Former Manatee standout Derrick Calloway to showcase leaner look at Saturday's USF practice

Taggart's Bulls practice Saturday at Manatee High

adell@bradenton.comMarch 8, 2014 

Miami South Florida Football

South Florida head coach Willie Taggart watches from the sideline during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Miami Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. Miami won the game 49-21. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

CHRIS O'MEARA — AP

BRADENTON -- Derrick Calloway has something to show his family and friends.

While nearly every player on the USF football team has gotten bigger, Calloway has lost weight as he prepares for his sophomore season.

It's a reason the defensive tackle is looking forward to working out with USF teammates Saturday when they practice at Manatee High's Hawkins Stadium.

Calloway was a standout defensive lineman for the Hurricanes. He is what you might call smaller now, but a lot stronger and quicker a foot.

The Bulls starting offensive line has gained an average of 13 pounds per man, and the defensive front four is bigger. Calloway went the other way.

"I lost weight. I need to do that," said Calloway, now 6-foot-2 and 295 pounds.

"Last year, I was about 320 pounds and I couldn't move the way I wanted. I would say I was not in good shape, and it affected my play."

The best part for Calloway is that he is stronger. He added a lot of weight to his squat, and his bench press went up significantly.

"Now I am benching about 360 pounds, and my squat is 455 pounds," Calloway said. "Last year, I wasn't near any of those numbers. I need to lose weight to play my position well. I am in the best shape that I have been in for a long time, maybe ever, and I feel comfortable playing at this weight."

It must have provided a beneficial effect because Calloway said he is working with the first team defensive line at tackle. He played in six games last year and averaged about five snaps.

USF head coach Willie Taggart, who also made a name for himself when he played at Manatee, has been singing the more-mobile Calloway's praises.

"Derrick is moving around pretty good. He is one of the more athletic defensive tackles we have right now," Taggart said. "He is playing with the ones (first team). But we have a moving depth chart that changes all the time."

Like most of the USF players, Calloway sees a dramatic change from last year's team, which suffered through a 2-10 season with an anemic offense that ranked in the bottom of nearly every category nationally.

While Calloway has improved because of lost weight, three-year starting center Austin Reiter from Lakewood Ranch is better because of 13 pounds he added that has made him much stronger.

"Our goal is to be one of the best-conditioned teams in the country and be ready to play six quarters," Taggart said. "Austin has really looked good with his added weight. He is stronger and able to gain more leverage."

The defensive line was the Bulls' best unit last year, but five of the key players are gone. Calloway said the unit has great potential, but it lacks experience.

"Our offense has come a long way since last year and gotten better," Calloway said. "Our defense is young, but we are learning and we are all coming together. We are changing our ways about how we think about things. There is a different mindset from last year, and it is a positive. In practice, I see a big change."

Calloway is doing everything he can to assure a big turnout for the Bulls practice, which is set to start around 2:50 p.m. and last until about 5 p.m. It will feature some controlled scrimmage situations.

"I called all my homeboys and my family, and I expect a lot of people. It means a lot to go back there. I am going to enjoy the time," Calloway said. "It was a little bit of surprise when I heard we were going there to practice, but coming from Coach T you can never tell what he is going to do."

Taggart added, "We expect all of Manatee County to be there. It will be exciting. We are going to practice situations and we might go live on some plays."

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