Gray Working His Way Into Playing Shape

Defensive end Raven Gray talks about his knee rehab and conditioning.

Auburn, Ala.—Before the days of strength and conditioning coaches, winter and summer workouts, players often used the heat of August not only to get ready for the season, but also to get into playing shape.

Those days are mostly gone as conditioning has become a year-around aspect of the game. However, that isn't the case for Raven Gray, who is still rehabbing his right knee from an injury suffered at Copiah Lincoln Junior College last season.

Dr. James Andrews did Gray's surgery on Oct. 14 and since then, Gray has spent a majority of his time with rehabilitation.

"I tore my PCL," Gray says. PCL stands for posterior cruciate ligament. "That's the one in the back of the leg. That's everything. It's what you need. You've got to plant off that and everything.

"I go in every morning and do some rehab, just making sure I keep it strong," Gray adds. "In the morning time I give it some heat–put some heat on it and ride the bike or whatever. I do a few exercises and I might go in and squat a little bit. That's about it, then go back and ice it afterwards.

"Coach Yox (Kevin Yoxall) got onto me a lot this offseason," he says of Auburn's strength and conditioning coach. "He put it in my head that if I didn't go hard and rehab everyday then I wouldn't be out here."

With the heat index in the upper 90s for the first two practices, Gray admits he's getting conditioning work in during the practice rather than ahead of time.

"It was in June when I could really get in shape, so it (practices) came quick," he says. "It came just like that. It rained today (Sunday) and it was all muggy, so it bothered me a lot today."

Even though the junior defensive end has been fatigued, he has done a solid job of holding up to the heat and practicing hard despite being a bit behind. He says his knee has held up well for the first two days also.

"I've been feeling good," he notes. "It hasn't been getting sore on me like it was just two weeks ago. I'd come out and run and then I couldn't even bend it. But I'm feeling great right now."

He even got extra reps on Sunday with starter Michael Goggans getting dinged up.

"I'm at the anchor right now," Gray says of the strongside end position. "Goggans got banged up a little bit, so I've got to step up a little bit. It's just me and A.J. Greene over there. I got a lot more reps and I've just got to get in shape. I've got to do some extra stuff like come in during the day and get in with Yox for some extra work."

Going back to his days at Enterprise high school and even in junior college, Gray has been known for his speed off the edge from the weakside. However, he's working at strongside at Auburn.

"We have to fight off two men," Gray says of the new spot. "There's also a tight end over there. That's a tough position to play. I'm used to playing rush end. It's just learning the steps. We can't just push off one (foot) and take a big lunge step. We've got to push off both feet. It's getting me confused a little bit but I'm seeing day by day progression."

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