Missouri linebacker takes healthy eating habits to campus

Thursday, August 18, 2011 | 4:25 p.m. CDT; updated 9:26 a.m. CDT, Friday, August 19, 2011
Senior linebacker Tony Randolph catches a football as part of a drill during football practice Aug. 18 at Memorial Stadium.

Is that guy eating a hard-boiled egg?

Yes. His name is Tony Randolph, and he plays linebacker for the Missouri Tigers football team. Yes: He’s eating a hard-boiled egg in class.

Scrimmage report

Backup quarterbacks

Quarterbacks not named James Franklin had a little difficulty hanging on to the ball. Senior Jimmy Costello threw an interception early in the scrimmage to senior cornerback Trey Hobson. Later, sophomore Ashton Glaser fumbled trying to escape defensive pressure, and freshman Corbin Berkstresser threw a pair of interceptions, one to senior linebacker Tony Randolph and another to Hobson. Berkstresser was also reached and sacked by a defensive lineman late in the scrimmage, forcing a fumble.

Department of Defense

The pressure on the quarterbacks showed the strength of the defensive line. Players were consistently reaching the backfield. Freshman defensive end Kony Ealy batted down a James Franklin pass with a towering leap, and sophomore defensive end Michael Sam and senior defensive tackle Terrell Resonno each had impressive tackles in the backfield. At one point, senior defensive tackle Dominique Hamilton blocked a field goal attempt.

Missouri defensive backs were focused on the quarterbacks, nearly intercepting passes on numerous occasions, aside from the three interceptions that were thrown. Balls were tipped all morning long, but each side benefited from the extra contact on the ball. Senior wide receiver Wes Kemp tipped a pass that was caught by junior running back Kendial Lawrence inside the five-yard line, and Hobson's second interception came off a tipped pass by junior linebacker Zaviar Gooden.

Coach Gary Pinkel was pleased with his defense but said there was still room for improvement.

“You have to look at the consistency of the No. 1 defense,” Pinkel said after the scrimmage. “The offense drove all the way down the field, and then they stopped them for a field goal. Second shot, held them down there. We can be better. The urgency is getting better because we’re running out of time.”

Big plays on offense

There were flashes of brilliance from the Missouri running backs. Lawrence broke off a 60-yard touchdown run after receiving a big block from fellow running back, junior Jared Culver. Pinkel continues to be pleased with how Lawrence has played during camp but said senior De’Vion Moore and sophomore Henry Josey will also play once the season begins.

Freshman running back Tyler Hunt also impressed, running over a pair of defenders. Both Franklin and freshman running back Greg White found the end zone for rushing touchdowns.

The most electrifying play from the offense came toward the scrimmage's end on a run after the catch by junior tight end Steven Drain. The play began with a botched snap, but Glaser picked the ball up and rolled almost all the way to the right sideline before completing a pass to Drain, who ran down the field, breaking tackles and dragging defenders before finally being brought down at the one-yard line.

The coaches had the team close the scrimmage with a two-minute drill, ending in a Grant Ressell field goal.

Get well soon

After the scrimmage, Pinkel said the training staff is talking about the possibility of some injured Tigers returning to practice next week. Pinkel said senior wide receiver Jerrell Jackson, senior safety Kenji Jackson, junior center Travis Ruth and junior defensive end Brad Madison could be back Tuesday.

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It’s one of the eight to 10 hard-boiled eggs he eats every day. Fellow MU students might give him odd looks while he’s eating them on campus. It’s not unusual to see someone drinking juice or eating a granola bar on campus, but hard-boiled eggs? Not the most common food on the go.

But there’s a reason for the choice of snack. Randolph has what teammate Kenji Jackson calls a “disciplined diet.” He eats healthy. Very healthy. This college senior’s favorite foods aren’t cheeseburgers or french fries. He stays away from fried foods. He likes salmon the best. And, of course, he likes hard-boiled eggs.

“It’s a good source of whole protein,” he said. “Instead of getting, like, a shake, where you don’t know what’s all in it. You know the direct source of where it’s coming from is whole foods.”

It started in high school, when Randolph started reading up on healthy eating. He saw it as a part of staying in shape, something he clearly excels at. Teammates call him “ripped” and “jacked.” You can tell just by looking at him. His stomach looks like that of an action figure.

“He works out all the time,” Jackson said. “You really can’t keep him out of the weight room. He’s always trying to find somewhere to lift.”

But lifting weights and working out aren’t unique activities among football players, even if Randolph looks a little more like G.I. Joe than the rest of his teammates. And, players said, eating healthy is becoming more of a trend as well.

The athletics department employs a director of sports nutrition, who, along with other members of the football team's strength and conditioning staff, instruct the players on what they should be eating. Mostly, they tell the players the same things most students learn at a young age about how to eat right: fruits, vegetables, protein. Michael Egnew used the term "balanced diet" to describe the instructions.

There are some differences, though, from the food pyramid for the nonathlete. Dan Hoch said he is supposed to be eating four meals a day.

The football team's recruiting website describes the food offerings at the Mizzou Athletics Training Complex:

"The dining services staff works along with the Missouri strength and conditioning coaches in developing menus that maintain a good nutritional value. They plan meals that are low in fat and high in protein to meet the demanding physical needs of Tiger student athletes."

When he heads to the dining hall, Randolph fills his plate with protein, fruits, vegetables and anything with antioxidants. He said he wants to keep his body cleansed. But, he said, he prepares most of his food himself.

“You can tell that having a healthy diet kind of correlates to how you look and how you play,” Randolph said.

Although he said he thinks the idea of healthy eating is gaining popularity with the team, some of Randolph’s teammates aren’t full-on healthy eaters just yet. He joked that there are probably some linemen indulging in burgers.

“When we (offensive linemen) eat,” Hoch said, “it’s not about how much we can eat. It’s about how fast we can eat it. It’s about speed.”

Hoch said that last season, former Tiger center Tim Barnes ate an entire large pizza in less than two minutes.

“Tim Barnes is probably the most dominant eater I’ve ever seen,” Egnew said.

Wes Kemp admitted to sneaking a pizza in every now and then, but he and Hoch said they stick to a mostly healthy diet. Hoch said he’s a sandwich and salad kind of guy.

Kemp and Egnew both said they eat hard-boiled eggs as well but prefer to eat them away from campus.

Randolph realizes he might be alone in his on-campus egg eating, and he admits that he gets funny looks from classmates and that teammates give him a hard time. He likes his hard-boiled eggs. What about taking the whole protein to the next level? Would Randolph start drinking raw eggs like Rocky Balboa?

“No," he said. "I can’t get my mind to do that.”

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Mark Foecking August 20, 2011 | 3:17 a.m.

There's nothing really wrong with the occasional hamburger. Fat, in moderation, is an essential part of a balanced diet. Athletes, especially, need the energy that fat and suger provide.

As long as the athletes are not getting most of their calories from fat and sugar, there's no harm in an occasional indulgence.


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