Dick Harmon: BYU's Mike Hague's weight loss turns heads

Published: Saturday, April 2 2011 12:51 a.m. MDT

PROVO — Mike Hague is making a name for himself in BYU's spring football camp and it's not all about the hits he's delivering in his job as a safety.

You see, Hague has turned a lot of heads by his looks and deeds.

No, he doesn't have a Mohawk haircut. He isn't donning some new fashion designer clothes from Paris or Turkey. He doesn't wear nifty rattlesnake skin cowboy boots and he hasn't dyed his hair black or bleached it blond or put a bone through his nose.

Hague has gone from a portly fullback to a sledgehammer hitter and tackler.

Where his greatest fame of the past year was creating concussions in fall camp and hauling in an occasional pass reception out of the backfield, he is now dropping back in coverage and launching himself into gaps for run support.

He's as agile as a cat. His reaction time is instant. He covers space and runs like a deer while maintaining the mindset that he is a hammer.

But as impressive as all the new action is, that isn't totally it. The thing about Hague that is turning heads is his massive weight loss over the past seven months.

Hague has always looked a little bowling ball-like as a hard-running Utah 5A Player of the Year at Brighton and his freshman year at BYU before his LDS mission to Knoxville, Tenn.

No more. Hague is sleek and trim. Last August, Hague weighed 230 pounds. He has now lost 45 pounds and tips the scales from 178 to 185. He doesn't like the 170s because he's too light to administer pain. So if he gets a little feathery, he'll swallow a candy bar.

Hague rushed for 2,001 yards and 28 TDS at Brighton High. That's quite an accomplishment. But he also had 53 tackles and 5 interceptions as a defensive back. He was the ultimate utility player.

Witnesses of last fall's practices will never forget Hague putting down his shoulders as a ball carrier and mowing over tacklers. His victims tried to get up on wobbly legs and act as if nothing had hit them. Hague even suffered a concussion instigating such collisions.

Maybe that is what caught the eye of head coach Bronco Mendenhall back in August. He was playing behind Bryan Karyia and Zed Mendenhall and all that energy and fearlessness seemed wasted.

When Mendenhall took over the reins as defensive coordinator last October, he no doubt started looking for players he wanted on his side of the line.

During this winter's conditioning drills, Mendenhall came up to Hague, a player he noted was making a complete transition of his body, and asked him to play safety.

"It was a blessing," said Hague.

This week, Mendenhall praised Hague for his work ethic and loss of poundage. After Friday's scrimmage, Mendenhall said: "It's the first time we've got a chance to really see him finish a few plays. He's been playing that spot and even though we've been doing live work, he hasn't had many plays make it to him. So that was a plus to be able to see him tackle. I was impressed."

Hague explains his triumph over weight, a challenge the majority of Americans battle every day.

"First week of fall camp I was playing fullback and I wasn't happy playing at the weight I was playing at and decided to go on a diet. I started eating right and lost about 45 pounds."

"I really don't know why I was losing the weight. I just felt like I needed to and actually, its worked out well for me."

The Hague Diet. Remember, extensive workout, both cardio and weight lifting is a given, but this is the fork and spoon to mouth part of it.

"One of the things I focus on is complex carbs in the morning, things like oatmeal to kick off my metabolism. I had a bad habit of eating about 11 in the morning. I started eating as early in the morning as I could.

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