Slimmer, trimmer defensive line becoming the norm for Sooners
by Ryan Aber
Published: Tue, August 13, 2019 2:05 AM
NORMAN — Dillon Faamatau likes candy.
“Crunch bars, Hershey’s Snickers, Three Musketeers,” the Oklahoma redshirt senior defensive lineman said. “I’m a chocolate guy.”
But Faamatau had to give up sweets, juices and another of his favorite dietary staples — cheeseburgers — over the offseason as he molded his body to fit into new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch’s “Speed D” that calls for lighter, more nimble defensive linemen.
“I had to make sure I fit the part for this season,” Faamatau said.
Perhaps nowhere is the Grinch overhaul more noticeable than on the interior of the defensive line, where Faamatau and Neville Gallimore have dropped significant weight since last spring.
Faamatau played last year around 320 pounds. Now, he weighs 30 pounds less.
Gallimore has also dropped around 30 pounds, getting to less than 300 pounds for the first time since high school.
For Gallimore, one of the biggest adjustments was not eating after around 8:30 p.m. each night and eating more smaller meals throughout the day rather than gorging once or twice a day.
“It wasn’t a hard transition, it was just more so staying disciplined, managing and taking care of my body more,” Gallimore said. “When you get in shape, you become more confident in yourself.
“Being here, it wasn’t that hard. Everything is here for you.”
There’s balance in the weight loss, head coach Lincoln Riley said.
“Our deal is ‘Speed D,’” Riley said. “It's not like we just recklessly said go in there and shed as much weight as you possibly can. We've had long discussions and very detailed targets for these guys to hit.”
That was a coordinated effort between Grinch, Riley, strength coach Bennie Wylie and nutritionist Tiffany Byrd.
But while Grinch’s scheme — especially in that defensive linemen are asked to be much more aggressive in his one-gap defense than in the previous scheme — plays a big part, another is just the changing nature of the game.
“We want to be able to make those guys more active and then also I think it's adjusting for the game,” Riley said. “You play a lot of plays. That's just the nature of football right now and so having those guys in great condition and able to play a lot of snaps is also a big part of it.
The difference, Grinch said, is apparent early in camp.
“Those guys are seeing the impact on a day-to-day basis in terms of (tackles for loss) and it only takes a couple for a guy for the light bulb to go off and say, ‘Well, this is kind of better than running into an offensive guard all day long.’”