Here’s how Xavier Su’a-Filo is bulking up: three to four cups of whey protein dissolved in a shake, three to four times a day.
“I just continue to put down that protein like it’s nobody’s business,” he said. “It’s hard. You ever try to eat that much protein?”
The rising junior, already an All-Pac-12 first team selection last year, will enter the fall as arguably the conference’s top lineman. Capable of playing both guard and tackle, head coach Jim Mora called him “a rare football player.”
He’s accomplished this despite not being at peak strength as a sophomore, having spent two years on a Mormon mission in Alabama and Florida. The Pleasant Grove, Utah, native said that although he hasn’t gained much weight — up from 307 pounds to 310 — he feels significantly better after a winter workout program with strength coach Sal Alosi.
As a result, he’s caught less flack from his teammates too.
“There’s a lot of strong guys on our offensive line,” Su’a-Filo said. “They’ve noticed I’ve gotten stronger in the weight room so they don’t give me so much of a hard time. (Last year), they just didn’t understand how I could play and move out here, but in the weight room, they’re like ‘C’mon, man.’”
He’s also focusing on the nuances of his position as well. The 6-foot-3 lineman said he has a bad habit of “hopping around,” something offensive line coach Adrian Klemm has pointed out to him.
“Being deliberate with my footwork,” Su’a-Filo said. “Really working on staying square when I punch, whether I’m at guard or tackle. Those first few steps, flying off the ball, rolling my hips with it. Little stuff, but stuff that goes a long way.”