Marcus Hall is Lighter, Leaner, "Better Times Ten"
By Tony Gerdeman
Photo by John Porentas
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Marcus Hall's career at Ohio State has featured a few ups and downs. Things started well enough for him, as he played in nine games as a freshman, starting once (against Iowa). However, he then took a redshirt year in 2010 to concentrate on academics, which should give you some idea of the state that they were in at the time.
He then started the first five games of the 2011 season at right guard while the offensive line shuffled around in Mike Adams' absence, and then he started all 12 games for the Buckeyes last season, playing in 827 of the offense's 837 snaps from scrimmage (98.8%).
He played well enough as a redshirt sophomore in 2011, but last season was his best yet, as he and his fellow linemates paved road after road for the Buckeye running game.
Now, he is entering his senior season as a veteran, and is expecting to play his best football yet. If the shape that he is in right now is any indication, those expectations should be readily met.
"I feel so good right now, that I'd say this is my ideal," Hall said of his weight, which currently stands at 308 pounds. "305 to 310. I just want to stay under 310. I just feel like I can move a lot more and I just feel comfortable at this weight."
In the past, Hall has been listed at 321 pounds, but now with his improved ability to move, everything is coming easier for him. And if it's coming easier for him, then it will come easier for the offense as well.
Last season, Hall was the only starter on the Ohio State offensive line not to receive any postseason recognition from the Big Ten. That may change this season, however, as offensive line coach Ed Warinner called him the most improved of the linemen earlier this spring.
That improvement, it seems, is apparent in many facets.
"He's leaner, a lower body fat, higher muscle," Warinner explained. "He looks quicker. His improvement has come physically too."
"I feel like everything is better times ten," Hall said. "I run block better. I pull faster. I'm stronger. I just feel like I'm more of a complete player."
There has to be some poetic irony that a player becomes complete only after losing large portions of himself.
"I visited Coach Mick's office to thank him for making me lighter and more in shape," Hall said, admiring his new image. "I definitely get a couple of looks [at myself] in the mirror. I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't."
This is the best shape that Hall has been in since he's been at Ohio State, and it's better than he has felt in a very long time. How long, you ask?
"Man, probably high school," he laughed. "When I was really young. From high school on, it was just gain and gain and gain. And now I'm trying to decrease that. From last year to this year, it's less and less."
Both Warinner and Hall are seeing the improvements on the field, and they are legitimate. However, there is one very distinct downside to Hall's new look.
"I had to yell at him today to get a belt on his pants because they were falling off already," Warinner said. "I didn't really want to see what you see when his pants fall down, so I was like, 'Get a belt on, man!'
With 18 career starts under his non-existent belt, Hall has one final season to play his absolute best football. This coming season will be his final audition for the NFL. If he continues his progression from his freshman season to his final season, he could very well have a career in this sport for quite a long time.
While his own future is certainly on his mind, it's his team's present that he is most concerned about.
"We all have to have a big season," he said. "We have team goals. My goals will come second to that."
Even though Hall would physically appear to be the incredible shrinking man, it's his attitude towards his team's goals which shows just how much he has truly grown.
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