USF running back Lindsey Lamar bulks up

Generally speaking, speedsters hate to tack on weight to their bodies.

Lindsey Lamar used to be in that camp.

But after adding some 20 pounds to his body during offseason workouts, Lamar has radically changed his point of view.

"I feel better than I ever felt in my life," Lamar said in a recent phone interview. "I used to think adding the weight, I wouldn't feel so good. But now I feel great. I'm still able to run well, and I'm able to do all the things I could do, plus more."

Lamar has bought completely in to a strategic plan to overhaul his body. Shortly after winning the 60 meter indoor title at the Big East championships, Lamar made the move to running back during spring practice. Lamar had been bounced around between that position and receiver, but coaches decided once and for all he would benefit the most from a move to the backfield.

At 5-foot-9 and 164 pounds, his playing weight was not ideal for a running back. So the strength and conditioning staff came up with a plan for him to start lifting more weight and putting on some major pounds, to get his body prepared for the rigors of playing the position.

"It's a high-collision position, and adding more weight pads the body because of the contact," offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said. "He's always been a physical runner, so this will add a little more punch to him where he can finish his runs off with a little more mass to his body, so he can fall forward at the contact points. He will still move and feel good about himself, and this will do something for his confidence. If you have that edge to you mentally, and you feel good about yourself, that will make him a better player overall."

For a smaller player like Lamar, bulking up has meant force-feeding himself. Nearly every meal takes hours to eat.

"I eat until I'm about to pass out, literally, every day," Lamar said.

That means eating a whole large pizza by himself on Wednesdays. Or an entire rotisserie chicken with a giant bowl of macaroni and cheese and rice. Or a giant helping of spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread. A gigantic steak. The entire eating experience has not been pleasant, but Lamar sees the results.

He can now lift about 20 more pounds, up to 305. As for his body weight, he is now up to 185 pounds and has not lost any of his speed, something that was a concern when he initially started.

"I feel faster, feel more explosive definitely, and I think with the explosiveness comes more quickness," he said. "I just feel great."

Lamar joins a pretty crowded backfield, with veteran Demetris Murray, Marcus Shaw, Bradley Battles and Willie Davis all competing for playing time. But Fitch said Lamar and Murray are leading the charge after impressive performances during the spring.

"He and Demetris will be running at the forefront with the [starters]," Fitch said. " We always play two backs, but this is the first time since we've been here where one of those two guys has game-changing speed like Lindsey does. We've had Moise Plancher and Demetris, 4.5, 4.6 guys. Last year, Darrell (Scott) was a big body, physical runner, but wasn't a home-run hitter. So I think Lindsey will get those touches, and that gives us a great opportunity to create big plays."

Now, Lamar cannot wait for the season to get started, with his new body at his new position.

"Running back is my heart," he said. "I love running back. I played RB all my life. I'm just so excited for the year, and want to do anything I can to help the team win."