PULLMAN – So you take some peanut butter, Logan Mayes said, and some Ensure, some protein powder, some yogurt, some Carnation instant breakfast and a little bit of milk.
And for some reason – a good reason, as it turns out – Mayes mixes all of these things together in a blender. Then he drinks.
“Then you have a nice fluid shake that you can just kind of sip on over the next two hours,” Mayes said Wednesday after Washington State’s seventh practice of training camp. “And that’ll get you about 2,000 calories and you’ll be well on your way to what your goal is for a day.”
Mayes, by the way, has gained roughly 30 pounds since the end of last season, up to about 245 from the 215 he weighed in November, he says.
“I really gained a lot of the weight over Christmas break and over the winter, so that’s when I really noticed that I felt stronger,” Mayes said. “I looked bigger in pictures and I was able to get more physical and beat into guys.”
“He’s toned up more,” said outside linebackers coach Paul Volero, who coaches Mayes at the hybrid “buck” position. “Coach (Jason) Loscalzo does a great job in that weight room and from when we got here mid-December till now, it’s been a big improvement.”
And a necessary one. Mayes, a sophomore, was used primarily in pass-rushing situations last season as a true freshman. But he thinks he’d have played more had he been bigger, so he set out to add weight to his 6-foot-3 frame in to better defend the run.
Which, he figures, will help get him on the field more often.
A nutrition nut to begin with, Mayes upped his calorie count. Instead of loading up his plate at the Cougar Fitness Café, he consumed more liquids, which are easier to digest (hence the blended concoction). He continued regular workouts in the weight room. He slept for 10 hours every night, something he concedes is impossible during camp with meetings ending at 10 p.m. before a 7 a.m. alarm.
“Some people say, ‘I can’t gain weight,’ and all this stuff, then they have the separate issue of managing their time,” Mayes said. “Really, the two are cross-connected. You have to manage your time so you can get to bed on time and get your proper rest and recovery, and then your body can rebuild.”
Mayes was moved to defensive end last season, but the new coaching staff has him playing the “buck” position – technically an outside linebacker in the 3-4 alignment, a player with pass-rushing and coverage duties who could also line up with his hand on the ground – which is similar to the role Mayes played at Marist High School in Eugene, Ore.
A strong spring culminated in an even stronger showing in the Crimson and Gray game. Mayes recorded 4 1/2 sacks that day, getting to the quarterback more than any other Cougars defender.
On the surface, it seems it might be difficult for Mayes to get on the field due to the fact that he’s playing behind senior Travis Long, the Cougars’ most experienced and valuable defensive player.
The way Mayes sees it, though, “Coach Volero always says that really, because me and Travis performed well down the stretch, that he really doesn’t see me as a No. 2. I’m kind of a 1 with him, and there’s really no drop-off in how we both perform.”
It’s possible, of course, that WSU could use both Mayes and Long at the same time, though Mayes said that’s something they’ve only discussed on a very preliminary level. Those decisions won’t be made until game week.
“We’ve looked at all kind of different scenarios,” Volero said. “Right now we’re just implementing different things and taking a look at different things, and the closer we get we’ll evaluate what works and what doesn’t work, and we’ll see tomorrow.
“He’s a smart kid and he picks up on things quickly. He’s very stubborn when it comes to learning how to do something, so he’s going to find a way.”