Alex Norman Q&A
The big DT used to be bigger, but he's better now
Truth is, the Longhorns probably would never have offered Alex Norman had he not physically transformed himself from the 330-pound freshman he once was at Dallas Bishop Dunne.
He was weaker than most everyone on his team and didn't have the lung capacity, or the burst, to be effective as a defensive lineman. He was, in essence, just eating up space.
But that all changed after his freshman season when he became devoted to the weight room and limited himself to only eating his grandmother's home-cooked meals.
Now the 280-pound Norman (who was once 270) will head to Texas with a chance to follow his grandfather, Pettis Norman, to the NFL.
More on Norman
Carter Strickland: First Texas has to figure out where to put Norman. He could play on either side of the line at tackle. When confronted with a player who could go either way the typically M.O. is to redshirt him and see where he fits best. But that is also a very good way to let a player slip through the cracks. Players who do not have a defined role when they enter their first year usually have a harder time than those who do at making an impact on the team in the future. Of course there are always exceptions.
Right now Texas likes Norman on the defensive side of the ball. He is undoubtedly headed for a redshirt at that position. Of course he would be headed for a redshirt on the offensive side of the ball as well.
The tackle spots -- on either side of the ball -- are just two positions where Texas has depth.
Again the imperative thing with Norman is to quickly figure out which side of the ball he is best suited and allow him to get a year of practice experience.
Mack Brown's take:
Alex Norman, another defensive tackle from Bishop Dunne. He is nearly 300 pounds. His granddad, Pettis, was a tight end for the Cowboys. Very quick, good first step. He was also in the Under Armor All-American game in Orlando. He plays offensive tackle as well. Right now, we are looking at him on defense. But he could play offense.
HornsNation: You really transformed yourself physically over the course of your high school career, dropping 60 pounds. Why did you feel like that was something you needed to do?
Alex Norman: I wasn't fast, quick or explosive off the ball as I am now. My coach stressed that too me every day that I needed to work on my explosion and needed to bring my weight down. Getting my weight down made me stronger physically and even mentally because I look at my body and feel better about it. I did my thing.
HN: What steps did you take to cut that weight and how hard of a process has it been?
AN: Just working everyday, everyday. No breaks because once you take a break you aren't going to want to go out there again. So it had to be every day. I worked with my coach doing wind sprints and different drills with him to get quicker.
HN: Has the routine of eating healthy and living in the weight room become easier for you, or is it still hard to, say, pass up a fast food joint and not put that extra time in with your workouts?
AN: It's definitely gotten easier. It was real tough at first but it has gotten easier the more I did it and the better I started playing it got way easier. When I pass McDonald's it's like whatever, I'm going home to a nice cooked meal. That's good.
HN: You live with your grandparents and eat some great home-cooked meals by your grandmother. How are you going to maintain your healthy eating habits in college?
AN: I'm going to take what my grandmother has taught me. She's taught me a lot of quick meals that I can make that are good for you. I'm definitely going to take that to Texas and watch my diet and calories. I know the coaches are going to help me out too.
HN: How good of a cook are you?
AN: I'm really good. Really good.
HN: Even though you were 330 pounds as a freshman you've told me that you were one of the weaker guys on the team at the time. How weak are you talking?
AN: I got 135 on the bench press one time. I was squatting 315, which was just not good. To be that size was just terrible. It was embarrassing because everyone thought I was going to go into the weight room and be a beast and I got in there and couldn't even bench what the running backs and defensive backs were benching.
HN: Now what are your max reps in the weight room? How strong are you now?
AN: I squat 605 and bench press 335.
HN: Your grandfather had a very successful career in the NFL and has been influential in your football career. But he's been even more influential in your everyday life and is viewed of as almost a father to you, right?
AN: He's been really important. He's been the only real father figure in my life. To have him there, he tells me all the time what I don't need to be doing and what I do need to be doing. He really helped me. I don't think I'd be where I am now if it weren't for him.
HN: How has he helped you in your football career and what has he told you about what to expect at Texas?
AN: He has definitely helped me with a lot of things. He told me that he went to a small college and made it to the Cowboys and everything where guys were from bigger colleges. Sort of like me, I am coming from a smaller high school and my teammates are coming from big 5A schools. He just said that if I go 150 percent every play that man is going to give up. I am never going to quit, no matter how big he was. It's all about the heart. That's what I took from him.
HN: You've been very adamant in the past about wanting to play right away at Texas. Do you still feel that way as you near the beginning of your Longhorns career?
AN: I always want to play right away. If the coaches don't think I should be playing right away then that's what I'll do.
HN: Defensive tackle is one of the deepest positions at Texas. There are several standouts already there and then some really good ones coming in with you, Malcom Brown and Paul Boyette. What is your mindset going to be going into fall camp as you try and earn playing time?
AN: I have to show them what I can do and give 110 percent. I want to go in there and get it like a dog. Just go in there and get it.
HN: You played in the Under Armour All-America Game with Brown. Were you two able to form any type of relationship and how would you describe Brown as a football player?
AN: Yeah we slept in the same room and everything. He's a really cool dude and a good defensive tackle. We are really good.
HN: What most excites you about getting to Austin and beginning your career as a Longhorn?
AN: Just being a Longhorn itself is crazy. That's a dream come true for a lot of kids. It's happening to me right now. To be able to play football at a level like that is crazy. I love it. That's what I am excited about.
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