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Friday, March 20, 2009

Charles: Dungy's Words a "Game Changer"

When former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy visited Athens on Wednesday, he didn't talk much football. He was there with Georgia coach Mark Richt to promote All Pro Dad, an organization aimed at getting fathers to be more involved in their children's lives. Of course, Dungy is a father, too, and his son just so happens to have played high school football at Plant High in Tampa, which sent two top recruits -- Aaron Murray and Orson Charles -- to Georgia this year.

Murray is already on campus as an early enrollee, but Charles took a bit longer to make his decision. OK, a lot longer.

The athletic tight end waited more than a month after National Signing Day to declare his intentions to head to Georgia, and in a strange twist of fate, his decision just so happened to come shortly after a conversation with Dungy.

"I know Orson was having a little trouble making his decision," Dungy said Wednesday. "He had it down to a few schools. He came by my house and the last thing we talked about was, ‘Hey, just assume you get hurt the first day you ever step on campus. You want to go to a place where you're going to enjoy the school, players that you're around, coaches. And you're going to able to have that great atmosphere outside of football. Don't think of football, but how it's going to be as a family.'"

Dungy said he never endorsed any one school in particular, and he wasn't sure his advice was the turning point in Charles' decision-making process, but Charles said his mind was made up the second he left Dungy's house. Georgia was the place he felt like home, and the Super Bowl-winning coach is the one who made it clear.

"That was a game changer right there," Charles said. "That was like fourth down and five seconds on the clock, a game winner. That was the clincher right there."

Charles is going to be in Athens this weekend to get a little more acclimated with his future home. I talked with him about a few other topics, too. Here's what he had to say...

On whether he is used as a traditional tight end or gets employed in more of a hybrid fashion...
I'll tell you this: I do not care. I just want to win. If I have to sit on the sideline and we're winning, I'm going to be happy. If' I'm on the sideline and we beat Florida, I'm going crazy. I just want to win. That's my whole mind-set. I'm pretty sure they're fixing to win, and I'm 100 percent behind them. I just want to win.

(NOTE: Here's what tight ends coach John Lilly had to say on that... "Everybody tosses that term 'hybrid' around, and I don't even know what that means sometimes. But it does mean a guy that you can do a lot of things with, you can move around, flex him out, get him in motion and get him in mismatches. That's what a guy like that brings to the table that is his size and has his receiving skills, we think. But it's hard to tell until they get on campus. You know what they've done in high school, and he's certainly shown the ability to get open and catch the football and make plays and make plays with his hands and make plays in big games, and if he can do that, we'll certainly put him in those positions.")

On how much Georgia's tradition of having great tight ends played into his decision to come to UGA...
It played a lot into it for sure, but if the things I felt about Georgia I felt about USF and they never sent a tight end to the league, I'd have been the first to start it. It has to start somewhere. Somebody had to start it at Georgia and it just happened back to back to back. I'm glad he started it, and I'm happy to come in to the program and continue it.

On how much he keeps in touch with Georgia's other incoming freshmen...
I keep in touch with a lot of the people, but with the spring coming, I hope everyone comes out and I'm going to give everybody my number so we can stay in touch. I talk to Arthur Lynch a lot, Chris Long, (Zach) Mettenberger, Chris Burnette, a lot of the players, but I definitely want to talk to more so we can stay in contact and I can make sure they're reading the playbook and doing the drills and doing what they got to do.

On what he heard from Murray about mat drills...
Aaron told me when he came back on that they're bad, and I'm not going to like it.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Great interview. I think that he could be an immediate impact. He was definitely a man among boys in HS. Just hope he doesn't call Austin Long "Chris" much....could be another Jim Rome vs Jim "Chris" Everett. lol