“It kind of hurt me because being home — all the good cooked food, all the sugar, all the carbs I was eating,” Elliott said. As the Hoosiers enter a critical phase between the end of spring practice and beginning of fall camp, they will have access to all strength-and-conditioning facilities and support staff members such as nutritionists and strength coaches.
IU football players looking forward to open facilities this spring | Sports Gatherings are still limited to 15 players or less. Masks remain mandatory. But it represents progress considering at this time last year, players were on their own, needing to find creative ways to stay in shape and stay disciplined enough to maintain a proper playing weight.
Allen said the three-month lockout during the spring of 2020 hurt the linemen the most. Facilities were closed from mid-March until mid-June. “They’re glad to go lift. They will do as much lifting as you want them to, but the running is something where if you are not with them, it’s hard for them to want to go want to do that on their own.”
“I would call it the challenge of the O-line room, the challenge of the D-line room, those big bodied guys during the pandemic, the guys who if you just say are left to yourself to go do whatever you do naturally, those guys don’t usually run,” Allen said. “That’s not something that they — when you are carrying all of that weight on you as a big guy, going out and running. “I’m fired up about the next four months because it’s going to be a critical time where guys are going to change their bodies even more to go from where they are right now to where they need to be to start the 2021 season,” Indiana football coach Tom Allen said.
As a result, some players ballooned up during last year’s pandemic. IU junior offensive lineman Caleb Jones said last season he played as heavy as 395 pounds on his 6-foot-8 frame, 40 to 50 pounds over his optimal playing weight. Jones said by having access to strength-and-conditioning facilities during the winter before spring practices, he was able to drop down to 355 pounds. Jones said he wants to stay on the right path and get down to 345 pounds by the time the 2021 season begins.
Elliott said he played a few pounds above his playing weight last season but admitted he lost muscle while gaining fat. Named one of IU’s two most improved defensive players this spring, Elliott said he noticed a difference in his play after working out this winter under second-year strength coach Aaron Wellman and his staff. “The COVID offseason was definitely one of the toughest offseasons I’ve ever had as a player,” Jones said. “Just not having the structure that you are used to, that I’ve made my entire life … it definitely threw everybody off. It threw me off a lot as well, just trying to make sure that I was trying to get the work done.”
“It’s a night-and-day difference just being able to strike blockers and hold my ground more and drive back,” Elliott said. “Our coach talks about getting plays in the backfield instead of just playing our gaps because we’ve been through the system and now with Coach Wellman, we have the tools to do that.” “The COVID offseason was definitely one of the toughest offseasons I’ve ever had as a player,” Jones said. “Just not having the structure that you are used to, that I’ve made my entire life … it definitely threw everybody off. It threw me off a lot as well, just trying to make sure that I was trying to get the work done.”
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