Where’s the beef? English, Harris told to ‘get to the table and eat’

Late-night snacks? Bring them on. USC defensive ends English and Harris eat at least eight times in a day in order to gain quality muscle weight.

jkendall@thestate.comApril 10, 2013 

Darius English and Mason Harris

FILE PHOTOS

  • DAILY DIET OF DARIUS ENGLISH

    At 6-foot-6, 225 pounds, the defensive end is trying to put on weight.

    5:45 A.M. PRE-LIFT

    Gatorade shake, fruit, bagel

    7 A.M. POST WORKOUT

    Gatorade shake

    7:45 A.M. BREAKFAST AT DODIE

    Eggs, carb source (oatmeal, grits, potato), fruit, veggie

    10:30 A.M. CLASS NUTRITION

    Gatorade shake, peanut butter and jelly bagel sandwich

    12 p.m. LUNCH AT RUSSELL HOUSE

    Protein (his choice), veggie, carb

    2:30 P.M. AFTERNOON SNACK

    Gatorade shake, peanut butter and jelly bagel sandwich

    6 P.M. DINNER AT DODIE

    (2 plates) Protein (his choice), veggie, carb

    9 P.M. SNACK BEFORE BED

    Gatorade shake, pPeanut butter and jelly bagel sandwich

When the 2013 season arrives, Darius English and Mason Harris hope to have starting roles in South Carolina’s “rabbits” defensive line package.

They will be the skinny ones.

The pair of Gamecock defensive ends faces the opposite problem of millions of Americans — they can’t gain weight fast enough.

“They can help us at the weight they are at now, but we’d definitely like to see them gain more,” defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said.

In most businesses, 235 pounds (English) and 225 pounds (Harris) would be plenty big to get the job done. Playing on the defensive line in the SEC, though, is not most jobs. It’s Joe Connolly’s task to get English and Harris ready for it.

“Nobody comes in the door perfect,” said Connolly, the Gamecocks’ strength and conditioning coach.

English, a 6-foot-6 native of Powder Springs, Ga., is a freshman who played briefly in two games last year before applying for a medical redshirt. Harris, a 6-3 sophomore, worked at linebacker last season before being moved to defensive end. He played on special teams in 2012, notching three tackles. They, along with Gerald Dixon, are expected to back up starting ends Jadeveon Clowney and Chaz Sutton.

While their fine tune their skills during the final week of USC’s spring practice, they also are trying to pack on pounds. It’s a process that will continue throughout the summer and perhaps throughout their football careers.

“I don’t rush it, because when you rush it, it’s all bad weight,” Connolly said. “We don’t want bad weight. We want quality muscle weight, and that takes time.”

And food.

Players such as English and Harris are given a schedule by Connolly that includes eight meals per day, the first at 5:45 a.m. and the last at 9 p.m. A typical day could include all three regular meals plus three peanut butter and jelly bagel sandwiches for “snacks.”

“With Darius, I don’t want him going two hours without eating something,” Connolly said. “It doesn’t have to be huge, but he can’t have class for six hours and not eat anything. That doesn’t work. We want him to have food continuously throughout the day. I never want him to be hungry. I want him to be full or comfortable. He can never be hungry.”

While most of the world has to fight the urge to snack before bed, English and Harris must if they want to reach their goals.

“That’s an excellent way to put on some more pounds,” Connolly said.

Both players hope to be 245 pounds or more when the season begins. Defensive line coach Deke Adams has urged both plays to “get to the table and eat,” he said.

While English and Harris work on adding weight, they also will continue to work on ways to overcome their relative size disadvantage, Adams said.

“You really have to work on speed, work on hands, use the things that you have been given, use those different talents to make yourself better,” Adams said. “Both of them right now their talent is speed, and we have to use that. When you get a big (offensive) tackle on the end, and he knows that there is a great chance that you can run around him, then he is shaking in his shoes.”

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