UB Bulls football players discuss eating habits during season

Food for thought


  The standard daily caloric intake for a male is 2,640 per day, according to the U.S Department of Agriculture.

That number rarely applies for the average Division-I football player.

At UB and programs around the country, most players spend a solid portion of their day in the weight room or on the practice field for hours on end. With a tiresome workload, food is essential to success. Some football players usually eat nearly twice the amount of the average male on a given day, but it’s justified to appease for success.

Senior offensive tackle Robert Blodgett, who is 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds, accepts he has to consume the most food he can in any given day in order to keep him in lineman shape. The senior consumes roughly 5-6,000 calories per day over three meals and a couple snacks.

But he makes it a point to stay health-conscious – just on a larger scale.

“I’m kind of health-conscious about [eating unhealthy], especially as a big guy that needs to keep on a lot of muscle,” Blodgett said. “I eat a lot of protein. A lot of lean meats.”

He systematically begins his day with a big breakfast of oatmeal, eggs and simple sugars like yogurt. And he’s not the only player who begins his day like that. Junior cornerback Boise Ross begins his day in similar fashion – eggs, bacon and cereal to start off.

But Ross is an anomaly.

He’s just 185 pounds, but consumes as many calories as Blodgett. The junior takes in around 4,000 calories per day, spread out between three meals per day. But he says he could get away with his excessive consumption.

“I burn it off a lot during practice,” Ross said. “I play defensive back, so running around for us is the normal for us and it burns all of the calories we eat.”

Senior quarterback Joe Licata, unlike Ross, keeps to a respectable 2,500 calories per day. The senior doesn’t have a meal plan because he lives off campus and is administered scholarship checks to buy food from a grocery store.

Licata takes advantage of cooking his own meals, especially during the season. He usually eats small before practice, which usually consists of chicken and rice or a sandwich. And like Blodgett, he’s health conscious.

When he cooks, he sticks to lean meats such as turkey, salmon and chicken to stay energized. He got into the habit after being diagnosed with a hip injury that kept him out for most of the offseason this past year. He needed to stay in shape and his diet was his main concentration because of his inability to do proper workouts.

While Licata seems to count calories and watch what he eats, senior wide receiver Marcus McGill’s eating habits are quite different.

McGill doesn’t count calories. He never has. He gets all of his meals from the Student Union, which has a limited offering of healthy food. But he’s in phenomenal shape, quite possibly one of the best on the team.

“I have no idea how to measure calories. I just kind of eat,” McGill said. “Since I’m trying to maintain the weight I’m at now, I typically try to burn and eat around the same calories. Keep it simple.”

It’s not easy sustaining a balanced diet during a practice week given the physically demanding workload. But leading up to the game is a different story.

The Bulls stay in a hotel the night before both home and away games and the hotels offer a buffet full of protein, carbohydrates and vegetables to get ready for the next day’s game. Players have different routines with this meal. Most players, including junior running back Jordan Johnson and senior linebacker Nick Gilbo, take advantage of the carb-filled spread to get ready.

But hours leading up to the kickoff, the eating frenzy calms down. Gilbo limits himself to a small portion of meat and a baked potato. Johnson usually grabs a small plate of fruit. Blodgett drinks a lot of water and Gatorade to stay hydrated.

McGill can’t even stomach the thought of food on game day.

“The day of the game, I usually don’t eat,” McGill said. “I will throw up everywhere … I usually just eat a couple pieces of fruit and some Gatorade to stay hydrated, but as far as actual eating, I can’t do it. The anxiety will make me throw up on the sidelines.”

Although players carefully select their next meal, there are some foods that these players can’t go a couple weeks without. Ross said his vice is macaroni and cheese, a meal he grew up on. Gilbo, Johnson and McGill can’t go long without Buffalo’s famous chicken wings. Licata needs his weekly fix of his mother’s homemade tomato sauce.

“I burn that off when I’m in practice,” Ross said. “I don’t eat too much of it. I eat it during the times when I could eat bad.”

Jordan Grossman is the co-Senior Sports Editor and can be reached at jordan.grossman@ubspectrum.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jordanmgrossman