Down in weight, Conklin raising game

Michigan State's sophomore left tackle changes diet to help change game heading into the 2014 season.

When spring football ended, Jack Conklin saw the opportunity for a change.

Michigan State’s sophomore offensive tackle was watching film and evaluating his play when he started to ask himself what would really help his game improve. His conclusion? Drop some weight.

”I looked at guys like (former Michigan tackle) Taylor Lewan, who going into his senior year you saw him drop 20 pounds,” Conklin said. “I figured why wait to my senior year to make a decision like this and make the change now and help my career.”

Conklin decided to make the change after a successful redshirt freshman season in which he took over the starting left tackle spot. He completely cut out fatty foods and eating late at night, dropping to 308 pounds this fall after playing at 330 pounds last season.

”It’s really just watching what you’re eating,” he said. “We have a nutritionist and he helped a ton, just talking to him and setting up a plan.”

Now, the 6-foot-6 Conklin rolls with a much more set diet that involves actually eating more than he was previously, but eating better. The focus is packing in protein – roughly 300 grams per day.

”For the past three months, I have been eating grilled chicken, broccoli and rice every night for dinner,” he said. “In the morning I have six eggs – four egg whites and two whole eggs – and oatmeal and throw some protein powder in there.”

He said the first couple weeks of the new plan were the roughest, but he found ways to try and keep it more interesting.

”I went out with my dad and bought a whole bunch of different spices to try and change the chicken up a little bit,” he said.

He was confident the weight drop would be a good thing and it has been so far in this preseason camp. He said he now is faster and also has seen the impact in the weight room, as he said his bench press and squat maxes have increased after the weight loss.

”I feel a lot more conditioned and I don’t get as tired after plays,” he said. “I feel a lot better.”

Offensive line coach Mark Staten said while there remain little improvements for Conklin to make in his game, he is making major progress to being a major player at Michigan State.

”He works on (those little things) everyday and tries little things and is working toward being a dominant force for us,” Staten said. “I would like to see a better one in our league. When I do, I’ll let you know.”

So while he had a good season last year, there figures to be a jump in his game and the weight change could be a part in that.

“I think for how young I was, it helped because my technique wasn’t exactly there but my weight saved me in certain situations,” he said. “Now, my technique is coming along and losing the weight will just help that.”

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