Ohio State football right tackle Dawand Jones feels faster after offseason weight loss

Joey Kaufman
The Columbus Dispatch

Dawand Jones was holding a plank during a weightlifting workout earlier this summer when the Ohio State strength and conditioning staff put a 35-pound plate on his back.  

The placement added a layer of difficulty to the abs exercise, but it also served as a reminder for the Buckeyes’ big right tackle.

Carrying extra weight on his body is tough.

While Jones held the plank for 40 seconds as instructed by strength guru Mickey Marotti, it left him exhausted.

The instance is a snapshot of one of Jones’ biggest offseason emphasis. Since last season, the 6-foot-8 tackle has slimmed down, losing about 10 pounds. After his weight surpassed 370 pounds last fall, Jones said he has dropped down to 364 pounds.

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The physical transformation has left him feeling faster in the early days of preseason training camp.  

“When you’re heavier, it takes a toll on you,” Jones said. “It’s like everything is slower. Your body moves slower. You move slow.”

A lot of his strides have come over the past three months.

Ohio State tackle Dawand Jones (79) has lost 10 pounds since last season.

Following a break in May at the end of the spring semester, Jones felt a renewed focus for the summer’s strength and conditioning program.

“I just told myself I've got to attack the workouts with a different mindset,” he said. “It’s paying off.”

The weight loss wasn’t owed to a dramatic change in diet. Jones said he largely reduced the portion sizes of meals.

“I definitely cut down on some stuff,” he said.

What new Ohio State offensive line coach Justin Frye sees

Offensive line coach Justin Frye sees the payoff from the results as a motivation for Jones to keep his weight down moving forward.

Ohio State tackle Dawand Jones (79) has lost 10 pounds since last season.

“Once they get a little taste and see the success and bear a little fruit, that’s huge for those guys,” Frye said. “If I can move a little better 10 pounds lighter, I’m going to do that.”

If Jones moves quicker, it is most likely to help in pass protection, where he’ll need to block and cut off quick edge rushers.

“In pass pro, your feet go with you,” Jones said.  

Not only is he moving quicker, at a lighter weight, his backpedal is easier, putting less stress on his feet.

“I think that’s the best part, honestly,” he said.

With his imposing size, Jones felt most comfortable as a run blocker as he debuted as a starter last season. He could pop out of his stance, plow forward and overwhelm smaller defensive linemen and linebackers.  

He previously cited a need for improvement in pass protection as one of the reasons he returned for his senior season at Ohio State instead of entering the NFL draft. In addition to losing weight, he said he’s spent more time working on pass-blocking drills taught by Frye.

Jones isn’t fully satisfied with his number on the scale. He said he’d like to drop to 350 pounds, or 340 pounds. Those are part of a “long process,” he said, but one felt was important.

“I look at myself in the mirror and be like, 'You need to do some more work, honestly,’” Jones said. “I'd say some days I look pretty good. People are proud of me. But I need to keep getting the work.”

Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at jkaufman@dispatch.com or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman.

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