By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
June 17, 2008
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – If any of you have a few spare pounds you would like to throw Scooter Berry’s way he will gladly take them. The one-time fullback says he is still trying to pack on a few extra pounds before the start of fall football camp in August.
“One of my goals for this season is to maintain weight,” Berry said. “Last season I started really light and I kind of got tossed around a little bit. Toward the end of the season I put on some good weight and I was all right. I think if I can maintain this weight this year and get a little faster I will be all right.”
Berry says his ideal weight is about 285 pounds.
“Last year I started the season at 267 and I finished at 285,” he explained. “Toward the end of the season I was at the top of my game so that’s a pretty good weight for me. Right now I’m 283 and trying to maintain right around there.”
Berry had 27 total tackles as a backup defensive lineman in 2007, including a sack and four tackles for losses. He had a season-high six tackles, a tackle for a loss and a pass breakup against Louisville. Berry also had three tackles and a pair of tackles for losses in the Marshall victory.
Two years ago, Berry was named the program’s scout team player of the year after moving from fullback to defensive line.
Berry came to West Virginia as part of a package deal that included half-brother Jason Gwaltney. Used mostly as a blocking fullback to open holes for his brother, Berry also accumulated 1,341 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns during his high school career at North Babylon High School in Long Island, N.Y. In addition, Berry earned all-Long Island honors on defense as a linebacker where he logged 68 tackles and seven sacks as a senior.
Now Berry and fellow sophomore Chris Nield are being asked to anchor a young and inexperienced defensive line in 2008.
“We know we both have to step up and play a major role but we do have some experienced guys like Doug Slavonic and Zac Cooper,” Berry said. “The young guys are learning from us and I think when the season starts they will be ready to play some.”
Summertime is especially important for this group of defensive linemen. Most of them are being targeted by new Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Joseph for weight gain. Berry said he’s making progress in the new strength and conditioning program.
“There have been changes in summer conditioning and they are changes for the better,” Berry said. “I’m not trying to knock anybody but last summer a lot of guys got hurt during the off-season. Mike Joseph is a really good guy and I commend him. A lot of the stuff we do is football-related and it’s going to help us a lot.”
The vast majority of the gains players make in strength and weight occur during the summertime. Consequently, Berry has to remain focused and continue to work hard right up through August.
“We work really hard during the summer and then during the season you don’t work out as much,” Berry explained. “Toward the middle of the season my legs started losing power a little bit and it started hurting my game. This season I’m going to go all-out all season and work out to try and maintain it for all 12 games.”
Berry admits he’s still getting used to playing for gravel-voiced defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich.
“Coach Kirlav is tough love,” he said. “Even if you’re doing well he’s not going to tell you. He’s going to criticize you no matter what but he’s going to make you a better player.”
Football is a man’s game and Berry said you definitely have to be a man to play for Bill Kirelawich.
“You’ll see Coach Kirlav very relaxed and serious in a one-on-one conversation. If he’s really trying to get a point across he will talk to you like a regular person,” Berry said. “He has his own way of coaching and you have to be able to adapt. If you’re a very sensitive guy you won’t work well with him. His line is put your feelings in your pocket. If you can do that you will be all right.”
Berry said he won’t clue in the freshmen on what to expect when they arrive later this summer. He said no one pulled him aside to tip him off.
“They’ve got to learn that on their own,” he laughed. “That’s an experience that you definitely don’t want to spoil.”
According to WVU Sports Marketing Director Matt Wells, there is a possibility that a limit number of season tickets will be made available to the general public in mid-July after new MAC requests are filled.
Any available single-game tickets will be based on the number of tickets returned by visiting teams. Those sales will begin in mid-August.
What is the face of West Virginia’s program? Is it linebacker Sam Huff? Is it quarterback Major Harris or Coach Don Nehlen? Is it Pat White? Or is it perhaps the Mountaineer – the very symbol of our University and great state?
It will be very interesting to see what the majority of you picked.
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