defensive Line

If the weight gain of Rashawn Shaw is true, then that's a very encouraging development. If he is 250, then he could be a terror at defensive end. I loved this kid coming out of high school. He probably could have played last year, but he was redshirted because Clawson had the long-term interest of the program in mind. I would not be surprised to see him start at defensive end.

Based on the 25 pounds he  gained, Tylor "Big Baby" Harris is about to change his nickname to "Bigger Baby." Having 7 players gain 10+ pounds, is a major improvement for us. We were small last year, but still finished with the 48th best defensive line in the country according to Football Outsiders. With a secondary that will be losing two excellent corners, it will be even more critical to apply pressure to opposing quarterbacks.

Player Position Class 2014 Weight 2015 Weight Delta
Tylor Harris DL SR 280 305 25
Rashawn Shaw DL RS FR 230 250 20
Duke Ejiofor DL RS SO 255 275 20
Chris Stewart DL RS FR 245 260 15
Josh Banks DL RS JR 260 275 15
Willie Yarbary DL RS FR 270 280 10
Wendell Dunn DL RS SO 240 250 10
Zeek Rodney DL SO 290 295 5
Julian Thomas-Jackson DL RS SO 215 220 5
Ali Lamot DL RS SO 260 265 5
Shelldon Lewinson DL RS JR 255 260 5

Weight is not everything in football. Clearly skill development and footwork are essential to the process of improvement, but so is muscle mass. Too often we were physically outmatched in games last season. Hopefully with the weight gains realized so far, and future gains to come, that will happen a lot less often.