Senior tackle Alex Boone thinks he looks fat when he looks at himself in a mirror, but offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Jim Bollman thinks Boone needs to pack on some more pounds.
This is the struggle of an offensive lineman at Ohio State. Boone has come into training camp with a slender look and told reporters Thursday he is down to "around 300 pounds." While Bollman wants Boone to add some to that total, the coach said Boone is in the best shape of his playing career.
Boone has also noticed a difference during camp.
"I feel more in shape so my legs are better," Boone said. "My back doesn't swell up on me. ... I feel fresh everyday. I'm like Superman."
Teammates have also noticed Boone's increased energy and stamina.
"He's never tired," center Jim Cordle said. "He's going hard all the time, 100 percent now. It's his senior year and he's doing a great job of going as hard as he can."
Guard Steve Rehring is currently 337 pounds, down from 345 during the 2007 season. Like Boone, Bollman said Rehring is in the best shape of his Buckeye career.
"He's doing well with his weight," Boone said. "He's working hard and he's eating right, so I'm proud of him for that.
"I think last year he came in at 355 and Bolls told him he had to get down. This year he came in in good shape, ran well in the gasser (running) test and is doing good out there."
Boone and Rehring are feeling better and that is possibly because they are close to what Bollman calls their "magic weight," the lightest weight a lineman can be and still be an effective pass protector. Success for a lineman can depend on how close a lineman can stay to that number, according to Bollman.
"Suppose a guy could bench 600 pounds," Bollman said. "But if he only weighed 250 pounds in this league people would pick his 250 pounds up and throw him all over the place. Whatever an individual's particular body build is, he has to have an amount of weight that he can sit down and not get thrown around and be able to act like a wall in pass protection."
While it is important for a lineman to weight enough to matchup with strong pass rushers, Bollman said it is a fine balance between too light and too heavy.
"When you start going over that magic weight, which is different for everyone, it just becomes excess baggage that you're carrying around," Bollman said.
Boone joked about the weight issues of himself and Rehring Thursday, but did admit he needed to put on a couple of pounds before the season begins Aug. 30 vs. Youngstown State.
"(Bollman) gets on me about my weight, so I have to get it up a little bit," Boone said.
Boone, Rehring and Cordle all looked to be in good shape Thursday, and Bollman said that is something he has noticed about all of the Buckeyes during training camp.
"I think the whole football team is really very conscious of their eating habits and how they go about … staying in shape," Bollman said.
The emphasis of fitness is part of a greater goal of doing whatever it takes to get back to another BCS National Championship Game, according to Cordle.
"We're trying to be disciplined all the time," he said. "We're trying to be perfect in everything we do because the goal is to win a national championship and that takes a full team effort.
"We realized as much as much as we were focused and disciplined in the past, it wasn't enough. We've got to pick it up."