Although he was a wrecking ball on the interior of Penn State’s defensive line last year, senior defensive tackle Robert Windsor prefers spending most of his time in nature, eating cheese and “spreading the love.”
The Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, native joked about his biggest catch and his favorite ground beef, melted cheese and hot sauce delicacy with members of the media on Aug. 3 at Beaver Stadium. But joking aside, he set a serious goal for this season: to be the best defensive tackle in the country.
To help achieve that goal, Windsor took advantage of his opportunity this summer to pick the brains of professional football players such as Pittsburgh linebacker T.J. Watt during his public relations internship at NX Level Sports Performance back home in Wisconsin.
His biggest takeaway from Watt? “Your hands and feet need to be moving simultaneously and violently,” Windsor recalled.
The media studies major also made a big lifestyle change — he cut out alcohol from his diet.
Although he said the decision was difficult at first, his desire to reach his peak potential was stronger than that to have a drink.
“I ask myself, ‘Is this going to help me be the best?’ And if it’s not, then I don’t do it,” he told reporters. “So it’s just kind of a discipline thing.”
Since making that decision, Windsor says that at 18% body fat and 287 pounds, he’s in the best shape of his life — fast and lean.
Here’s what else Windsor had to say about his life on and off the field:
Q: What is the most exciting thing about being here at Penn State?
A: Honestly, the people — and the atmosphere. Especially Beaver Stadium on game weekends, you can’t really match it. The whole town is all about football and that’s what I’m here for; so that’s really exciting for me.
Q: With the hype surrounding you this year, is there a heightened sense of having to live up to expectations?
A: No, I kind of just tune all that out. I don’t put any extra pressure on myself because I feel like that could mess with my head. I’m just going to play football the way I play.
Q: You had a great end of the season last year but were still a little under the radar. Were you aware of that?
A: Yeah, I think I finished the season well. People didn’t really know about me last year, but going into this year, people know about me a little bit more. So that’s exciting. At the end of the day, I’m going to focus on playing the best football I can play.
Q: What’s your goal for this season?
A: I’d like to be the best defensive tackle in the country. I’m just going to come out each game and play the best football I can play, and hopefully the rest will take care of itself.
Q: What’s your go-to meal?
A: I go to Sam’s Club and I pick up 10 pounds of ground beef. I cook it all at once. My roommate calls them meat bowls because I put a munch of meat in a bowl and put some cheese in there and melt it. I mix it all up with barbecue sauce and hot sauce, and that’s my favorite meal. It’s the most convenient.
Q: What do you like to do for fun, when you’re not on the football field?
A: I like to be out in nature a lot. I like to go fishing and hiking. I love swimming in lakes and ponds. That’s one thing I really love about Penn State, that it’s surrounded by a bunch of state parks. I love going out there and being out there.
Q: What is the biggest fish you’ve caught?
A: It’s probably a walleye. I want to tell you it’s this big (expanding to his maximum wingspan), but it was more realistically right here (bringing his arms in halfway).
Q: What is it about being out in nature that you enjoy most?
A: It calms me. It makes me feel connected to everything. It makes me feel a oneness, I guess because everything is connected.
Q: What’s your go-to music?
A: Probably some good old country tunes. I’ll throw in some Luke Combos (Luke Combs). It’s a mixture: I have the current country music, I have Hank Williams sometimes, Nitty Gritty (Dirt Band)’s “Fishing in the Dark.” You have to throw it back.
Q: If you had a song to describe your football career, what would it be?
A: “Country Boys Can Survive,” by Hank Williams Jr. because I’ve been through a lot and I keep fighting through it.
Q: What do you miss most from home when you are here?
A: Obviously, my family. The food is great. My lake — I have a lake house where I love spending time. Cheese, I love my cheese. I could go on forever.
Q: If you had to pick one thing that’s the most different about you from the time you first arrived on campus to now, what would it be?
A: My maturity level for sure. I was very immature when I got here. I was making bad decisions. I’ve done a lot of growing.
Q: What do you think has led to that change?
A: I’d say learning from my mistakes and pain. Obviously, you grow when you go through painful situations.
Q: How did you feel when you found out your name was on the Outland Trophy watch list for the nation’s top interior lineman?
A: Honestly, I didn’t even really think about it that much. I didn’t even know what the Outland Trophy was. When I got the Twitter notification, I had to look up what it was. I was like ‘oh, that’s pretty cool.’ Honestly, I had aspirations of being the best but not necessarily the Outland Trophy.
Q: Did you think about going pro last season?
A: It crossed my mind, but I made the decision I thought was best for me in the end, which was coming back here for my senior year.
Q: Where would you most like to land in the NFL?
A: Obviously, I’d love to go home to Green Bay. I have a lake house that I’d probably live at on my own. It’s only like a hour commute from Green Bay, but honestly, I’ll go wherever I’m called to play football, because I just love the game.
Q: What’s one thing your teammates or Penn State fans maybe don’t know about you?
A: I’m a super friendly guy. If anybody comes up to talk to me, I’m open to talk to anybody. Fans come up and give me a hug, I’m a big hugger. I’m a hugger.
Q: What makes you so friendly?
A: I just like spreading the love. There is no reason to spread negativity. Energy is infectious, so I try to spread positive energy.