Sam Webb: How are you doing?
Craig Roh: “Doing very well. Loving the sunshine out here.”
Sam Webb: When I first ran into you four years ago at the Under Armor All American game, I was a bit concerned about how you were going to handle the cold weather. As you look back at your Michigan career, how do you think you fared up here in the land of snow, ice, and salt?
Craig Roh: “Well, I think I did well on the field when it was cold, but other than that, I really didn’t like I (laughter)t. You don’t see sun for three months, and for a guy who’s used to sun really 360 days out of the year, that was a huge change for me that I did not like.”
Sam Webb: Speaking of huge changes… you went through a number of them on the field and you went through a number of them physically in your Michigan career. I think when I first saw you, you might have been 230-lbs. You finished your Michigan career at over 260-lbs, 270-lbs. Just talk about your Michigan career… from your physical changes to all the changes that you saw along the defensive side of things in the coaching department as well.”
Craig Roh: “Well, I played four different positions, and I was asked to gain weight every year… gain about 15-lbs every year. I just really wanted to do what I could to help my team, and that’s what I ended up doing. Whatever I had to do, I would do it.”
Sam Webb: You played the four different positions, but maybe the most trying of those transitions came when you got with Greg Mattison. I remember you saying that you felt like when he started coaching you, that you didn’t know anything… like you couldn’t do anything right. Just take us back through that time, and what it was like to weather through that, and what you took away from it.”
Craig Roh: “I think Coach Mattison, he saw a lot of potential there, and a lot of untapped things that he could bring out of me. During that camp he really just grinded down on me, and I think it really made me not only into a better football player, but a better man.”
Sam Webb: Let’s talk about what things look like for you from here. Like you said, you played four different positions, so what are you hearing from scouts? What are your trainers telling you position-wise, as far as what you need to be prepared for?
Craig Roh: “Well really, when I come into my pro day I just need to just show how athletic of a person I can be. I’m hearing everything from playing more of an outside linebacker stand up position like I did my freshman year, and I’ve heard teams that want me at strong side defensive end as well, like I did my senior year. So it’s really all over the map. I just want to have a good show, and show that I’m athletic on my pro day, and let whatever team decide what they want to do with me.”
Sam Webb: Where are you right now as far as your height and weight are concerned? And just talk about where you’re training, what you’re doing, and who you’re working out with.
Craig Roh: “I’m working out at a place called PEP. It’s right about five minutes away from my old high school, Chaparral High School. I am 6’5”, and around 270-lbs right now, and that’s really a weight that I’ve been able to get leaner and be able to show my peak athletic performance at that weight.”
Sam Webb: When we talked to J.T. Floyd and Kenny Demens, they both said they’re learning different things about diet and changing things as far as diet is concerned. I imagine you haven’t had to change much based on what we heard about your diet here over the last few years.
Craig Roh: “Not really a whole bunch. I’ve definitely made some tweaks and modifications to it; however. My diet has always been very very rigorous.”
Sam Webb: Give the fans an idea of what a typical day is like, calorie-wise, and what foods make up those calories?
Craig Roh: “I’m eating about 4,500 calories right now, which is a little bit down from the 5,500 I was eating when I was gaining weight. Really I’m just maintaining right now, and they actually have been delivering food these past couple months. There’s a food delivery service, so you get five meals to your front door, packed, ready to go… and they are delicious, they are so good. But if I’m in a rush, I’ll usually put eight to ten raw eggs in a shake with some mango Naked juice, and seven tablespoons of olive oil, and that will be my breakfast right there. Then I’ll have some sort of chicken, some sort of filet mignon, and then it kind of alternates between chicken and steak, maybe a nice scramble here and there too, so I mean, all the meals have been very good.”
Sam Webb: Mango what juice and what did you say?
Craig Roh: “Naked juice.”
Sam Webb: I haven’t even heard of that.
Craig Roh: “You can but it really at any store. You’ll see it really anywhere. There’s a green one, and the orange one is the one that I choose. It’s mango mixed with other things, and it has like a – it will say on the container that you have like five apples and ten tangerines, whatever, and I just use that because when you put ten raw eggs in a shake, it obviously doesn’t taste very good, so you have to put something in there so you can’t taste it, so I just put in the mango juice, and I’m ready to go.”
