West Virginia center Dan Mozes has always been a mountain of a man. Recently, though, Mozes has become a mountain man.
More to the point, Mozes, an All-America player last season, has moved in with the school's strength and conditioning coach, Mike Barwis, in the tiny town of Bruceton Mills, W. Va., in the mountains east of Morgantown as he has intensified his training for a possible career in the NFL.
"I feel like Rocky in Rocky IV," said Mozes, who in 2006 won the Rimington Award given to college football's top center.
"He goes to Russia to train and there's lots of snow. That's what I've got here. We're so far out, I can't even get cell phone service."
Mozes recently competed for the North squad in the prestigious Senior Bowl. He has been training hard for his next step in his quest to be selected in this year's NFL draft.
Next up is the NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis. Mozes is the only West Virginia player invited to the combine and is one of only nine centers who will attend.
"It's a great honor to even be invited to this," said Mozes, who completed his degree in communications in December.
Mozes already got his first taste of what the week in Indianapolis could be like at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Coaches and front office personnel from every NFL team attended.
"I didn't meet many head coaches, but I did talk to a lot of scouts and some general managers," said Mozes. "I did get to meet with new Atlanta head coach Bobby Petrino. That was kind of cool because here was a guy who was coaching at Louisville, so I knew about him because we had played against them. It just goes to show that you can make that step up the ladder."
Mozes isn't concerned about the battery of tests – not only physical, but mental as well – that will be given next week.
"When you're meeting with teams, all you can do is be yourself," Mozes said. "If you're not, they'll sense it."
According to most scouting services, Mozes had an up-and-down week during the workouts at the Senior Bowl. At times, he looked very good. At other times, he struggled.
But for a player who gets by more on his athleticism and guile more than his brute strength, that was not unexpected.
"I thought things went pretty well," Mozes said. "I was going against a lot of great players. It's not like high school or even college, where you can go 75 percent and beat these guys. Sometimes they are going to beat you and sometimes you're going to beat them."
After the Senior Bowl, he is seen by most scouting services as a second-day NFL pick, something he hopes to change this week by showing off his athleticism.
Mozes, who was 6-2 3/8 and 300 pounds for the Senior Bowl, said he has been training with Barwis to prepare for the different tasks he will be asked to perform at the combine.
"I'm back down to 290 pounds now and I'm training like a track athlete," Mozes said. "I could easily get up to 310 pounds. I've been eating five times a day, but I've been eating the right foods.
"I'm living, eating and sleeping football."
Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.