How have their bodies changed?
What can we learn from the latest football squad update? We can get a sense of what Matt Gildersleeve and the Strength and Conditioning team have in store for the players on the list this offseason. Recruiting better as a staff is one thing, but shaping players as soon as they arrive is crucial.
As good as the offensive was, there was a lack of consistency in the game that could be improved. With Devin Neal coming out for a break the running game has yet to work and after Hishaw went under last season it just wasn’t. To improve this, barrel blocking needs to be improved. Adding some beef up front might help make fall run blocking more consistent. So what does the latest roster update tell us about the offensive line? It tells us that they are strengthening. Notable changes for boys to start or finish for the season:
Ben Queen USA TODAY Sports
Kobe Baynes +23 now 320 pounds
Logan Brown +15 now 320 pounds
Michael Ford, Jr. +15 now 305 pounds
Mike Novitsky +10 now 305 pounds
Ar’maj Reed-Adams +10 now 330 pounds
Dre Doiron +10 now 305 pounds
Dominick Puni +5 now 320 pounds
Staying on offense, looking at quarterbacks, there are some interesting changes. When spring camp started there was talk of improving Jalon’s condition to make him more durable throughout the season. I hope that’s true, but that effort doesn’t translate into a change in squad stats. Jalon actually dropped a few pounds, while last year’s other starter and primary backup, Jason Bean, added a few pounds. The big change came from what I assume to be the 3rd and 4th quarterbacks on the roster this spring, Ethan Vasko and Ben Easters. Easter added 9 pounds during winter conditioning and Vasko added a whopping 15 pounds to his body.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Jalon Daniels -3 now 215 pounds
Jason Bean +4 now 195 pounds
Bean Easters +9 now 215 pounds
Ethan Vasko +15 now 215 lbs
With most fans hoping for improved defenses in the fall, the detail changes for these players are also interesting. Looking at the defensive front, tackles and ends are interesting. There are guys who make big moves both up and down. Newcomer Devin Phillips has gained 20 pounds since his time at Colorado State, D’Marion Alexander has gained 18 pounds and DJ Withers has gained 8 pounds. There are also a few players who are losing significant weight on defense, Ronald McGee has lost 12 pounds and Davion Westmoreland has lost 10 pounds.
Devin Phillips +20 now 325 pounds
D’Marion Alexander +18 now 260 pounds
DJ Withers +8 now £300
Ronald McGee -12 now 285 pounds
Davion Westmoreland – 10 now 250 pounds
Other interesting weight changes come from the special teams roster section, more specifically from the pitchers and players. Maybe there is competition here. The most noticeable thing for me is the weight change of Owen Piepergereds. Late in the regular season and for the bowl game, Owen was the field kicker for the team. Maybe it’s a typo, but according to the roster update, Owen has gained 22 pounds and an inch in height and is now a 6’6″ 260-pound place kicker. I say that with an air of sincerity, Owen needs to be on the defensive front Add another 20 and he could be a problem for opposing offenses In addition to Owen’s win, three of the other four returning kick specialists have lost significant weight Tabor Allen has lost 10 pounds, Jacob Borcila 11 and Reis Vernon 15 “Will these changes improve the overall performance of the special teams in the fall? Or will the improvement come in the form of personnel changes? I still expect transfer Seth Keller to be the main pitch kicker in the fall, but maybe punting from Vernon’s weight loss will one.” get boost.
Owen Piepergered’s +22 now 260 pounds
Tabor Allen -10 now 190 pounds
Jacob Borcila -11 now 195 pounds
Rice Vernon -15 now 195 pounds
Other notes from the updated list. First, some guys have gotten bigger. Alongside Piepergereds, Quentin Skinner is now listed at 6’5″ and an inch taller. Kenean Caldwell also added an inch and is now 6ft 3in tall and weighs the same 325lbs. Second, there were a few jersey number changes. D’Marion Alexander was 46 and is now 33, Tanaka Scott went from 81 to 3 and Tristan Fletcher went from 12 to 19. Third, a few players have been dropped from the roster. Fellow sophomore offensive lineman Jackson Satterwhite and walk-on quarterback Jordon Preston are no longer on the list. With the signing of Golden West College security in late February, Akili Hubbard, the 2023 scholarship tally remains at 85.
Again, what can we glean from the changes made by the strength and conditioning staff? Not much at this point. What we do know is that the coaching staff noticed changes in certain players that they wanted and many made significant changes to their bodies. Will these changes result in a better team in the fall? With the track record that Lance Lieplold and his staff have built up so far in their tenure, I bet they will.