BLACKSBURG – J.C. Coleman is up. James Gayle and D.J. Coles are down.
Weeks from the start of fall football camp, some of Virginia Tech’s key players say they’ll be opening the season weighing what they should weigh for optimal play.
“Last year I packed on a little too much weight,” senior defensive end James Gayle said this weekend. “I’m trying to stay lean now.”
Gayle opened fall camp at 270 pounds last year. Now, he’s at 255.
“That’s where I want to be at,” Gayle said. “It’s more of a quicker, more explosive weight.”
Gayle said last year, as he lost weight over the course of the season, his play improved.
“As I cut weight, I always felt faster,” Gayle said. “Towards the end of the season, I felt like I was a better player than I was at the beginning of the season. So I just feel like that’s probably the best way to start the season.”
Gayle, who also battled an ankle injury early in the year, had 2 ½ tackles for loss in the first five games. He posted 8 ½ over the final eight games.
Senior wide receiver D.J. Coles, who was coming off a knee injury that cost him almost all of last season, opened eyes in the spring when he weighed 250 pounds. Now, Coles said he’s down to 235 and hopes to drop five more pounds before fall camp starts.
“I’ve got a little bit to lose but I’ll get there,” Coles said this weekend.
Coles said he didn’t do anything dramatic to lose the weight, just paid better attention to his diet.
“Workout habits, better eating, watching what I eat, what time I eat to lose weight,” Coles said. “That’s the main thing.”
Coles, the former Goochland High School star who missed 2011 with a knee injury as well, played just 13 snaps in the season opener last season against Georgia Tech before injuring his knee again.
This spring, Tech’s new offensive coordinator, Scot Loeffler, had Coles playing a hybrid H-back type position, in part because of his increased weight.
Conversely, sophomore running back J.C. Coleman has added about six pounds this offseason, getting up to 186 pounds.
“I’m definitely stronger,” said Coleman, who hopes add about four more pounds before camp opens. “I put on a few more pounds within a couple of weeks.”
That extra weight and strength could be important for Coleman, who figures to see more carries now that sophomore running back Michael Holmes has been dismissed from the school.
Coleman said he’s eager for preseason camp to start.
“I’m looking forward to it a lot,” he said. “I’m ready to see if all the work I’ve been putting in pays off. I’m ready to get back out there, start preparing for Alabama.”