MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

August 6, 2013

Sooners’ lineman adds beef for new position

By John Shinn
CNHI News Service

— NORMAN – Oklahoma defensive lineman Chuka Ndulue knew what his next task was following Tuesday’s practice. He had to go eat. The lunch was one of six he eats during the day.

The goal is to turn the former 250-pound junior defensive end into a 300-pound senior tackle. He’s a little past the halfway point at 280 pounds, but it isn’t a process that takes place overnight.

“During the spring it was pretty difficult because we still had practice and work outs and all of that,” Ndulue said. “Eating, I’d gain five pounds today, lose it tomorrow and all that. But as soon as the spring was over and it was summer workouts, all I had was workouts then go home and eat.”

Those six meals he chomps through each day are loaded with protein. During the summer, Ndulue estimated he lived at Chipolte when he wasn’t working out. The restaurant’s chicken fajitas suited his diet perfectly.

Ndulue admitted he felt a little chunky at his current size, but the plan is for him to be a quick tackle with the bulk to handle double-team blocks.

“Inside, I feel quick,” he said. “I don’t play defensive end anymore but inside, the O-linemen especially are like, ‘You’re too quick to be down here,’ so I like that.”

The biggest issue will come in a few weeks when Ndulue sees his mother for the first time in four months. He doesn’t know what her reaction will be when she sees her has put on so much weight.

Ideally, Ndulue would like to weigh close to 300 pounds by the time the season begins.

“I don’t know where it’s going to fit but they know what they’re doing,” he said.

Sooner coach Bob Stoops said after Tuesday’s practice that sophomore Mike Onuoha is not practicing due to a shoulder injury he suffered in the spring.

“We’re excited about Michael. He had his surgery in the spring. We’re optimistic we’ll get him back after the third game or so,” Stoops said. “There’s a long year to play. If something happens to some other guys, then he’s back in the mix early to the middle of the year and he’s ready to help again.”

Onuoha, who came to OU last season from Edmond Santa Fe, played in four games as a freshman making four tackles.

That leaves OU without two young defensive ends as OU nears the end of a full week of preseason practices.

Stoops announced on Monday that freshman D.J. Ward was out indefinitely due to a “spleen issue.”

However, the coach did say the general health of the team has been good thus far.

“There’s nothing other than a guy nicked here and there that misses a day,” Stoops said. “Nothing really to speak of.”

– John Shinn is a sports writer for the Norman Transcript