INDIANAPOLIS — After he ballooned to 292 pounds in mid-January, LSU fullback J.C. Copeland was asked by teams to shed some weight.
So he did — he weighed in at the NFL Scouting Combine at 271 pounds. But he’s not done yet — his new goal: 260 pounds.
A diet of baked foods and salads while doing cardio twice a day as part of his training regimen in New Jersey has helped him lose the extra pounds.
He doesn’t think the weight loss will hurt him as a strong lead blocker. His blocking ability led to his selection as the MVP of the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, where he paved the way for the other running backs and even scored on a pair of 1-yard plunges. His most memorable block of that game was a pancake of Missouri linebacker Andrew Wilson to spring Stanford running back Anthony Wilkerson for a 27-yard touchdown.
“I try to do it every play, but I know I can’t do it every play,” Copeland said Friday. “I have to be more efficient with my blocking style. Sometimes the kill shot is not the best shot. If I can get my hands on him and can drive him upfield, it’s the best thing for everybody.”
Copeland believes he can find a spot in the NFL, even in a time when fullback seems to be an endangered species.
“I want to be the most aggressive man on the field at all times,” he said. “I want to show them the fullback is not a lost position. It’s still there.”
Beckham leads way in 40
Odell Beckham Jr. led the way for Louisiana’s college receivers and backs at the combine in the 40-yard dash Sunday. He clocked a 4.43, which was tied for seventh-best among the 45 receiver times recorded on NFL.com.
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock on Sunday said Beckham “really helped himself” with the speed he displayed. More qualities he showed in other drills: smoothness and route running. Heading into the combine, Beckham was projected to go in the latter part of the first round.
Less with their 40 times were Jarvis Landry — Beckham’s close friend and LSU teammate — and Tulane’s Ryan Grant.
Grant’s time was 4.64, fifth slowest; and Landry’s was the slowest at 4.77.
Beckham put up seven reps on the 225-pound bench press. Landry rattled off 12 reps, and Grant got eight.
Meanwhile, LSU’s three running backs at the combine finished in the bottom half of the field in the 40. That won’t be disappointing for the powerful, 233-pound Jeremy Hill or Copeland, a short-yardage specialist.
It seems to be more so for Alfred Blue, a 223-pound slasher.
Hill clocked in at 4.66 — for the record, that was 11th from the bottom of a field of 33. He benched 20 times.
Copeland clocked in at 4.95 — for the record, that was the slowest time for backs. But his 23 reps on the bench press were the fourth most at the position group.
Blue clocked in at 4.63, 13th from the bottom. He had 13 reps on the bench press.
Johnson gets advice
LSU defensive tackle Anthony Johnson, who decided to leave college after his junior year, has received some advice from former Tiger and first-round draft pick Michael Brockers.
“That’s my big brother,” Johnson said of Brockers, who was selected 14th overall by the St. Louis Rams in the 2012 NFL draft. “He’s the reason I wanted No. 90.
“He told me to just be myself and not try to do overdo anything.”
Johnson is one of 11 former LSU players in Indianapolis for the combine.
“It’s great to know that LSU has so much talent every year, and I appreciate working with those guys and am I’m thankful to be up here with some of my brothers,” Johnson said.
Ellis being looked at now
Louisiana Tech defensive tackle Justin Ellis is coming off a productive week at the Senior Bowl, where he was able to create pressure up the middle with a quick first step. That surprising swiftness comes in a powerful 6-foot-2, 334-pound body.
“A lot of people who weren’t looking at me are looking at me now,” he told The Advocate on Saturday night. “I’ve been producing, but at a small school, people didn’t notice.”
He’s hoping to build on that momentum at the combine.
“I just want to show them my ability to run around, move lateral, I have the quickness and athleticism they want,” said Ellis, who wants to show scouts he’s not just a big body, but an athlete. Ellis said he is looking forward to the running events, but didn’t want to predict a time in the 40-yard dash because he didn’t want to jinx himself.
A Saints fan in Oklahoma
Sam Houston State running back Tim Flanders said Friday that he grew up in Oklahoma as a Saints fan and met with New Orleans running backs coach Dan Roushar on Thursday night after arriving in Indianapolis. But that doesn’t mean he’ll remain a Saints fan.
“Whoever picks me will be my new favorite team,” said Flanders, who was part of two FCS national runner-up teams while at Sam Houston State.
Advocate sportswriter Ramon Antonio Vargas contributed to this report.