BYU Decides to Just Say No to Lard

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 28: Coach Bronco Mendenhall of the BYU Cougars looks on during a game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Cowboys Stadium on October 28, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The TCU Horned Frogs defeated the BYU Cougars 38-28. (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)

It has been widely publicized that BYU football has been trying new things with the team's off season workouts and nutrition this year. Yesterday Dick Harmon of the Deseret News published a nice piece detailing the origins and specifics of the changes.

Earlier this spring I saw a photo that former BYU offensive lineman Terence Brown posted online showing his progress getting into shape for his NFL workouts. The changes Brown made in just a couple of months were stunning. If I remember correctly Brown had cut something like 38 pounds of fat and gained 10 pounds of muscle. At the time I commented that if that wasn't an indictment of the conditioning of BYU athletes I don't know what would be. Of course I was barked down by a few reactionary fans at the time, which I expected. What I didn't expect was to later learn that Bronco Mendenhall apparently agreed with my initial reaction. And better than that, Bronco immediately set out to remedy the problem.

More details about the solution Bronco implemented are in that that Harmon article. But the whole episode re-confirms to me what a terrific and flexible head coach Bronco Mendenhall really is. While there are plenty of hyenas always ready to nip at Bronco's heels online for things like his "football is 5th" philosophy, the reality is that Bronco is always aggressively looking for ways to make his players and staff better and to win more games.

With this new nutrition and fitness program I suspect Bronco may really be onto something big. In years past BYU used to brag about the average weight on the offensive line being something like 320. The average! This year Harmon reports that not a single offensive lineman came into camp over 300 pounds. Not that being 300+ is necessarily a bad thing, but if 40+ of those pounds are excessive fat that isn't useful weight. We'll see how much the new changes in conditioning, nutrition, and recovery routines actually help on the field soon enough, but the fact that BYU is aggressively trying to be on the cutting edge under Bronco and his staff should be comforting to BYU fans everywhere.

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