Sam Webb: One of the things that the other guys said is that they’ve been fortunate, while working out down there to be able to train with and learn from, some of the pros. So who are the guys that maybe you’ve run into, and that you’ve kind of tapped on them for a little advice and that kind of thing? Who are some of the guys you’ve talked to?
Craig Roh: “I’ve talked to Lamar Woodley a little bit. I talked to Tim Tebow, who was actually very helpful, kind of getting a good idea of what the NFL looks like. It’s a little bit different game than the college game. Really it’s a job, and you’re getting paid to do it, so there’s different expectations, and Tim Tebow was pretty helpful in helping me to understand that a little bit better.”
Sam Webb: Let’s look back for a moment. Kind of look at what you’re leaving behind at Michigan, and talk to me about the defensive line, for instance. There are a lot of young guys that came in last year, some of them saw some time, some of them red shirted. Just talk to me about what your expectations are, who Michigan fans should look out for along the defensive front next year.
Craig Roh: “I think when you look at the coaching emphasis every year, these coaches emphasize the D-line all day. It starts and ends at the D-line. If the D-line doesn’t win, it’s very hard to win the football game. So these young guys are going to get coached up like no other, and they’re going to be ready for the season, and I see some guys who are extremely talented. I think a red-shirt year helped a lot of them, and guys who – you see like a Willie Henry, you see Ondre Pipkins can develop more, you see – I guess you could say Jake Ryan is on the D-line, Jake Ryan’s going to become a better pass rusher, so is Frank Clark. Brennan Beyer is going to be able to gain a little more weight. I think these guys are really going to answer the call. You also have Quinton Washington, Jibreel Black, the seniors just leading it, and those guys are growing as well. “
Sam Webb: Fans had an opportunity to see many of those guys. Obviously, they saw– talking about young guys – saw Ondre Pipkins, saw Mario Ojemudia; didn’t get a chance to see some of these other guys that you saw, like a Chris Wormley who got injured early. What did you think of him? Willie, who you mentioned? Tom Strobel? What did you think of some of those guys that maybe fans didn’t get a chance to see?
Craig Roh: “Chris Wormley was about ready to play when he got injured. He was in the rotation. You definitely would have seen him on the field. He’s a guy that – well, I say he’s like the twelfth stage of evolution, because he gained 30-lbs in camp of muscle, and was ready to play D-tackle. He came in at like 260-lbs, and was 290-lbs by the time he left camp, so I say, like, his body morphs to whatever it needs to be. So Chris Wormley is a guy that everyone’s going to surprise once he comes back from rehabbing from this injury. I think he’s going to be a great player. Then you also have Willy Henry, you know, he’s just – when you look at a body, and he’s just a real thick guy, and I just think he needs to get his technique a little bit better down, and he’s strong as an ox, and I think he’s going to be able to contribute this year a lot as well.”
Sam Webb: The twelfth stage of evolution. That’s going to stick, man (laughter). So offensively, obviously big news, your guy, the guy you came up to Michigan with, decided to come back to Michigan. Were you at all surprised when Taylor made that choice?
Craig Roh: “I never really know what Taylor’s doing. I’ve known Taylor my entire life and I’ve never been able to predict one decision he’s ever made. Whatever I thought, it’s usually the opposite. But I’m really glad Taylor decided to stay. I think that, one, it helps the team out a ton, and I think it’s going to be really good for him too.”
Sam Webb: Pro day coming up on the 14th. Kind of give me that Craig Roh scouting report, the one that the scouts, that the coaches likely have. What do they say Craig Roh’s strengths are, and what do they say are the things that you need to improve on… things that you maybe have improved on already while you’re down there in Arizona?
Craig Roh: “My strengths are I’m a very hard worker, I’m smart, non-stop motor, can pick up stuff very quickly, and learning four different positions, and being able to start the entire time, so I’m going to be able to produce when you need me to produce. Things that I am improving on, and need to improve on, is just being smoother running, more athletic, and really what I’m going to show during this pro day is that I’m going to be a whole lot more athletic than I think the scouts will think I am.”