COLUMBIA — On Thursday morning, Darvin Ruise walked onto the football field weighing 240 pounds, meaning the predicament he found himself in at the start of Missouri's fall camp two weeks ago remained the same.
The scale showed him above 235 – his mandated playing weight set by the Tigers' coaching staff.
The team's most experienced linebacker would remain third string until he met that weight.
"He's responsible to get his weight to a certain spot," coach Gary Pinkel said at Saturday's scrimmage. "That's his responsibility, and until he does, being a senior, he won't move up."
And so it was Thursday that he approached practice as he has always tried: with an upbeat, jovial attitude.
While going through drills, he turned to the nearby sideline, where a group of reporters laughed along with the playful remarks he sent them.
"How about some focus?" a coach asked of him.
"I joke with you guys and I have fun simply because it's life," Ruise explained after. "In the big spectrum of things, this is small. This is really small. I just come out here and enjoy it while I have it."
He has football guaranteed to him for one more year, he very well knows, and, yes, he intends to take advantage of it. Part of him seemed content with his weight.
"I feel like everybody in America is OK with my weight except for (the staff)," he joked. But it was his weight, he knew, keeping him from his leadership role on the team.
"It's not about me. It's about the team," Ruise said. "It's about coach Pinkel and what he (does) works; it's been proven. It's up to me to get there."
So he abided by an eating regimen. He put in the extra conditioning.
And there he was Tuesday. Entering into the final week of camp at 235 pounds.
To step on the scale Monday and see those digits was "a relief," he said. He said it again: "It's not about me."
"It was important for me to get where I needed to be for my teammates," he said. "At the end of the day, it's all about my team. That's the biggest thing."
On Faurot Field, he looked all around him.
"It's bigger than me," he said. "These guys out here, it's bigger than me, these fans, these people who pay thousands and thousands of dollars to be here to watch this, to keep this university running, it's bigger than me."
In many ways, Ruise has felt himself become smaller since he first came to campus. His son, Dylan, was born four years ago.
"When you have kids, you have to understand: It's not about you," he said. "So you have to understand, it's bigger than you right now.
"And that's the whole thing with my weight: It's bigger than me."
He said he must still prove himself to reattain the starting weak side position he held entering spring camp, but he can at least now strive to provide his services back to the program, back to the defense for which he's played 38 games.
One thing hadn't changed Tuesday. He was smiling through drills, laughing with teammates, interacting with anyone nearby, including, at one point, a photographer who complained about the heat. Ruise laughed at that.
Staying positive, he said, is also learned over time.
Supervising editor is Raymond Howze.