Theus' Calibrations

ATHENS – For the first time in history the SEC gave the media digital media guides rather than printed books.

I’ll skip the joke about how many trees that saved considering the tree killing that goes on in Alabama – site of SEC Media Days. Those media guides, the ones that were not printed, had what we thought were the “correct” height and weights for the coming 2014 season.

That was until the comedy duo of Mark Richt and Claude Felton decided to release another roster update today. Thanks guys. Now we have new “correct” heights and weights for the coming 2014 season. All of those numbers should be taken with a grain of salt – like Felton’s fall scrimmage statistics, or Richt’s enthusiasm for his post-practice sip of PowerAde.

But in all of the things that I saw in the changes of weights one thing stuck out to me most – John Theus. The left tackle is up 15 pounds from this time last year. That means he’s doing something substantial to his body in the weight room.

That sort of weight gain isn’t easy to accomplish in the offseason – even of that’s the only real time to do it. Players still have to run (conditioning makes you lose weight); still have to eat right; and still have to workout.

Gaining “good” weight is a very, very difficult thing to do. It has a lot, quite frankly, to do with food intake discipline. I can tell you as a person of some size (6-4, 240ish) that controlling what you eat every day is no fun. I like fried Oreos – they belong in my belly. I am sure any normal offensive lineman feels the same way. But that’s cool for some old timer like me – not for a guy with it all one the line like Theus.

I saw Theus walking around at Dawg Night – he’s also cut his hair. Those beautiful red locks probably weighed something themselves, too.

So what does all of this mean? The truth is that we’ve not seen John Theus in pads yet, so it is hard to know if he passes the sight test just yet. But he may just be growing from a prospect into a player, which is something few hardcore fans have much patience for.

Lest we forget that Theus has started at a very young age in the program. Most true freshmen redshirt. Most true freshmen hardly play. Most true freshmen don’t start. We’ve seen Theus not only play, but start in critical spots on the offensive line going up against the likes of SEC pass rushers, which is never fun.

But this fall he’s moving to left tackle. That’s the go-to spot in the SEC for shutting down what makes the SEC itself so special… its pass rushers.

The weight gain; the hair cutting; the move to left tackle – its getting very, very serious for John Theus now. He knows (not that he’s told me) that the money is on the table now. The next 14 or 28 games he plays in college will very much have a lot to do with how he is paid in the NFL over the next five years.

And rather than criticize that, fans should celebrate his seemingly natural transition into young adulthood this offseason. Change – even something as simple as cutting arguably the best-looking hair on the team outside of your older brother’s locks – is not an easy thing to initiate let alone accept or embrace.

We will see if all of these preseason calibrations work in the fall, but I would argue that Theus is headed in the right direction.

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