Penn State Football: Windsor Sees a Big 2019 Brewing…and that Means No Beer
Penn State senior Rob Windsor wants to the best defensive tackle college football in 2019.
It’s a lofty goal, to be sure. You or I may drink to that.
But Windsor won’t.
And that includes the Wisconsin native’s beloved Spotted Cow, a cask-conditioned farmhouse ale that is the best-selling draft beer in the state.
“I’ve been cutting off drinking,” Windsor shared at the start of summer drills. “No beer for me. I’m getting really serious.
“It wasn’t really hard because when it comes down to my decision-making, I just want to be the best so badly. So I asked myself, ‘Is this going to help me be the best?’ And if it’s not, I don’t do it. It was a discipline thing; it was hard at first, bit not any more. I probably drank once over the summer.”
The 6-foot-4 Windsor enters his final season at Penn State at 287 pounds, with his body fat a personal low of 18%. That’s a far cry from a year ago, when started camp at 304 pounds.
“I want to be big and lean and fast,” Windsor said.
SETTING THE TABLE FOR 2019
Windsor started every regular season game for the Nittany Lions last season, then was suspended for the bowl game, which the Nittany Lions lost 27-24 when Kentucky’s bruising back, Benny Snell Jr., ran for 144 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns, including 25 yards and two first downs on eight carries in the final minutes to seal the win. Windsor was missed.
Bowl game notwithstanding, Windsor finished 2018 strong. He had almost as many tackles in the season’s final four games (18 — an impressive 13 of them unassisted) as he did in the first eight games (21, 10 of them solo). That final flurry included four sacks, including a pair against his home state Badgers. Windsor flirted with the notion of declaring early for the NFL Draft, but eventually nixed the idea.
Penn State D-coordinator Brent Pry knows what he has in Windsor.
“Rob kind of quietly had one helluva year at defensive tackle,” Pry said. “Believe me, it didn’t go unnoticed to us. He’s a guy who plays with a motor, he has great hands, he’s athletic enough to escape blocks and bend and do things.”
Windsor sees 2018 as simply a building block to a season where he doesn’t want to be blocked. At all.
“Going into this season, my senior year, I feel that people know a lot more about me — which is exciting for me,” Windsor said. “I have high goals for myself this year. I’d like to be the best defensive tackle in the country.”
For that to happen, Pry thinks Windsor needs to be more consistent. More November, less September-October.
“Rob came on the scene and shocked everybody, like, ‘Who is this guy?’” Pry said. “If you look at his stats, they are comparable with any other defensive tackle in the country. For his game to go where we need it to go, he just needs some consistency. It’s no different than what I tell him. He has to be completely gap accountable all the time. He makes a lot of plays so you can’t be upset with him, because he plays so hard. Sometimes playing hard he can be in the wrong area. But he goes hard. So, you want that part of it. If we keep him consistent where he needs to be, he has a chance to be great.”
Sean Spencer, Penn State’s longtime D-line coach, thinks Windsor’s attitude could be key making Windsor’s goal a reality.
“That’s his mindset,” Spencer said. “That’s what you love about him. He works on that every day. So, it’s whether he eats right, he sleeps right, that guy has got this internal discipline about being great. And usually those guys have success.”
WISCONSIN HOME IS WINDSOR’S CASTLE
Windsor spent part of the summer back home in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin. He fished, hiked and swam — in addition to building up his resume on and off the field. A media studies major at Penn State, Windsor had an internship at the Next Level Sports Performance Center, located an hour south in Waukesha, a suburb of Milwaukee. It was an experience with myriad benefits: Windsor learned how to both Tweet and move his feet.
“My internship was in PR, so I learned a lot about social media and connecting with the public,” he said. “It was cool. I was able to talk with the pro guys, like (former Badger and current Pittsburgh Steeler) TJ Watt and picked their brains. I wanted to see their thoughts on pass rushing, pro football and things like that.”
The No. 1 takeaway from Watt, the younger brother of JJ Watt?
“He said your hands and feet need to be moving simultaneously and violently,” Windsor said. “That’s the most important thing.”
Prey sees big things ahead for Windsor.
“Rob’s physical and strong enough,” Pry said. “He’s truly one of those guys who can play 3 technique and play nose tackle. Now, after looking at what he accomplished last year, this guy can rush the quarterback. He can push the pocket and keep those guys from stepping up and merit sacks. You’re talking about a big guy who can run, has some agility, is a smart football player and has good motor. There’s no question.”
GRINDING IT OUT
Windsor has no beef with Pry’s assessment.
Au contraire. Unlike beer, Windsor hasn’t given up his penchant for a big bowl of beef. We’re talking the equivalent of 40 quarter pounders, sans the bun and special sauce.
“This is what I eat the most during the week,” said Windsor, explaining his new lean look:
“I go to Sam’s Club and buy 10 pounds of ground beef. I cook it all at once. My roommate calls it a ‘meat bowl,’ because I put the meat in a bowl, put some cheese n there, and melt it. I mix it up with barbecue sauce and hot sauce. That’s my favorite meal right there.”
Tasty? Not so sure. But it does help fuel Windsor’s appetite for success.