After last November’s devastating Grey Cup loss, offensive line coach Allen Rudolph went on a food bender.
“I spent a week blowing it out: drinking every coke I could drink, eating every carb I could eat,” Rudolph said. “Pasta, pizza, cheese on everything, bacon everything — anything I could have that was bad.
“Then I got after it.”
In the six-plus months since, using a combination of diet and exercise, Rudolph has lost an astonishing 81 pounds. He isn’t quite half the man he used to be but almost a third has gone missing.
“I was tired a lot, my knees were hurting, my hips were hurting and I knew I was carrying too much weight,” he said Wednesday. “I felt like I could improve myself which would help improve this team and this organization.”
He started by eliminating most simple carbohydrates from his diet: no more white bread and pasta, no more pizza. He stopped drinking Coke, his go-to drink of choice for both the sugar and caffeine boost it gave him during those long nights in the film room. And he began a fitness regimen, starting with simple stretching and light weight training.
“At first, I could only do five or six pushups. I was hurting and my belly was hitting a lot earlier than my chest,” he said. “Slowly, it got easier.”
A Mississippi native who now lives in Hamilton year-round, Rudolph started hitting the weight room and walking on the treadmill at the Ticat offices at One Jarvis Street. Then he started running. He weighed himself one day a week and allowed himself one cheat meal a month — not a cheat day, just one meal.
“I love fried chicken and I went to a restaurant and apparently it had been under the heat lamps for awhile and it wasn’t very good,” he said, laughing. “I was so upset. There’s nothing worse than a wasted cheat meal.”
The 44-year-old did not lack for motivation. He has two daughters at home and felt that his poor health was affecting his ability to spend quality time with them, particularly after a long day of coaching. He was just too tired. And it was affecting his work.
“There were times when I felt that I wasn’t as sharp as I needed to be. I was doing a good job but I felt like that if I wasn’t hurting I could be doing a better job,” he said.
Rudolph also recognizes that it was unfair for him to demand commitment and discipline from his players while not demonstrating any of his own.
“I’m asking our guys to run from this end of the field to that end of the field, and last year my fat butt walked,” he said. “Now, I want to lead our group from drill to drill.”
In the next couple of weeks Rudolph expects to hit the goal weight he set for himself way back in December and he knows exactly how he’s going celebrate: fried chicken, pizza and Coke.
“When I hit 200 I’m going to have another blowout, but just for a day,” he said. “I feel awesome.”
Notes: Ticats head coach Kent Austin said the team is still auditioning players for the corner spot vacated by Delvin Breaux, who is now with the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. Among the contenders: Emanuel Davis, Ed Gainey and Brandon Stewart. “Right now, we’re not sure who it is,” Austin said. “Veterans have the advantage right now because they understand schematically what we’re asking them to do.” … CFL officials were at training camp again Wednesday, and receiver Bakari Grant was flagged for offensive pass interference during a one-on-one drill. “They won’t call that in a game,” he protested. Austin disagreed. “Well, Bakari’s wrong and I’ll make sure he gets corrected,” he said afterward. “The rule cuts both ways. The language specifically says the exact same thing for offensive players.” … Good battle developing at the offensive tackle spot between Brian Simmons, Jake Olson and Joel Figueroa, with Jeremy Lewis in the mix, as well … Former Ticats and Argos linebacker (and current University of Toronto defensive co-ordinator) Kevin Eiben was at camp … running back Mossis Madu missed practice due to injury.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are suddenly, improbably, thin at Canadian defensive tackle.
Veteran Brian Bulcke suffered an apparent left knee injury during one-on-one drills halfway through Wednesday’s training camp session at McMaster University. He spent the rest of practice on the trainer’s table with a bag of ice on his left knee and limped off the field wearing a brace.
Head coach Kent Austin said he didn’t have an immediate update on the severity of the injury, but expressed concern for a well-liked player who suffered a torn bicep last September and missed the second half of the 2014 season.
“We hope it’s not serious for Brian,” Austin said. “He’s worked so hard to come back and he’s one of our leaders.”
While the Ticats still have all-star Ted Laurent, the team has suffered a rash of injuries and now finds itself with little depth there, at least for now. Linden Gaydosh tore his Achilles in the off-season and is done for the year, Michael Atkinson missed Wednesday’s session and is coming off back-to-back knee surgeries while both Hasan Hazime and Evan Gill are rehabbing injuries of their own and aren’t practising.