It was supposed to be pretty easy for Cody Conway.
The then-freshman left tackle played in six games, spent a good portion of practice lining up against Ron Thompson, and was considered by many to be the heir apparant for the starting spot in his sophomore season.
Then Scott Shafer and his staff was fired, Dino Babers and his staff was hired, and all of a sudden Conway had to prove himself all over again. In the spring, redshirt senior Michael Lasker beat him out for the top spot on the depth chart. So Conway spent the summer bulking up and working on the new offensive scheme and won the starting gig back.
Stephen Bailey dug into what Conway did in order to take the top spot at the position. It sounds like it was a combination of Conway's increased effort and a coaching staff that pushed him harder than the previous one.
Conway said he became significantly stronger during his first offseason under new strength and conditioning coach Sean Edinger. In contrast to last summer's regimen, Edinger planned high-rep, low-weight workouts and low-rep, high-weight workouts, Conway said.
"The difference in reps and changes, we didn't have that last year," Conway said. "It was normally the same workout the whole time."
The extra effort did not go unnoticed by Babers, who had the ultimate say in who the starters would be.
"I was talking about this the other night to (offensive line) coach (Mike) Lynch," Babers said on Monday. "He showed the ability to do exactly what we were asking him to do. The things that we asked the offensive line to do shows up when you watch Cody Conway."
As tough as the offseason might have been for Conway, that was the easy part. Now that he's earned the starting job, he has to keep it.