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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Charles Ready to Step In

Orson Charles was among the last recruits to sign this year, but few members of Georgia's 2009 signing class have been more eager to get to work.

From phone calls with coaches and players to an extended visit to campus during his spring break to impromptu practice sessions with former high school teammate Aaron Murray in recent weeks, Charles is doing all he can to ensure he's on the field in 2009.

"I've gotten to know a majority of what goes on, so I'm getting there, but Aaron says there's much more," Charles said. "We've been going out and he's helping me with running routes, and he tells me what I'm doing wrong and I correct it and run it again."

The extra work is crucial because, while Charles always assumed he would make an impact in his first season at Georgia, his production may now be a necessity for the Bulldogs.

Charles is one of two tight ends set to join the program in June, and before he has even suited up for a single practice, his role has grown by leaps and bounds.

Georgia was already thin at wide receiver after three seniors graduated, but a season-ending injury to Kris Durham and the departure of junior Tony Wilson from the program, added to the suspension of tight end Bruce Figgins for six games, has made Charles a key component to Georgia's offensive attack in the coming season.

"I didn't need somebody to get suspended to know that I'm going to step up to the challenge," Charles said. "I have my own mind-set from the get-go that I just want to make everybody better around me. I just want to win."

Charles said he spoke with Figgins shortly after the suspension was announced and actually offered some advice to his older teammate.

"We all make bad choices," Charles said. "I just said that when you come back, you've got to go. Don't look back. You've just got to go."

That's not much different than the attitude Charles has taken to preparing for his introduction to the SEC.

Since putting away his schoolbooks at the end of his academic year, Charles has been hitting the playbook with abandon. He said he has watched film that coaches sent him and has Murray quiz him on the playbook routinely, all in an effort to ensure he not only contributes this season, but that he is part of something big.

"I don't want to wait til my sophomore or junior year to win a national championship," Charles said. "Why can't I do it my freshman year?"

Just where Charles will make the biggest impact in 2009 remains to be seen. At 6-fot-3, 220 pounds, Charles is a bit on the small side for a typical tight end, but that's not really his game. His senior season at Plant High in Tampa, Fla., he caught 75 passes for 1,440 yards and scored 24 touchdowns, often split out wide as a receiver.

Georgia's coaches have said Charles could fill several roles on the Bulldogs' offense this season, but with just six scholarship wideouts on the team, his receiving skills could prove crucial.

Still, Figgins was the Bulldogs' best blocker, and Charles knows his job won't always be catching passes, and he said that's an aspect of his game he's working on.

"That's really what I did when we had the Wing-T, and I just caught about three passes a game and the rest was blocking," Charles said. "But that's something I've got to pick up on and keep doing more work at it, but I'm fine with that."


todd said...

He is going to be dgd!!!

Anonymous said...

Charles has alot of upside however, bothers me that it's I not we or team with him?

David Hale said...

Trust me, Anon, it's definitely not. We talked at length and I have some other stuff I'm waiting to post next week, but Orson essentially said that he doesn't care how much he plays as long as he wins, and his first goal when he gets to Athens is bonding with his teammates.

LawDawg said...

David, what have you heard about Charles qualifying? I don't think he is fully qualified, and wondering if you can shed some insight. We will badly need him this year, so I hope he makes it.

David Hale said...

He got his ACT scores earlier this week... he's good to go.