By Steve Gorten, Special to the Post
CORAL GABLES – Kc McDermott wasn’t offended by the disparaging comments some Hurricanes fans made last season about the offensive line being out of shape.
“The whole key to being a great offensive lineman is having a great core,” McDermott said. “You could see last year, and obviously a lot of fans saw, and made it well known, that we did not look like a fit offensive line. I can admit. I was really bad. I didn’t look good at all.”
Though Al Golden preferred offensive linemen with more mass, Mark Richt does not. McDermott said he weighed close to 325 pounds at the Sun Bowl. Now, he’s at 310. He has sliced his body fat from 28 to 18.5 percent. Left tackle Trevor Darling (6-4, 320) said he dropped his body fat from 31 to 28. Center Nick Linder (6-3, 305) cut three percent down to 24. Right tackle Sunny Odogwu (6-8, 325) trimmed from 20 to 13 percent.
“I feel a lot more energized,” Darling said, adding that he has noticed a difference during the first three practices of fall camp. “Since my nutrition changed, I feel a lot better and I can go longer.”
The ‘Canes’ starting linemen feel good about themselves, and their bodies, heading into the 2016 season. And they largely credit a change in eating.
The man who triggered that?
Former UM baseball player Kyle Bellamy, whom new coach Mark Richt hired as the football team’s nutritionist. He spent the past two seasons as an intern in the Hurricanes’ strength and conditioning department.
After that happened, “We really understood how important it was for us to take care of our body,” McDermott said. “We all took a nutrition class during the spring. And as an offensive line, we’ve looked out for each other, made sure we eat the right things.”
To ensure they did, Bellamy had all of the linemen detail daily everything they consumed.
“It’s not too much of a task to do, just to write down something,” Odogwu said. “You’re in college. You’re supposed to close your eyes and write down sentences.”
“Once we started having to write everything down you eat, you don’t want to put nothing bad on there,” Darling said. “So you don’t eat nothing bad. …That really helped us a lot because we knew we were going to have to show our nutritionist the book. We had to commit to the process.”
The commitment included Bellamy accompanying his offensive lineman to Trader Joe’s and Publix a few times and showing them the items they needed to put in their cart, and keep out. Linder said it’s something Bellamy also did for the linebackers, and other units.
“Obviously when we’re here, he has his hands in it, he can give us all that good stuff,” Linder said. “But he was worried about what we were doing outside the building.”
“We’ve improved a lot,” McDermott noted. “You can see it in our body types.”
They hope quarterback Brad Kaaya will notice.
“You guys know how good he is,” Linder said. “We like keeping him off the ground.”