Someone working for YouTube should really flash a government-mandated "Warning, what you are about to see…" screen before the video begins.
Peppered by barks of teammates and the heavy base of a rap song, a shirtless Chris Pressley squats 605 pounds nine times. The video has been viewed more than 80,000 times — a viewership sure to hike up as the draft nears. See for yourself how scary it is. The bar bends like a straw, Pressley releases a thundering battle cry before the final rep… and through it all you can't help but get goose bumps imagining the damage this guy could inflict in a contact sport.
There's a reason "dsantacruz" in the Extreme BodyBuilding message board wrote, "he could squat my house." Pressley, a fullback from Wisconsin, oozes with strength.
"I'm a strength guy," Pressley said. "I like training my body and lifting weights and I'm trying to transfer that to the field best I can."
Considering neither Korey Hall or John Kuhn were particularly overwhelming last season, the Packers will probably be in the market for a fullback this offseason. Pressley could be on Ted Thompson's short list if the G.M. plans on implementing a two-back system. Ryan Grant's overuse last year — 312 carries for only 3.9 a clip — is proof that Green Bay needs to follow the NFL's multiback trend.
The 6-foot-1, 259-pound Pressley is tailor made to pave the way for a two-back system in the NFL. At Wisconsin, he blocked for Brian Calhoun and P.J. Hill — two different running backs. One dash. One mash. Pressley needed to gel with both. As more pro teams adopt two-back systems, fullback versatility is a premium.
Pressley knows this. He spent hours watching film of Hill and Calhoun to learn their tendencies.
"Pro teams are definitely trying to have those two backs — a big downhill runner and a faster, more mobile type back," Pressley said. "If you can block for both of those guys, I think it's definitely an advantage for a pro team."
Otherwise, teams may overlook Pressley. In four seasons with the Badgers, he only touched the ball 27 times (25 carries, two receptions). Instead, he quietly shoveled the trail for the Big Ten's No. 1 ranked rushing attack in ‘08. Last season behind Pressley, Hill and backup John Clay combined for 2,045 yards and 22 touchdowns. Before Hill, Pressley helped the diminutive Calhoun rush for 1,636 yards and 22 scores in '05.
Such opposite styles required Pressley to block from a variety of angles. For Calhoun, he ballooned to the edge and reacted to his tackle and tight end. Stretch and outside zone plays were the norm, he said. For Hill, he isolated one-on-one with linebackers. Straight-ahead, between-the-tackles blocks were the norm.
Still, Pressley hopes teams realize his potential isn't confined to blocking.
"I think I have a lot more to offer than just a traditional fullback. I'm a blocker," he said. "I love getting in there and being on target and moving guys out of the way for the running back. But I also think I can be utilized in the passing game in dump-offs and help in the short-yardage running game."
That may true, but Pressley's obvious attribute is strength — frightening strength that has weightlifting forums buzzing. Whereas Hall and Kuhn rely more on leverage at the point of attack, Pressley is simply overpowering.
His bench max is 460 pounds. His squat max, 780 pounds … or in other words, 27 cinder blocks.
The humble, well-spoken Pressley knows the knee-jerk label he may get from scouts may give him — a muscle-bound stiff too slow for the pro game. But he's sure that his bulk has a purpose — that he has power and knows how to use it. For years Pressley has modeled himself after Lorenzo Neal. With a similar build, Pressley's hoping to display similar punch in small spaces.
"I think if they see that I'm strong and that I can bend at the knees and at the waist they'll know my strength is more than just being a weightlifting guy. When they watch film they can see that I do a lot more. I can bend and get down with linebackers coming into the hole."
Believe it or not, physical prowess (or football itself, for that matter) compromises only half of Chris Pressley's life. In Madison, he graduated with a perfect 4.0 GPA and two degrees. After missing the 2005 season with a leg injury, Pressley spent one month studying abroad in China. He said that someday he may put his international business degree to use, "especially the economics" side of it all.
That can wait for now, though. Pressley isn't climbing into many draft rankings yet. Marginal statistical output has flown him under the mainstream radar. But Pressley's body of work is built for the modern NFL — the two-back-dominated NFL.
Just hide the women and children when you pull up the YouTube video.
Tyler Dunne writes for Packer Report. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UW fullback Pressley brings the power
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