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April 25, 2011Orson Charles isn't a big fan of predictions, especially ones from "experts" who don't think Georgia will be much better than last year's dismal 6-7 campaign.
His goals are much higher than that.
"By far, why not?" the Bulldog tight end said during a recent interview. "If we say we can't, we're just limiting ourselves."
Still, Charles said he doesn't expect to hear many positive projections when the tidal wave of preseason magazines hit the stores in about another month.
"Six and seven was not good," Charles said. "Nobody knows that better than us."
Charles is still having trouble getting over the sting.
Losing isn't what the Tampa, Fla. native came to Athens to do.
"We all came to Georgia to get the big ring. They went to the Sugar Bowl in 2007; we want to see how that feels," Charles said. "The last time I won something was in high school. I'm not accustomed to losing; I want to win. I want to see how it feels to be on top of the world."
Granted, wanting and doing are two entirely different things.
It takes a lot of hard work and preparation, something Charles feels the Bulldogs have begun to understand, both on the practice field during the recently completed spring drills and in the weight room where he says strength coach Joe Tereshinski has changed the culture from what it used to be.
Tereshinski has certainly had an impact on Charles.
Last year, Charles played tight end at just over 230 pounds. Today, he weighs 250 with the chiseled look of a professional body builder.
"The whole thing with Coach T and the staff, they wanted me to be able to block and handle my ground," Charles said. "If you look at the other tight ends at the next level, guys like Vernon Davis, Dustin Keller and Ben Watson, they're all around that weight."
But despite all his bulging biceps, Charles knows they won't mean much if he can't stay on the field.
To insure that he does, the former Plant High star puts himself through a rigorous daily stretching routine, before and after each workout, followed by a bath in Epsom salt and a final stretch before he goes to bed.
In other words, Charles isn't about to take a chance on pulling any muscles.
"It is a fear because I don't want to sit down. If I sit down I'll feel like I'm letting my team down," Charles said. "My main thing is just selling out, giving everything to the offense and the team. I feel if I sit out I'm not giving my team my all."
Plus, he laughed that he doesn't want to miss not being a part of what quarterback Aaron Murray has in store for his sophomore year.
"As I said when Aaron first started - watch out for this guy," Charles said. "Having played with him in high school I knew what he was capable of, but nobody really believed me. I remember in my second year how everything slowed down for me; it's going to be the same for him. I'm sure we'll see Coach (Mike) Bobo throw more at him where we will just go out, sling it around and do whatever. I'm getting excited talking about it now."
Charles, like the rest of the Bulldog Nation, is also excited to see what the Bulldogs' ballyhooed freshman class - The Dream Team - will be able to bring to the table its first year.
That includes former Valdosta tight end Jay Rome.
"I'm going to work with Jay like Bruce (Figgins) and Aron (White) worked with me," Charles said. "I'm going to tell him what I needed to do to get playing time my first year; I'm going to help him get in the playbook. I'm going to reach out to him. I'm going to bring him to church, I'll be his buddy. I'll tell him don't be afraid to play. I'll tell him if he can beat me out, I'll be on the bench cheering for him. That's what we need; competition."
But Rome isn't the only Dream Team member Charles will have his eyes on.
"Expectations are high and we're tired of waiting. We want to see this dream class," he said. "We want to see if they've got what it takes because we do have some holes and spots where guys can come in and play right away. That's what we're looking for."
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