Roman Sapolu drove a defensive tackle off the line of scrimmage in a recent practice.
Sapolu kept driving until he had knocked the defender to the turf.
Sapolu, a redshirt junior center, was showing his new-found strength.
“I feel like I’ve had a good showing in camp,” Sapolu said. “I feel like our weight trainers did a good job of getting me ready during the summer and pushing me so I can become a better person.”
Sapolu has stayed about the same weight — he’s listed at 284 — but added muscle.
He was tired of getting pushed back.
“I wasn’t as strong. I was more sloppy,” he said.
“I feel like I can just play football now and just compete out there. Not overcompensate for being less up to par than other people.”
Sapolu is getting work at center and guard for the Beavers.
That versatility could come in handy down the road.
“I think it’s huge,” Sapolu said. “We had a guy last year, Derek Nielsen, who played all three spots. I can’t really play tackle, but I feel like I can play the inside positions.”
Sapolu’s father, Jesse, also played center and guard. He wound up with several Super Bowl rings with the San Francisco 49ers.
They talk every night.
“He watches some film with me, to see what I can work on, what I should do for the next practice,” Sapolu said. “It helps to have somebody like that.”