"That really hurt a lot of us and hurt a lot of Herd Nation, too," Brooks said. "That's really been putting fuel in our fire for the offseason."
And it's fueled Brooks' conditioning mission. Aside from eschewing fatty foods, water has become his drink of choice. He usually eats just twice a day and tries to end his munching three to four hours before he heads to bed.
The offseason workout plans from new strength and conditioning coach Scott Sinclair are a big help as well. What's made Brooks happy is the ability to cut weight and keep his strength. He said that recently, weighing 305 pounds, he was able to bench press 475 pounds. He added that he wasn't the only player making great strides in the weight room, and that's a building block in contending for a Conference USA championship.
"As a whole, as a team, we have expectations," Brooks said. "We have even higher expectations this year. It's all preseason talk, but at the end of the day, as a team, as coaches and as individuals, we have to come together and play up to our expectations."
Brooks expects himself to stay strong, stay fit and find his niche on the offensive line. And if he can take in his suits a couple of inches as a result, that's even better.
"It's better than being a Fatty McFat-Fat," he said with a grin.
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.r...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.