New Look Foster Ready to Shine

CHAMPAIGN – Every time Glenn Foster steps up on the scale to check his weight he's unsure what the number flashing up at him will be.

That's because from day to day, the senior defensive lineman could lose or gain a handful of pounds without trying to reach one goal or the other.

"My weight fluctuates," he said. "I have one of those metabolisms where I could gain weight or lose weight."

This offseason, Foster, who started 11 games in 2011, got word from the coaching staff he'd need to beef up for his final year. Following last season, he says his weight was around 255 – not nearly enough to hang in at tackle and play the role the coaches projected he'd fill.

So, to combat his inconsistent weigh-ins, he set out to control his diet. Foster replaced fast food with chicken, vegetables, whole grains and fruit. It wasn't always easy eating that way and not nearly as fun. But the end result was 30 pounds gained, up to a "solid 285," as of last week. At one point he was up to 290, but the rigors of the preseason camp schedule led to a recent drop.

"Back in the day, man, I stopped at McDonalds, things of that nature," he said. "But I can't do that anymore. I've got to invest in my body. It's my career."

Foster's habits in the weight room changed, too, and first-year defensive coordinator Tim Banks challenged his effort in practice to ramp up.

"When he works at a high level, which we feel he's starting to do, we feel like bigger things are ahead for him," Banks said.

The weight gain makes Foster an intriguing player because, as teammate Akeem Spence says, he hasn't lost his quickness. That was always Foster's strength to utilize, his speed and quick burst, when he played at a lesser weight. Now he has the best of both worlds.

"He's real big and he still has that quickness that he's had since he's been here," Spence said. "He's just another leader I can look at, you know what I'm saying… I've always got Glenn right next to me, so that's good to have."

Foster says all the work he put in this offseason should lead to production this fall. He may not be the biggest name on the line – a distinction that goes to either Michael Buchanan or Spence. Offenses will surely pay that duo plenty of attention, which could help spring Foster.

"Any offense is going to scheme against Akeem Spence or Michael Buchanan," he said. "That leaves a lot of leeway for us… to make plays."

Added Banks: "We've got big plans for him. We think he could be one of the better defensive tackles in this conference, you know, if not this country."

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