Dieting with 'Bear'

With most of his teammates focusing on improving their strength levels over the next few months, Tide defensive tackle Anthony Bryant has a more ambitious goal in mind.

Already one of the most powerful athletes on the squad, Anthony Bryant frankly doesn't need to improve that much when it comes to hoisting dead weight. But since returning from spring break, he's been a fixture in the Tide weight room anyway.

"I'm in here two times a day, morning and afternoon, riding the exercise bike," Bryant told Friday.

Bryant long ago became something of a legend among the strength coaches. In hoisting 765 pounds on the squat (a program and position record for that lift), the senior defensive lineman frankly made it look easy. In fact his coaches are convinced he could reach the 800-pound mark with little trouble, but they're holding him back to make sure he maintains his quickness.

(Bryant also holds the D-Line record for the incline bench press at 445 pounds.)

Already possibly the strongest all-around athlete on the squad, Bryant is working to lose weight this off season.

As one coach put it after watching him squat 765, Bryant "can literally be as strong as he wants to be. There is no real limit to what he could lift."

On the other hand, Bryant knows that he needs to work on the "conditioning" half of the "strength and conditioning" equation.

Listed at 6-3, 348 pounds on the spring roster, Bryant knows that he needs to drop some weight. "My goal is to play at 325 this year," he said.

Some NFL scouts have suggested that Bryant has first-round potential. But he'll need to play closer to 300 pounds than 350.

It's not easy to take off weight while still maintaining strength levels, but under the supervision of Strength and Conditioning Coach Ben Pollard Bryant has made a good beginning. "I've still got about 20 pounds to go," Bryant said.

As the starting nose tackle for Alabama, Bryant's principal role has often been to tie up the middle, taking on multiple blockers, which in turn frees up the linebackers to make the play. But he--and his coaches--have a higher goal in mind.

Bryant sees himself as a playmaker, that rare inside lineman capable of reestablishing the line of scrimmage and disrupting the play before it can begin.

He explained, "If I can get down to between 315 and 325, I think I'll be pretty tough to stop."

NOTE: Bryant was recently featured in the April edition of ‘BAMA: Inside the Crimson Tide.

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