Starve a lineman, feed a QB
By the time you’re up and ready to tackle your day — noonish, I’m guessing — Myles Brennan has already gone through three meals and a couple of milkshakes.
And he’s not even halfway through his daily gorge-fest.
Oh, to be young and carefree and the odds-on favorite to be LSU’s starting quarterback this fall.
Especially if you’re skinny.
If you’re Myles Brennan these days, your daily life must seem like one, long all-you-can-eat Sunday buffet.
He showed up on campus as a freshman last year at 6-foot-4 with a cannon arm but only 179 pounds of bulk to back it up.
Since then the LSU football staff has basically acted like fussy grandmas and aunts around him, constantly pinching his cheeks and urging him to eat just a little more, have one more helping of mashed potatoes, heavy on the butter.
He’s up to 195 pounds now, which is encouraging, but not good enough for the coaches who tend to think of all the SEC 320-pounders who’d love to be swinging around Brennan’s neck next fall.
The goal is for him to crack 210 pounds, maybe 215, by the start of football season.
That’d be a hot dog and a bag of chips for most of us. And we’d gain that 20 pounds just glancing sideways at Brennan’s average meal.
But Brennan isn’t most of us. He’s one of those awful people, hummingbird metabolism, who can eat all day and apparently just have the calories vanish into thin air.
Brennan’s weight must be quite the embarrassment to his family. Yes, he’s one of those Brennans, a physical oddity from the famed New Orleans restaurant family that has done an otherwise delicious job of fattening up the rest of the state for pasture.
“Good food,” he said Tuesday of the family business, though it apparently has no effect on him.
He just turned 19 last week, so the tried-and-true six-pack diet isn’t really a legal option to turn those six-pack abs in a cuddly spare tire.
So the LSU staff has Brennan on a strict and brutal training regimen —a diet sent from heaven, actually — the key element of which, when he’s not loitering at LSU’s training table, is apparently to ransack most of the fast-food joints near the LSU campus from dawn to midnight.
Isn’t that every college student’s dream day?
Surely, some day Brennan will be middle-aged and marvel at how much trouble it was to put on a pound or two.
But, for now, Breakfast at Brennan’s starts with three (3) breakfast sandwiches — the greasy kind that the mere whiff of the smell adds a couple of pounds to most humans — and at the first milkshake, maybe two, of the day, which comes in at about 1,300 calories.
There’s a snack between morning classes before a big lunch at the training table.
The big feed bag goes on again for supper and, of course, he doesn’t turn in at midnight before hitting up something fast and fattening nearby, either a chicken finger place or a pizza joint.
Yes, he eats and eats and eats … with little extra weight to show for it.
“I’m eating six to seven meals a day,” Brennan told reporters Tuesday before a spring practice. He said it with resignation, like it was burden.
Don’t you just hate him?
Tyler Shelvin surely must.
The LSU defensive tackle is usually at the other end of the Tigers’ buffet line. You can only imagine the bitterness he must feel tiptoeing down that chow line when he passes Brennan, who’s likely loaded down with a two-tray haul, as Shelvin lugs his tonnage toward the rabbit food section.
When he signed with LSU last spring as the consensus top player in the state out of Crowley, Shelvin was just on the outskirts of 400 pounds.
The Ed Orgeron division of Weight Watchers envisions a dominant player if he can get somewhere in the neighborhood of 320.
After signing him, Orgeron immediately had some back-bayou Cajun advice for Shelvin’s grandma.
The suggested diet: no need to spare the gumbo, but hold the rice.
Reports fluctuate, but the Orgeron meal plan — which may be a late-night infomercial some day — did slim Shelvin down by some 40-50 pounds by last fall.
The NCAA clearinghouse — the NCAA Eligibility Center — granted him partial academic eligibility — he could practice but not play — so he got an extra year to slim down.
If that’s the word.
“I’m not sure I’ll ever call him ‘Slim,’” Orgeron said.
Shelvin has had some success but, like Brennan, still has a ways to go, albeit on the opposite end of the scales.
“He shows flashes of being a great player,” said after a scrimmage last week. “If we can get him down to 335, he’ll be an excellent player.”
Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.