A new flavor for the offensive line

Jeremy Darveau and his offensive line feast at Mission BBQ. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/JEREMY DARVEAU

When offensive line coach Jeremy Darveau followed Kerwin Bell from Valdosta State to USF, he was given the task of creating an impenetrable wall. With the resources at hand, he had to construct a cohesive unit of five men to protect the line.

Naturally, the offensive line went through intense training together. But Darveau knew that building chemistry off the field was just as important.

In January, Darveau began the tradition of touring local food spots. Since then, Darveau and his offensive line have feasted at Jerk Hut, Portillo’s, Mission BBQ — and, of course, all-you-can-eat restaurants such as Koizi Endless Hibachi & Sushi Eatery and Golden Corral.

“I’ll go ahead and give them a shoutout. Koizi is the No. 1 spot,” Darveau said. “We’ve been there two or three times and every time we go it’s a two-to-three hour ordeal. I mean, we just can’t get out. I’m sure they hate us at this point.”

What started as a fun, occasional get-together quickly turned into an important part of the Bulls’ football culture off the field. The Twitter hashtag #FatBoyFridays made it official.

And thus, Fat Boy Friday was born.

“They’re fat boys so they love food,” Darveau said.

Fraternity through food is the goal Darveau set out to achieve.

“I like just at least every couple of Fridays being able to get together and do some fellowship,” Darveau said.

Senior offensive tackle Marcus Norman, who stands at 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 315 pounds, said that the Fat Boy Fridays have done their job of building trust within the ranks of the team.

“We talk, we have good conversations and it builds more of a trust,” Norman said. “And overall, it translates on the field. I don’t have to worry about ‘Does he know what he’s doing on this play? Do they know what they’re doing?’ because I already know their style … so I have to trust them.”

Regardless of what happens this season, Norman is confident his team will remain a tight-knit group through Fat Boy Fridays.

“It’s not just for the fat boys. It’s for everybody that wants to jel in with the offensive line,” Norman said.

For the offensive line, it was something unprecedented. But for Darveau, it was a no-brainer. After over seven months of Friday feasts, Darveau has seen noticeable changes in his line.

“Well, I’ve seen a lot of weight gains,” Darveau joked. “It was a tight-knit group when I got here and I think we’ve only increased upon that … I’d say we’ve definitely seen ourselves trust each other more and love each other more.”