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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Charles Takes Training to Next Level

Happy birthday wishes go out today to Georgia's freshman All-America tight end Orson Charles, who turns 19.

Another year older and a year of experience under his belt means fans are obviously excited about what Charles will contribute next season to Georgia's offense, but he's hardly resting on his laurels following a freshman campaign in which he caught 23 passes for 374 yards and three TDs.

In fact, quite the opposite.

Charles is taking a military science course this semester that's required for his major. During the course, his teacher spent some time discussing the training that Army ROTC members on campus participate in and encouraged students to give it a try. Never one to pass up on a challenge, Charles accepted.

"I took a little of it in high school, but I never really got serious, so I decided to just go ahead and do it and see how I'm feeling," Charles said. "So that's what I've been doing."

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the past three weeks, Charles has been getting up at 5:30 in the morning and heading out for PT with members of the UGA ROTC. And while he assumed going into it that he was already in pretty good shape, the early morning workouts have helped to open his eyes.

"It's definitely different than football -- way different," Charles said. "In football, the most you'll probably run is probably 200 (yards) back and forth. They go miles and miles and miles, and my whole method is just trying to keep up with them. … You go out there and find out you're not in shape."

The running is no jog through the park, Charles said. Each day, he reports for PT at 5:50 a.m. and runs -- either through campus or laps indoors -- about four miles, he said. Motivation is the key.

"You've got to talk to yourself when you're running with them," Charles said.

Of course, hard work is nothing new for Charles, who is doing the ROTC PT in addition to his daily workouts with the football team.

Charles isn't using football as a crutch though. In fact, while a few people have recognized him, he's made a point of keeping his career on the gridiron under wraps.

"I'm not sure if they know I'm on the football team," Charles said of the ROTC students he's been working with. "I just told them I have that class, and my teacher just recommended we come out there. I don't really go out there and tell them I'm on the football team. I had a couple people write me on Facebook saying that I had motivated them. I know a couple people that I told them I was coming out there, and they didn't believe me. My teacher said that on the first PT. So I'm surprising a lot of people."

He's surprising himself a bit, too, and that's what it's all about for Charles. He hopes the extra training will get him in better shape for football, but really, it was just about pushing himself.

"It's more something I wanted to see if I could do, see if I could beat my mind," Charles said. "Your mind says don't get or it's not worth it. I wanted to see if I could do that. Hopefully it rubs off on football."

28 comments:

dawgjammin said...

how is running 4 miles a day 3-4 days a week plus his "normal" football training going to help him put on some weight so he can be a more well rounded tight end...blocking mainly.

Muckbeast said...

Assuming he is also eating well and lifting weights, running 4 miles 3 times a week won't hurt him as far as putting on weight. It will help make sure that is LEAN, useful weight, and it will improve his overall conditioning.

Anonymous said...

Or if he stays lean he becomes a slot back like Hines is for the steelers

Justin said...

I took that same course 2 years ago with Ben Jones, Richard Samuel, and Dontavious Jackson when they were early enrollees. It's a pretty fun class but, they don't require athletes to participate in the training of course because they are already working out for their sport. By the time that semester was over I was pretty ripped/in the best shape of my life so, it's definitely an intense workout.

BigMuddyDawg said...

Hard not to love a kid like Orson Charles. Neat story, David.

BIG ALBANY DAWG said...

It's not about gaining weight. It's about gaining mental toughness.

You don't seem to want to accept the fact you're dealing with an expert in physical fitness, with a man who wants to be the best; in quick slants, the corner post, and the deep out. A man who's been trained to ignore pain, ignore weather, to live off the land, to eat things that would make a billy goat puke. On the grid iron, his job was to dispose of linebackers trying to cover him! Period! To win by attrition. Well, Charles could be the best.

One day CMR may say, “I recruited him. I trained him. I commanded him for four years. I'd say that makes him mine.”

UGA69Dawg said...

While it is admirable of Charles to do this, it seems that our S&C coach might want to look at some longer distant runs to actually get the players in shape for the 4th quarter. We need to keep our starters in in tough situations. Seems like we have had to rest them way too much.

Andy said...

I ditto what Justin said. I was in the class back in the day with Brannon Southerland and a few others. None of them worked out with us because they didn't have to (and I can't say I blame them). Kudos to Orson, and I hope this helps him develop as a quality leader on the field.

Anonymous said...

Give this kid something. Keep this up and he'll at least be Captain. Redefining the word "tough". But with a name like Rambo...

Dr. Merkwurdigliebe said...

As a former Rugby player, I've never understood why football S&C trainers don't emphasize cardio more. Runs of 4-5 miles should be a regularly scheduled occurence during Spring and Fall practice camps. For the big guys, cut it back to 1-2 miles. Fat, dumb and bald is no way to go through life.

