Lowe has high expectations
Tackle working through injury, adjusting to new position Posted on 08/09/2012 by PonyFans.com
Stavion Lowe is making up for lost time.
When the former LSU offensive lineman arrived (by way of junior college) at SMU over the summer, many assumed he would step in to the Mustangs’ starting lineup immediately, and less than a week in to preseason camp, he has done just that.
|Offensive tackle Stavion Lowe has lost 23 pounds since arriving at SMU in early July (photo by PonyFans.com).
But his adjustment to his new team and new offense has been slowed while he works his way back to full health. When he began his offseason conditioning program with his new team, Lowe strained his left hamstring while running hills.
“I felt two different pulls on my back stride when we were running up the hill,” Lowe said. “It got me pretty good. I still worked out, but I wasn’t running. I still lifted weights with my upper body, and I was on the elliptical machine three times a day, sometimes four or five times a day.”
The work has begun to pay off, as Lowe has made significant progress in his effort to drop some weight before the season starts.
“When I got here, I was about 354,” he said. “(Wednesday) morning, I weighed in at 331. (Head) Coach (June) Jones and (offensive line) Coach (Bob) Palcic said they want me to get to about 320. Me … I want to get down to 315 or maybe even 310 by the end of the season.”
In addition to his trimmed physique, Lowe also has had to adjust to a change of position, as Palcic has moved him from left tackle to the right side.
“It’s different, but it’s good, I think,” Lowe said. “Eventually in my career, I’m sure I’ll have to play both sides. Learning to play either spot will just make me a better player.”
The transition goes beyond which end of the line Lowe blocks; he also is getting used to starting plays in a stand-up position, rather than with his hand on the ground.
“I’m used to playing on the left side in a three-point stance,” he said. “I hadn’t really played in a two-point (stance) much before I got here. But I think it will help my leg heal, too. On the left side, I have my left leg back, and that pulls at the back of my leg a little, because of the way it’s flexed back at the start of the play. Moving to the right, that stretch is on my right (healthy) leg. Playing there is going to let it heal faster, and now that I’m shifting my feet to get in the opposite stance, (playing on the right side) is starting to get natural for me.”
Lowe admitted that he wanted to play on the left side, which is considered the marquee position on many offensive lines, and asked Palcic what he had to do in order to compete for the spot.
“Coach said we had a big need at right tackle, and he thought I could really help the team there,” Lowe said. “I’m willing to learn multiple positions, because like I said, it will help us win games and make me a better player.
“The type of guys linemen are, we naturally bond together pretty naturally. We have a lot guys who can play multiple positions, which makes us a much deeper group than it might seem.”
The transitions have been numerous for Lowe, and extend beyond the position change and the need to adapt to blocking out of a two-point stance.
“In high school and at LSU, I was used to quarterbacks who did a lot of straight drop-backs,” he said. “Here, we do a lot more sprint-outs, so that means we (the linemen) have to do a lot more lateral movement. It takes some getting used to, but I’m picking that up, and when my leg is better, I’ll be better at it.”
Lowe said he still feels some discomfort at times in his hamstring, but said the worst of the injury is behind him. If the Mustangs’ season opener at Baylor were to be played today, he said he would be able to play.
“The trainers here do a great job getting me ready every day for practice,” he said, “and they’ll have me ready to go for Baylor.”
As the Mustangs’ offensive line starts to take shape for the 2012 season, Lowe said he is impressed with Palcic. Not only is the Ponies’ new offensive line coach preparing the line to work together to protect quarterback Garrett Gilbert and to open running lanes for running back Zach Line, but he also is demanding top performances from the backups who must be ready to step in this year in case of injury, and to take over starting roles in the years to come.
“The freshmen are some big guys — they’re tall and athletic,” Lowe said. “There are some guys there who are going to be really good players.
“And Coach (Palcic) — all he does is teach. He’s going to make sure we do everything right. I’ve never seen a coach pay so much attention to detail and stay after guys to do things right like he does. He’s exactly the same for the third-stringers as he is for the first team. That’s the right way to do it, too, because when he calls on you, you have to be ready to go in and handle your business.”