August 5, 2006

Doughty losing weight, feeling great

There's a little less of Stanley Doughty these days.

Problem is, Steve Spurrier wants a lot less.

Doughty's weight was one of the prime topics of conversation at USC's Media Day Friday at the Charles F. Crews Football Facility at Williams-Brice Stadium.

The updated roster provided to the media yesterday stated that Doughty, a junior nose tackle, weighed 331 pounds, approximately the same figure before the summer conditioning program commenced in early June.

Not true, the fun-loving Louisianan said just over 24 hours before the start of fall camp.

Doughty insisted he actually weighed around 315 pounds, which would put him halfway to meeting Steve Spurrier's ultimatum that the Greenburg, La. native drop 30 pounds before the start of the season or spend the 2006 season watching from the sidelines.

Doughty insists he will reach the target, and says that the fact he did well in the recent conditioning tests shows he's making progress.

Will this progress be enough for Spurrier? Stay tuned.

"I passed my conditioning test, I've been making all my times," Doughty said. "I've been running real good. I have a lot to prove to people on the weight issue. The weight issue is not my problem. I feel that in my heart, I'm ready to go out there and work. When my mind's made up and I'm focusing, weight is not going to stop me."

Spurrier complained in June that the extra baggage Doughty was carrying was affected his conditioning. Minus the weight, Spurrier believes Doughty could become one of the best nose tackles in the SEC.

"If Stanley could get his motor going at (295 to 300 pounds), he could really help us and he could be an outstanding player," Spurrier said at the time. "But at 330 like he was last year, he's always tired and he's not much in there. We're trying to get him in shape and hopefully he'll want to get in shape. If he does, he has a chance to help us and help himself."

Spurrier said at his press conference Friday afternoon that USC had "four or five weight problem guys" but declined to identify the players because he had not spoken with them yet.

Doughty agrees with his head coach that he has a chance - with better conditioning - to become a dominant SEC defensive tackle. Despite playing well above his recommended weight, Doughty tied for the team lead with 3.5 sacks last season.

How much better would a slimmer, trimmer, well-conditioned Doughty perform?

"I'm in real good shape, much better than last year," Doughty said. "I feel like this is my year. I have a lot to prove. (The fan) should sit back and watch the new Stanley Doughty."

To facilitate the weight loss, Doughty was placed on a special diet this summer that emphasized nutrition and portion-control.

"I'm eating just normal food and cutting back," Doughty said. "I don't eat late at night. I eat the same things (a regular person) eats except it's smaller portions. I run on the treadmill for 20 minutes and walk for an hour and workout."

As additional motivation, Doughty was demoted to second-team on the post-spring depth chart behind undersized (6-1, 278 pounds) sophomore Nathan Pepper, who registered no tackles in nine games last season.

Doughty insisted Friday it's only a matter of time before he reclaims his starting position.

"I respect their decision," Doughty said. "But everything is up for grabs. This is camp. Nobody is the starter right now. The cream will rise to the top. If (Pepper) is a better player than me, he'll start. If I'm a better player, I'll start. It's a job. It's a business. The best man will win."

Despite his improved conditioning, USC defensive line coach Brad Lawing maintains Doughty has a ways to go before he earns the starting nose tackle job.

"Stanley has to prove it on the field," Lawing said. "Hopefully we'll see it. He's still an unproven commodity. He's a guy that has to learn how to make plays. I hope he'll respond and get better. I base things on production. When a guy produces on the field, that's the fairest way I know how to make decisions on who plays. It's not about who talks the game. It's about who actually walks the walk."

Doughty appreciates Lawing's blunt approach.

"He's a real good coach," Doughty said. "He's very straightforward. I'm still trying to figure him out. I've been with him for four or five months now. We're trying to build trust between ourselves and he's trying to mold me into the man I need to be for the team and the real world. I respect him for that. He tells you like it is."

Doughty - known around the SEC for his high tempo personality and style of play - has played in all 23 games over the past two seasons. In 2005, he recorded 24 tackles, seven for loss, while starting nine games.

He returned to his native state of Louisiana for the Independence Bowl against Missouri. While USC lost, Doughty is optimistic about the Gamecocks' chances in 2006.

"If we play mistake-free and perform all of our assignments the right way, the way the coaches teach us, we'll be very successful", Doughty said. "Time will tell in the long run."

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