ANN ARBOR -- Craig Roh isn't necessarily a gourmand. Given he's a 6-foot-5, 281-pound defensive lineman, it doesn't mean he eats like a bird, either.
But in preparation for the 2012 season, Roh was reminded the importance of an old adage: you are what you eat.
Roh will switch from weak-side defensive end to strong-side defensive end this season. But Roh also had to make another change. He had to become bigger and stronger in order to defend on the opposite side of the defensive line, which meant putting on about 20 pounds, but without sacrificing quickness, agility, or endurance. That meant overhauling his diet.
As a 238-pound freshman, he saw the immediate benefit of eating properly as an athlete.
"When you come in from high school, as a freshman in college, you kind of eat whatever," said Roh, a senior who had 32 tackles and four sacks in 13 games last season. "Then you get to college and you see how good everyone is and then you decide to make the sacrifices outside of, it's just a game of football.
"The diet is just so important, for recovery and for being healthy."
In order gain muscle and lose fat to make a positional transition prior to his senior season, Roh switched to a blood type diet. Designed by Peter Adamo, a naturopathic physician, and chronicled in the book "Eat Right For Your Type," the regimen matches specific foods, such as proteins or grains or minimizes the intake of dairy products, with an individual's blood type.
Roh did not specify what his blood type, but explained the effects of changing his eating regimen.
"It's where certain foods might cause inflammation and other things don't," Roh said. "Certain foods, you think they might be good for you, but they cause inflammation. Certain foods can help decrease inflammation in your body so that you can recover faster, gain more muscle and be relatively healthy."
He didn't give up Chipotle, but asked his burrito builders to hold the tortilla and sour cream.
He opted for almond milk and embraced the idea of ingesting olive oil -- though typically adding it to a protein shake.
"You really don't taste it that much," Roh said of the olive oil in a shake.
But meat and vegetables became the main components of Roh's diet. "I like steak," Roh said. "I can stand to eat that."
When he had dinner with offensive lineman Erik Gunderson, he found out Gunderson's specialty.
"Erik Gunderson cooks the best steak I've ever tasted," Roh said. "And you can write that down."
Michigan coach Brady Hoke commented on Roh's weight gain, as well as that of Jibreel Black, who went from 258 at the start of last season to 279 in order to move to defensive tackle.
"Those are pretty quick-twitch guys, and that is going to help them," Hoke said. "They're both athletic guys. Both of them are doing real well."
In switching to the strong side, Roh acknowledged the daily learning curve. Has offensive lineman Patrick Omameh seen Roh grow more comfortable at the new position?
"He's the kind of guy that, wherever they ask him to play, he'll play," Omameh said. "He knows the expectations that come with that position."
In his second season playing under defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, Roh also cites his maturity as a factor in his ability to make the transition on the line. Last year, he didn't understand why Mattison singled him out during practices.
The needling, ultimately, was for good reason. It didn't just benefit Roh's growth as a player, but as an integral part of the Wolverines' defense.
"At this camp, I know the expectations, and I'm working every day to meet those expectations," Roh said.
DELVERNE FAMILY BENEFIT: Whiteford Valley Golf Club in Ottawa Lake, Mich., will host the Colt Classic golf tournament at 10 a.m. Sept. 15. The tournament is being held as a fund-raiser for the son of former Michigan placekicker Jeff DelVerne. Colt DelVerne is undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment after he was diagnosed in June with a brain tumor.
For more information or to register for the tournament, contact Jeremy Miller at 419-450-6854.
Contact Rachel Lenzi at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6510 or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.
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