Ben Lamaak Q&A

In case you missed the audio of our interview with this youngster here's the transcript.

Q:  You've gone from 240 when you got here to 310 now.  Talk about how you've changed your body.


Lamaak:  It's a bit different than in high school.  I was playing quarterback and I had basketball season too, but I knew that once I came here I had to get bigger and that's really what I'm trying to do.


Q:  What finally tipped the scale for you as far as tight end to offensive tackle?


Lamaak:  I don't really know to be honest.  I came in as tight end.  One day the coaches suggested it to me and I really didn't care.  I was going to do anything to be on the field and help the team.  They decided to switch me.  I kind of saw it coming being out on the field and watching the tight ends.  Seeing how they were compared to me.  My strong points were leaning more towards the offensive line.


Q:  That came with the current staff in the spring?


Lamaak:  Yes, it did.  It was an ordinary day for me.  We had a tight end meeting.  Coach Fountain came and said he wanted to talk to me.  He broke it down for me.  I talked to Coach McFarland and he told me what he expected.  Here I am.


Q:  Guys will talk about switching positions. How much choice do you feel you have or is it just this is what's best for the team so this is what I'm going to do?


Lamaak:  I kind of knew inside that it was going to come sooner or later and I just wanted to help the team any way I could.  It sounded like a good idea so I was all in for it.


Q:  What's your strategy for putting on weight?


Lamaak:  Eating often and eating a lot.  I was dieting a lot to stay at tight end so I thought…just worked really hard in the summer and let my body grow.


Q:  How's the footwork changed going from offensive line to tight end?


Lamaak:  It really doesn't that much.  I think that's why I've had a lot of excessive tackles because I've known a lot of the techniques, a lot of the calls because it's only one spot over.  Coach McFarland has helped me out incredibly and I like to think of myself as a fast learner.  That's just kind of what happened.


Q:  The basketball background didn't hurt?


Lamaak:  That's really helped.


Q:  Have you increased your weight room stuff too as the summer has progressed?


Lamaak:  Tremendously.  When I knew I was switching I knew I had to do that…get stronger get bigger.  I started working out 4-5 times a week and will hopefully continue in the future.


Q:  Can you give us any numbers?  Do you know what you cleared now and what you cleared then? 


Lamaak:  I don't really know numbers wise.  I've gone up about 50-60 pounds in about everything.


Q:  How did you change your diet?


Lamaak:  I was eating a lot of salads and chicken.  Trying not to eat the hamburgers and pizzas.  Portioning out my meals.  As I move, I wouldn't say I didn't care, but a lot of the temptations that I fell into at tight end I just kind of fell into and started doing more and more. 


Q:  How in terms of what you do physical is different being a tackle…in workouts and stuff?  Is it more intense?


Lamaak:  It's a lot more intense because at tight end you're working with the defensive end and the linebacker…typically smaller guys.  When I moved inside, I'm working with the noseguards, the middle linebackers.  Just the physicality of moving to that spot rises dramatically.  The summer proved and showed off for me.


Q:  You said you played quarterback in high school.  Do you think that playing quarterback has helped you when you go to the O-line? 


Lamaak:  I think so.  I know a lot of the frowns, a lot of the coverages.  It helped me with my confidence and being a leader.  That just always carries over.


Q:  What other positions did you play in high school?


Lamaak:  I think I played just about everything.  I played offensive line, tight end, full back, quarterback, receiver, defensive end, I punted…just about everything but defensive back.


Q:  Give us a breakdown on what the depth is looking on the offensive line…who's running with the ones…who's running with the twos.


Lamaak:  Just what you see out there…it changes day to day.  At left tackle, we've got Doug Dedrick who's playing really good. Matt Hulbert in the mix there that's a trigger gun man…a really good player.  We have Lee Tibbs, Reggie Stevens, Tom Schmeling…all of those guys are really good. 


Q:  Give us an idea on how the defensive line is doing.  You said you're going against a noseguard.  How's Tupelo looking?


Lamaak:  He's looking really good.  He's come a long way this summer.  He's a very strong guy and that's going to pay off for him…just being in really good shape.  He'll be able to go hard every down and just how physical he is…I think it will really show.


Q:  We've heard about some of the other lineman and what's happened to them in terms of their body fat and their weight.  How did your body change under Coach Shepherd?  Did you lose weight, gain body fat?  Talk about that.


Lamaak:  I think when we do that body pod thing, I lost about 3% body fat and gained about 7 pounds of muscle.  I really believe in Coach Shep and what he's doing.  A lot of guys are like that…a lot of body fat dropping and a lot of lean muscle coming on.  You can see that for yourself.  There's been a lot of changes. 


Q:  Speed…quickness…explosiveness are priorities.  How did you do in those areas over the summer?


Lamaak:  Good.  That's just another thing from tight end.  I thought I was fairly quick and with the basketball background, I thought I had pretty good feet.  I've gained some weight, but I still think my feet and quickness are still there. 


Q:  Even as a tight end going to tackle, you still dropped body fat.


Lamaak:  Yeah.  It's kind of a weird thing.  I don't really know how that happened.  But, that just goes to show you that Coach Shep knows what he's doing.


Q:  In terms of the running game, you're up front.  How are these guys hitting the holes…Jason, Jason, JJ, Cameron?  How are these guys looking, from your perspective?


Lamaak:  I think they're doing a good job.  I haven't really gotten a good look at them.  I'm so worried about what I'm doing.  I'm just trying to get better every day.  I know they've all gotten a fair chance and they're all really good.  I trust them all around the ball.  That's a great thing to have that kind of versatility in our backfield.

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