Mammoth offensive lineman Pete White’s decision to commit to Maryland on signing day in 2009 was, well, big for the Terrapins.
White was in many ways an impressive pull. He was a local product, analysts considered him one of the best players in Maryland’s recruiting haul and his massive body ensured he passed the eyeball test.
Finding the right size, though, is a struggle for the District native, whose weight issues left new coach Randy Edsall displeased during the first week of preseason camp.
“Honestly, it’s been an up-and-down battle,” said White, who arrived for camp at 336 pounds, more than his target of 320. “I lose a lot of weight, and then we might have a break or some time to ourselves and I just relax. It’ll fluctuate like 10 pounds. That’s something that is my biggest challenge.”
White wasn’t unlike many star high school offensive linemen. He dominated opponents with a 6-foot-4 frame, which carried 360 pounds when he arrived at Maryland two years ago. Some weight loss was to be expected as he converted some undesirable pounds into muscle upon entering the Terps’ strength and conditioning program.
He was part of a group that spent several months after the Terps’ 2009 season losing weight and reducing body fat to become a quicker, leaner unit. White said he was down to 322 pounds at one point last season.
But he was declared academically ineligible for the bowl game. Spring practice didn’t go much better; he couldn’t wrest the starting job from former walk-on Josh Cary.
The sophomore said he should know what he must do to take care of his weight but acknowledged it can be difficult when he’s alone rather than on campus.
“When you get on winter break and you get that week off before summer school starts, I’ll lift but I might not run as much, which is something as a lineman I definitely need to do,” White said. “I’ll run, but probably not as much. I’ll do what they tell me to do, but I need to do extra because I need to be conscious of my weight.”
With Maryland opting for an up-tempo offense, its offensive linemen (like everyone) must be prepared for a rapid pace.
The first week of camp didn’t change Edsall’s opinion. It also might have created an opening for Cary, who played in five games last season, to quickly solidify control of the right guard gig thrown open when Lewis was dismissed from the team in July.
“Pete knows what he has to do, but I’m not very happy with where he’s at right now,” Edsall said. “I don’t think he did enough to come in here and say ‘Hey, I really want to make a difference.’ I just look at things by what people do. To me, you speak louder with your actions than you do with your words. Pete has ability. But Pete can be much better if he would just do those things we want him to do and get that weight down.”
And so White’s most significant battle continues. As excited as he is about the fresh start afforded everyone by the coaching change, he knows his decisions will help dictate what role he plays.
“Last year when I played, I was at 335,” White said. “That wasn’t a bad weight with the offense we were in. Now that we’re in a different offense, I need to be at a lower weight.”
When White gets there, it will be a big day indeed for him.
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Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at email@example.com.
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