“I just feel myself trying to get stronger since coming home from my mission, and I think that’s been the biggest challenge for me,” said Tuiloma. “I feel like getting my strength up to where it used to be and adding good weight rather than bad weight. Before my mission I was around 330-pounds and lost a lot of that weight while on my mission. Now I’m at 285-pounds and I feel much better as a player.”
The loss of weight has undoubtedly made him a much more mobile threat than just a two-gap run stuffer in the middle.
“I feel a lot quicker and much more mobile to make plays,” Tuiloma said. “I feel like I can move better and get into better position to make more plays. I also feel like I can rush the quarterback better if I need to. The biggest thing right now for me is to just put on good weight, which is what I’m doing. I want to get bigger and stronger but I don’t want to add bad weight.”
On top of a much better playing weight, Tuiloma has also added some much needed strength though he feels he needs to get much stronger than he currently is. Still his size and strength will be a major plus on the defensive line.
“I’m benching around 330-pounds right now so I’m getting better but not quite were I want to be,” said Tuiloma. “For my squats coach made me stop at 495. I wanted to do more but he made me stop.”
The strength is much needed when facing newcomers like Tejan Koroma who is now listed at 280-pounds.
“Oh, he’s a tough kid and he’s strong for being such a young guy,” said Tuiloma. “He’s really good for how young he is and he’s going to help us. I think he’s going to be really good even though he’s a freshman. As he matures and gets better he’s going to be a solid player for BYU.
“I feel like the centers we have now are a lot quicker than the centers I played against two years ago before going on my mission. All three of the centers that we have now are really good. They’re stout, tough guys that can move well and push the line forward. It’s really good competition now.”
With Marques Johnson set to miss the season opener, Tuiloma is poised to be the starting anchor of the Cougar defense when BYU travels to Connecticut.
“I think I have a pretty good chance to start so far,” said a humble Tuiloma. “I’m just focusing on getting better every day and making sure that I do my job. That’s mostly what I’ve been trying to do. That way when the time comes I can be the best I can be if I’m called to be the starting nose guard for UConn.”
When the Cougars take the field Tuiloma states he’ll be more than ready to go.
“I feel ready to go,” Tuiloma said. “I can always get better but for the most part I feel ready to go. I feel like I can get the job done at my position, and I feel like I can contribute really well in the run game. If there is ever a run on us it really hurts my pride. I just want to stop every run that comes my way, and if someone runs on us I just want to get up and get after it again.”
Cougar Cam: Travis Tuiloma
Nose guard Travis Tuiloma gives his thoughts on playing against a different team other than his teammates at practice. He gives his thoughts on playing UConn, starting at the nose guard position, and where he's at as a player. He talks about the centers he's faced like Tejan Koroma, Edwin Fusi, and others and much, much more.