Billy Barou said...

Orson is special. A few kids come through this program every year or so that just have "it"--you can just tell that they will be successful in life because they refuse to fail....Rennie Curran is a perfect example, same with DJ Shockley, Thomas Brown, etc....those guys just have the WORK ETHIC, and Orson sounds like he does too!

Dr. Peter Venkman said...

The Fan's Voice Awarads has an interview with the Peanut Butter Kid: http://fansvoiceawards.wordpress.com/

Quite a look into the mind of a fan

The Watch Dawg said...

The ROTC kids work out to be lean, not strong, and I'm not sure that's the best thing for Orson. Maybe it won't hurt, but I don't see how losing weight is going to help a TE that we want to be big and physical. Don't forget he has to block, too. He's not a wide receiver.

dawgjammin said...

all i'm saying is if he comes into fall camp only 5-10 pound heavier, his offseason conditioning should be consider as a "fail"... the offense needs him to put weight on to be able to block so that we don't give any indications to the defense whether we are passing or running. if his run blocking doesn't improve, its going to be hard to keep him on the field instead of lynch or figgins in situations where a run or play action pass could be called...

Cojones said...

UGA69Dawg has it right. Building muscle doesn't amount to squat(s) if your aerobics don't keep you in the game to apply your strength. Positioning on another player til the end of the 4th is as important as what happens when you get there. This should enhance Orson's ability to downfield block and break tackles after running down the field to catch a pass. Sure can't hurt. S&C has two parts and running is an integral part of conditioning. If he's pumpin' iron to build the muscle, why should conditioning reduce his size? What is this "lean" worry crap?

Show'em all, Orson. Good Dawg!(pat,pat,pat).

Dawgfan17 said...

You can still gain weight while doing cardio, you just have to increase your caloric intake to do it. 10-15 lbs of pure muscle that will be gained while staying lean would be much better than 20-25 that is not lean. You can put on weight by going to McDonalds everyday but that wouldnt help you at all. Plus I think the point of the story is not about how good of shape he is getting in or not. It is about this kids work ethic and his desire to push himself. With his natural talent and early sucess in college it would be easy for him to rest on what he has don. Instead he is pushing himself harder, and that is something that should make all Dawg fans very happy.

Anonymous said...

To The Watch Dog ROTC members do not work out to be lean, but WE work out to be stronger and to have great endurance. So with Orson working out he is gaining endurance and stamina as well as great mental toughness. I think its a good thing for him, because he is gaining strength while gaining endurance.

dawgjammin said...

don't get me wrong, i'm a big orson charles fan and i'm all for increasing mental toughness. but the kid really needs at least 20-25lbs not 10-15.

if he doesn't gain the weight he'll needed the added cardio and mental toughness because that would mean most of the time he'd be blocking someone 20 to 50 to 70lbs heavier than him on every play.

plus we sub so much(not a big fan) its not like he's expected to put together even a full drive without being subbed in and out...

conditioning is not an issue, all of these guys are in shape (especially by the season, or the coaches will sit their butts on the bench or relegate them to scout team), having the mass to bang on and move a guy 250-300lbs in front of you is THE issue.

UGA being able to run its full package of plays while the kid is in the ball game IS the issue.

Blocking down on a LB or DE/DT so King or Ealey can spring a long run is the ISSUE...

The kid can run and catch like few others, but if he can't move a DL out of the way he's useless for roughly 50% of the plays in UGA's offense.

Anonymous said...

Some people can't be pleased. If David reported OC had gained 30 pounds of muscle while maintaining a < 5% body fat, some would complain/worry he'd lost some speed and agility.

This is a great story about a kid making the *extra* effort. I _love_ it.

Read it and enjoy it! Give the OCD a break.

UGA89

lightenuporshutup said...

great story about a great kid who will be in great shape. to bad people like dawgjammin are never happy about anything positive. I wonder why he's not on the coaching staff? a guy as smart as he is about everything would be invaluable to Coach Richt! 750k per year for dawgjammin would be the steal of the century!

Anonymous said...

Okay seriously, 5-10 pounds of body fat is not going to improve your blocking ability. Building strength and working on technique will improve your blocking ability. Orson improved in that area this season and he'll continue to improve. That being said, he's always going to be a smaller tight end...that's just his body type.

dawgjammin said...

lightenup and the rest of you who think a 230lb Orson Charles is a GOOD thing for 2010:

I never questioned the kids heart, mental toughness, attitude, work ethic, skill etc.

I think its a great story.

