Mattison Bulks Up

The Iowa DE eats five meals a day. That process has him tipping the scales at 260 pounds a year after weighing 217. The extra mass should help the Indiana native as he enters the D-line rotation this fall: "You've got to be careful what you eat. You can't just sit there and eat 100 Twinkies." Read more from the redshirt freshman in this full-length feature.

We've all been there before.

You know, you're sitting at the dinner table eyeing that last roll or pork chop or piece of pie. Then, that little voice creeps into your head reminding you that the extra portion of food is going to end up somewhere on your body, most likely around your waist.

If this is you, you probably won't like Bryan Mattison very much. While you're sitting there contemplating the risk and reward of engulfing the extra T-bone, the Iowa defensive end already has ripped through a day's worth of guilt for you.

Mattison has bulked up to 260 pounds from the 217 he was carrying at the end of two-a-days last year. The Mishawaka, Ind., native transformed his body with a dedication to weight lifting and five meals a day...plus snacks.

"Some people gain weight just by eating everything," Mattison said. "You've got to be careful what you eat. You can't just sit there and eat 100 Twinkies."

Mattison uses the food for fuel. He packs in proteins and other healthy fare. It does not resemble Whimpy from Popeye fame.

"You can't go to McDonald's and sit there and eat cheeseburgers," the 6-foot-3, redshirt freshman said. "Most things that you can make on your own are OK. Nothing deep fried or anything like that; fruits; vegetables".

Mattison should be commended for his dedication. But, he'd like to share the credit.

"I feel like I've come a ways," he said. "That's just all the strength coach. The summer program here is awesome. We do drills. We just get after it all summer. Everybody pretty much comes far in the summer here."

Ah, another personal endorsement from Coach Chris Doyle and his staff. It's almost like they need to do an infomercial.

"Coming from a football family, I knew that if you work hard and do what they say, you'll gain weight," Mattison said. "That's their job. That's what they know. They're experts on that.

"It's tough. I don't enjoy eating. It's become a pain in a way. I have to do it. But I can tell after the first couple of days of practice that it's going to help."

Mattison keeps telling himself that as he forces down another piece of chicken or salad. He pushes towards his goal of five meals a day.

"Sometimes it's tough," he said. "Sometimes you're choking it down."

The weight should benefit Mattison, who likely will be in the regular defensive line rotation according to head coach Kirk Ferentz and position coach Ron Aiken.

So, don't hate Bryan Mattison because he is eating the way most of us can only dream to chow down. Remember that he is helping the Hawkeyes.

Maybe reading some more of his answers will help you get passed your envy:

What were the keys in your weight lifting routine in bulking up?

Every day that I walked up the stairs to come to the weight room I told myself that I was going to get after it. I think that's just what got me through every day.

We did a lot of competitions this summer. I'm a competitive person. So, when you can compete, it makes it fun.

The coaches in there are always in a good mood. Even if they're having the worst day, they won't bring it into the weight room. That helps. We're in there every day. That's all we see all summer. It helps when they can joke around with you and you can have fun with them.

It looks like you're going to be in the D-line rotation. Are you ready for that?

I think so. I've got a lot of work to do out here (on the practice field). If we were going to play tonight, it would be tough. But as long as I listen to what Coach Aiken has me do, I have 100 percent confidence that he'll get me in the right spot.

What have you learned from the guys ahead of you?

A lot. Last year, I tried to watch everything that they did. I knew that I wasn't going to play last year. So, I tried to take in as much as I could and tried to remember it all.

Being behind Matt Roth, I mean, who else better could you be behind? He teaches me everything. If I ever have a question, he's more than willing to answer it and then go in depth about it.

There's some things that he'll say that I don't understand. He'll go even further and try to explain them. He knows that young kids can be important. When he's gone, someone else needs to be there.

Him and Derreck Robinson have both been great. Derreck Robinson has a locker right next to mine. We talk all of the time.

A lot of people just see Matt as the animal he is out there on Saturdays. They don't see him as a technician or a teacher.

Oh yeah, and I used to think the same way. I was like, "Man, I'm scared to ask him a question."

One day in pash rush (drills), I did something wrong, and he came right up and was like, "This is what you've got to do. It works every time. Just do that."

From what you've been able to gather so far, what is the key to being a successful defensive lineman at Iowa?

Playing physical. Being aggressive and playing physical. And you've got to come across the line. If you don't come across the line, then they'll put you right on your back.

Even Coach Aiken says that. You've got to come across the line and be physical. That's the main thing.

Do you even think about Notre Dame and you're dad being there and what might have been?

No. (laughs) It never enters my mind.

When I was home a couple people asked me if I was glad that I came here. Honestly, I have no regrets.

This place is awesome. Look at the facilities that we have. The coaching staff is amazing. You put the strength coaches in there. They're just awesome. As you can tell, everybody has gotten bigger, stronge, faster.

And then, the academics are great, too. This place is awesome and I have no regrets at all.

Was it tough to sit out last year?

It was tough. But I also knew that if I went in there, I'd get killed. You've got to be honest with yourself. I wouldn't have been able to play. I knew that. I wasn't ready. And I'm still not positive I am. I'm hoping that I will be by the time the season rolls around.

But it was tough. Sure, you'd love to run out in front of all of those people and hit somebody or sack somebody. But you've got to wait your turn and work hard.

You have a lot of defensive linemen in your class. Is it pretty exciting that you guys are going to be together for a while here and have a chance to make a big impact?

Oh yeah. We all walked out here (to media day) together. Every day we walk out here (to the practice field) together. We come out and practice our butts off. I just know that they're all going to be there when we get into games. We'll all be able to play hard together. You can trust each other. These are a bunch of kids that are going to be good.


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