The scale shows one thing. Jamarco Jones sees something else.
Headed into his fourth season with the Ohio State football team and his second as the starting left tackle, the 6-foot-5 senior weighs in at 310 pounds these days.
He was around that weight when he first showed up as a four-star prospect out of Chicago, but Jones has a different look after three years of going through the Mickey Marotti offseason conditioning and training treatment.
“Oh man, when I first came in here, I had a bunch of baby fat on me, I wasn’t very strong, I wasn’t a good runner, I wasn’t in great shape,” Jones said. “These past couple years have done wonders for me. I’ve toned up a lot, and I’ve gained that weight back in muscle.
“And I’ve worked hard on my running technique so I can be faster, quicker and more agile.”
With preseason camp starting July 27, Jones said the summer has been about wringing as much as possible out of workouts, with a break coming this week before the sprint to camp opening.
“We can’t wear pads or anything, so we’re working on speed and strength, just trying to get in the best shape we can,” he said. “And you want to keep working on your technique because you don’t want to lose that in the big gap between spring ball and the start of camp.”
In the weight room, repetitions are given more importance than bulk pounds lifted. Linemen, for example, bench press 315 pounds as many times as possible in a sequence. Jones said he is hitting eight or nine with regularity this summer.
“Pretty much every day under coach Mick, walking out of a session you know you just got better, you just got stronger,” Jones said.
The next walk usually takes him to a meeting room, where videos of players blaze from last season or the spring, or with highlights from one of the opponents in the coming season.
“You’ve got to make sure you stay in the film room because you’ve got to improve on things you did last year, and you want to stay up-to-date on your opponents,” Jones said.
That dedication by Jones, now considered one of the team leaders, has impressed line coach Greg Studrawa.
“It has been his approach to the game, specifically to his technique and knowledge of the offense — he spends more time preparing each day and is one of the most intelligent guys I have been around,” Studrawa said. “That preparation has led to him becoming a better player, and that has spread to the rest of the offensive line.”
What drives them all, Jones said, is the desire to keep the good times rolling headed into the sixth year of the Urban Meyer era. But there has been another spur for the past six months — thoughts of the 31-0 loss to Clemson in a College Football Playoff semifinal.
“Last year ended on a little bit of a bitter note with that last game,” Jones said. “We’ve been putting in so much work through the winter, spring ball and then this summer. We’re excited for this season.
“I know the O-line, we’ve been working hard to improve and fix some things that went wrong last year. I’m excited to see how things go in fall camp. I think we’re going to be a pretty good unit.”