There's just a 2nd part of the equation.
What is he doing to put on some more mass so he can help out more in the running game in 2010 than he did in 2009. Since we are most likely looking at a Redshirt Freshmen QB starting next year, I'd think the success on offense (and as a team) is going to hinge on the running game. In UGA's pro-style offense the TE and FB are critical to the success of the running game. Specifically to creatimg a running lane on the edges of the defense. There's a lot of question marks for the 2010 version of the dawgs, the one thing that doesn't need to be a question mark is the running game. UGA needs to be able to pound the rock without substituting Orson on a majority of the running plays.

A good follow up question or two to this article could be: What does the coaching staff want Orson's playing weight to be when the start of practice rolls around this fall? What is he doing to meet this desired weight? Taking his training to the next level should be aimed at doing what it takes to gain the weight the coaches need him to gain.

You've also made an assumption that I'm not positive about anything by reading one thread. I can assure you I am very positive but also I am a realist and not a blind loyalist. Orson's weight is a legitimate concern for 2010. I'd think Orson Charles and Branden Smith are 2 of the main guys fighting for legit starting jobs in 2010 that the bulldog nation would enjoy seeing take the greatest leaps and bounds in the amount they contribute to the success of this team vs 2009. I believe 99% of the bulldog nation would agree these guys are the 2 main players that also need to put on some "good" weight from what they played at in 2009 in order to be able to contribute more in 2010.

Its not being negative or trying to be a coach or being pleased. Its a legitimate question and concern that will effect the success of the offense in 2010.

Improving technique is fundamental to a players success and growth. But you've also got to be bigger, stronger and faster than the opponent. If you don't think a 255lb Orson Charles would contribute more to the success of this team than a 230lb Orson Charles does, then you my friend have a low football I.Q.

David Hale said...

No need for anyone to get too upset, folks. Dawgjammin has a concern that he's completely entitled to. I don't think he means any ill will toward Orson or UGA.

Here's my two cents: If I were to list the two biggest general concerns I've heard about players in the last two years, it would be:

1.) Lack of heart or desire
2.) Conditioning issues

Seems Orson is shooting both of those concerns down pretty easily.

The other thing to keep in mind is, while college football may be considered a stepping stone to the NFL, that's not what it is SUPPOSED to be. It is SUPPOSED to be an avenue for these kids to grow as people. My guess is that spending time with the Army ROTC folks is a great growing experience for Orson.

And lastly, I'm guessing Orson was smart enough to talk about his workout with the UGA S&C folks, too. It's just three days a week, and I'm sure he's not going to do it forever. I doubt it'll have a huge impact on his weight gain/loss long term.

Anonymous said...

Im really confused about the hype that charles is recieving. It seems to be all political. ARON WHITE WAS THE BOWL OFFENSIVE MVP even after they started charles. White has been a consistently better blocker, is bigger, and has proven himself in tough situations. Im not trying to say that Charles is not great but look at the game tape, White has been better. I had the chance to meet both guys, and they are both outstanding kids. But I was just wondering if someone could justify why White is not getting the hype he deserves other than it just being political and Bobo wanting Charles to be the guy.

Anonymous said...

I don't know much about white, but I have seen Charles at pt. As a fellow cadet in the program for the past 4 years I will tell you that yes we run a lot, but that is not always the case. We do plenty of exercises as well. Many times we are doing push-ups, sit-ups, flutter kicks, etc. after we get back from the run. Most of the time our pt schedule involves at least one day of just doing these exercises the entire time with no long run. That along with him doing his normal football workouts as well I don't think he will have to worry about losing weight. Also 2-3 days a week of running is not going to knock off 10 lbs or something crazy like that. The only people who lose crazy amounts of weight from running are people who do it every single day like a cross country runner. Also I agree that mental toughness and leadership abilities are just as important as well. I have always been glad when football players join us in our program and others are welcome to at any time. Go Dawgs!!!

Anonymous said...

do we know what his goal playing weight is going to be this year?

do not resuscitate said...

@ Anon 3:01am

In regards to your comment about White and Charles, I think the difference lies in their respective ages. It took Aron White 2 years before he has been productive at tight end, where Orson has been productive from day 1. Looking at their 2009 stats, OC had nearly 200 more recieving yards and a better average per catch. Even though AW had more touchdowns (4 to OC's 3), the potential for Charles is what makes everyone so excited, given that he is only entering his second year.

Anonymous said...

What a silly bunch of experts you posters are! "What we need" and "What OC needs" is way over your heads. When Spring Training starts, this young fellow will compete. For those of you so anxious to tweak his weight or training or what he does for fun, tweak yourselves and go run a hundred yards and make it your life goal to get up to 4 miles. A healthier dawg fan is both a happier and SMARTER Dawg fan!! Bottom line is when OC leaves UGA, he will not be regretting a little extra running or a few pounds not gained. HE has a life. Go OC, go Dawgs!