These guys are the trend in bigger and bigger national Rose Bowl football players. They are a different breed of human beings, they are giants, they are like a foundation of a house. Are they as unhealthy as the world renown Sumo Wrestlers? only to live out short life spans?
The biggest player on the Badgers’ roster in 1962, when they lost to Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl, was 6-5″ left tackle Albert Piraino, who weighed 247 pounds a whole 66 pounds less than this year’s smallest starting offensive lineman.
In 2000 UW roster listed 10 players over 300 pounds. Today, there are 19 of them. The average size of a UW lineman has increased 25 percent over the past three decades and is 34 percent over the past two generations of football players.
Such huge players used to be anything but mobile, now they are nimble and can move quickly. Badgers spend many more hours here lifting weights, running drills, and practicing.
An athlete-only cafeteria, where four chefs and four servers work to keep these players fed. The building of a lineman involves food, a lot of food. Some of these guys pack on twice the weight carried around by past generations of players on the same size frames. About 20 coaches oversee grueling workouts and practices aimed at helping these giants stay fit and fast. Is this healthy? What will happen to these players when their playing season is over?
“It’s a problem that may hit some of these players when they are least expecting it, warns Vern Gambetta, a Florida athletic development coach who is an expert on athlete health. “From a health perspective, this is a ticking time bomb,”Gambetta says. “This should be a concern for anybody who works in the sport.”
“We’re not the guys who have the most abs or speed or the pretty ones who can catch the ball,” says Peter Konz, whose high school football coach says even in middle school Konz was bigger than any of the boys at Neenah High. “Growing up we were never the skilled guys catching the ball. We were the chubby ones.”
These are the guys they want, not the skinny ones. Gabe Carimi worked hard lifting weights, while his mom fed him baking giant hams and roasts and packing enormous submarine sandwiches and homemade cookies with organic ingredients for lunch.
In his senior year in high school, Carimi caught UW’s eye. “They really liked him because he wasn’t one of these big fat kids who don’t move well,” Stassi says. “You could see that at 6 foot 8 he had the frame to put a lot more muscle and weight on. He was just at that growth point of when a boy starts to beef up and the Badgers were able to get him to where he is as a man.”
Recruiters are adept at picking out kids with the potential to be shaped into linemen. Consider freshman Rob Havenstein, who also stands 6-8″ but outweighed Carimi by almost 100 pounds as a high schooler from Maryland.
Offensive line coach and run game coordinator Bob Bostad says, “No. 1 is size. There’s a commitment to make sure that we start big. And obviously, they’ve got to do something where you feel like they’re fluid enough, they’re athletic enough, they’re quick. You take these oversized guys and whittle them down. Whittling down means about 320, 330. You have some guys, to them, that feels light and airy. Gabe’s came in at 255 pounds, Robby Havenstein came in at 360. But when I went to watch him play basketball, here’s a guy running up and down the floor, moving sideways and stuff like that. Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t a gazelle. But he wasn’t a plodder, either.”
offensive line coach and run game coordinator Bob Bostad says, “No. 1 is size. There’s a commitment there to make sure that we start big. And obviously, they’ve got to do something where you feel like they’re fluid enough, they’re athletic enough, they’re sudden (quick). And you can look at a guy and be like, ‘You know, he might be 40 pounds overweight but underneath that he’s a pretty good athlete.’ You take these oversized guys and whittle them down — and whittling down means about 320, 330. You have some guys, to them, that feels light and airy. Gabe’s a guy that came in at 255 pounds — Robby Havenstein came in at 360. But when I went to watch him play basketball, here’s a guy running up and down the floor, moving sideways and stuff like that. Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t a gazelle. But he wasn’t a plodder, either.”
Read more: http://chippewa.com/news/local/health_med_fit/the-rewards-and-risks-of-becoming-a-rose-bowl-lineman/article_eaaa7030-f9c5-5b11-9587-829d89eb4398.html#ixzz1i2krFfXOIn the last ten years what we know about training and body composition has come a long way. Will all the sophisticated training and the nutrition introduced at Camp Randall help stave off health problems? We’d like to see the program do more and start counseling players about how to take care of their bodies once they stop playing.