Robert Hughes worked hard in the offseason to reshape his body. Hughes shaved 10 pounds off his body before slowing adding to get his frame back to around 235 pounds.
"One thing I tried to do was cut weight and the other thing I worked on was footwork," he said. "Just trying to get more explosive and do different things like that. You can always get faster, you can always get stronger so you definitely want to do those things."
Hughes has always been a large kid.
"My genes, all of my family is pretty big. I was 12 years old, I was 200 pounds then," he said. "It's pretty tough to try to keep the weight off."
But not too tough and Hughes does not believe that weight had anything to do with him failing to make a huge jump in production between his freshman and sophomore years.
Hughes had 294 yards and four touchdowns as a freshman before running for 382 yards and four scores in 12 regular season games as a sophomore last season. Hughes had 55 yards and a touchdown in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl.
"No I don't think so at all. I felt good playing at my weight, I feel good right now," he said. "The weight is definitely not an issue for me, I feel great."
His new running backs coach Tony Alford wants to see all of his backs play with a certain physicality.
"In the spring for me, I want to see are guys physical?" Alford said. "Are they going to put their face in the fire a little bit and be able to put their mask on guys and not shy away from contact?"
Alford especially wants to see Hughes use his weight to his advantage.
"He's a big back and the biggest thing with him that I've been talking to him about is, ‘You're 235, 236 odd pounds, you don't have to make everybody in the world miss,'" Alford said. "‘You can run through a lot of things just by the sheer size and strength.'"
"He mentioned it to me a few times," said Hughes. "That's just all a part of the little things that we do to get better, just finishing plays and finishing runs."
Hughes does not see himself as a power back or a shifty back.
"I just think of myself as the back that can get the job done," he said. "Whether it's a guy that needs to be missed or be run over. Anything that needs to be done, I feel like I can do it."
Hughes has a few things that he wants to accomplish this spring, but is not going to try to do too much.
"Just be consistent. Just come out there everyday with the purpose of trying to get better," said Hughes. "Keeping the focus on the little things, the little things that we have to take care of whether it's pass-blocking or finishing runs."
"If everybody knows what their role is and they know their value and they're doing things that they can do that will help the team win," Alford said. "That in the end is what will matter."
For Hughes, it doesn't really matter what his role is or how he does it.
"Just as long as I get to the other side of the field," he said.