It was a different Aaron Cowee that walked on to artificial surface at Carson High for the first day of summer workouts in early August.
He looked like a lean, mean fighting machine, weighing in at 255 pounds. Gone was the 30 pounds of excess poundage that many high school lineman have, especially the younger ones.
"I played at about 285 last year, but I didn't wrestle like I did when I was a freshman, and I gained like 10 pounds," the 6-foot-4 Cowee said after Wednesday's practice as the Senators prepared for tonight's home game (7:30 p.m.) against Reno. "Pat (Cooke) wanted to train me for his senior project. He put me through his weightlifting regimen and I lost 40 pounds. I feel better.
"Last year, I would play five or six plays really hard and get a little tired and have to take plays off."
Besides Cooke, who played for the Senators last year, Cowee got a lot of help from his mom, Michele, a nutrition expert with an office in Carson City.
"She helped me with planning my meals," Cowee said. "I drank a lot of water and didn't drink soda or Gatorade. I cut out fast food completely."
A teenager never eating fast food is like a 21-year-old not getting drunk at a frat party. It rarely happens.
"He worked extremely hard," Carson coach Blair Roman said. "He's stronger and faster."
Cutting the weight has made Cowee a different and more effective player. His quickness has enabled line coach Pat Houlihan and Roman to move him to guard where he can be used to pull all the time and take advantage of his quick feet.
"I was at right tackle at the beginning of last year, moved to center, then moved to left guard, then back to left tackle and I was at center for the last two playoff games," Cowee said. "I love playing guard and being able to pull and getting a crack block on a defensive tackle.
"I feel like Joe Zinda and Levi Carter and myself do a good job of double-teaming people and making good blocks."
Watch Cowee in practice and you realize that he has a great motor. He's not satisfied with one block, he's always looking to get to the next level and hit somebody else.
"In our offense, you don't just stop after one block, you look for other blocks to make," Cowee said.
And Cowee knows that the second or even third block will be against somebody much smaller, an opponent he can pancake.
Cowee knows that this is a big year for him in terms of establishing himself as a future collegian. He attended a Football University camp in Ohio and then got invited to a post-season camp at Texas State University for juniors entering their senior seasons.
"I feel like I did well," Cowee said. "I mainly went to get myself better for this season. Some of the stuff is not what we do here."
"This is a big year for him," Roman said. "He knows what's at stake. He has a good attitude."
Certainly the potential is there to play somewhere at the next level. Cowee is almost at college size right now, and with his quick feet the sky is the limit.
"He's one of the faster linemen," Houlihan said. "People look at his feet, and that is what it's all about. He needs to continue to improve and become an impact player."
There is also something to be said for one's comfort level, too. Cowee won't admit, but he would much rather play guard or tackle.
Playing center in the Senators' offense is easy task because of that pesky 4-yard snap. Cowee had a few mistakes, but that's to be expected.
"That snap and reach block gets a little hard," Cowee said. "I had my highs and lows last year.
"The only low point was the loss to Reed. After that loss it hit me that I don't ever want to feel like that again."