"I weigh 285 pounds," Landri finally confirmed at Sunday's media day. Poised for a big senior season, the 6-foot-3 Landri is finally close to the weight a defensive tackle should be at the major college level. The Concord, Calif. product says he doesn't need to adjust to his new body and also says he hasn't lost a step.
"I feel better at 285 pounds than I did at 266," he said. "My times are just as fast, actually my three-cone drill is faster."
How did Landri do it? Other than good old fashioned-hard work in the weight room, Landri had a diet of over 200 grams of protein per day, with Cytosport Muscle Milk shakes in morning and the evening.
"I'm eating my face off every day," he said.
Landri wasn't bad at 266 pounds. He finished the season second among defensive lineman in tackles with 43, including eight tackles for loss and three sacks. He ended the season with 25 consecutive starts at tackle.
Undersized, Landri still hung in there against top competition, relying on his athleticism to make plays. He doesn't see it that way and is striving to be better.
"I think on double teams I held my own, I anchored really well, but at the same time I wasn't getting the push I wanted," Landri explained. "I was holding my own, but I don't want to just hold my own. I think I relied a lot on my speed last year, more than I should. This year with the combination of both of them, I should be alright."
Shoulder surgery prior to last season hampered Landri from doing the things in the weight room the way he wanted. He couldn't power clean, he wasn't able to lift heavy, so he had to come up with a different plan for the season.
"Last year I wanted to focus on speed because I knew I wasn't going to have the strength I had from the previous year because of my shoulder surgery," Landri said. "So, I wanted to keep my weight down and be as fast as I could. This year, the big goal was my question mark, my strength and size. I have pretty much kept my speed and put on a good amount of weight."
Landri might even be bigger than teammate Trevor Laws, the other starting tackle that is listed at 283 pounds in the media guide.
At 285 pounds, Landri still might be undersized compared to other collegiate defensive linemen. A lot of guys at this position tip the scale closer to 300.
"In what we do and the way we like to move our guys he's not," defensive line coach Jappy Oliver said when asked if Landri is on the smaller side for a defensive tackle. "The thing, you can be undersized as long as you are compact and powerful. That's why you never see him get moved off the line of scrimmage very much. He plays at a good pad level, and he is compact and powerful. Now adding a few pounds to that, hopefully we can move that line of scrimmage a lot more."
To improve upon the 31 sacks the Irish were only able to manage last season, Oliver and company are hoping so.
Defensive end Victor Abiamiri isn't buying the Muscle Milk story.
"Derek ate a couple cheeseburgers and gained a little bit of weight," he joked. "I'm definitely excited about that. And he is still as quick as ever."
Muscle Milk, weights, or cheeseburgers, it doesn't matter. Landri is 285 pounds.
Size Not a Problem for Landri Anymore
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