Summer weights take Dawgs to new levels

ATHENS – Make no mistake about it: Georgia needed its strength and conditioning program to get it over the top. The program used hard work in the summer to launch their 2002 SEC Championship. Now the Dawgs are looking for the SEC Championship, and more.

"It was a much better summer than in the past," said Associate Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Keith Gray of this year's workouts. "The intensity level was greater this summer."

Georgia, picked to be among the challengers for the 2004 national title, has been counting on its senior leaders to motivate in the weight room. This year's seniors have shown tremendous leadership in the weight room, according to Gray.

"Every year there is a renewed outlook for the season," said Gray of the high expectations on the program. He says senior leadership in the gym helped the Bulldogs improve their maximum strength numbers from last season. "There are a lot of seniors that have contributed to this season's numbers."

Gray noted that several players, mostly seniors, stood out this summer. "Arnold Harrison, David Greene, David Pollack, Will Thompson, and Gerald Anderson," said Gray of the players that looked the best. But Gray said that starting defensive lineman Kedric Golston was the most impressive of all the Bulldogs this summer.

"He is a hard working guy, and he is driven," said Gray of Golston's success pumping iron. Golston was near the top of almost every category released by the staff. His numbers include a 486-pound bench press, a 500-pound squat, and a 341-pound power clean. His power clean improved 41 pounds over his earlier maximum of 300 pounds.

"I think coach Richt has an added emphasis in the weight program," said Gray, who also worked under former Head Coach Jim Donnan. "The players have been very dedicated to it. The players have seen us win games in the last three years because we have physically dominated teams in the fourth quarter."

"We stress to our guys about finishing the drill," he said, noting the team's adopted slogan.

"We won't show weakness in the 4th quarter. We know they are going to be able to play for 60 minutes because we have prepared for them 60 minutes. They have confidence that they can play for 60 minutes. They have trained their body to do that," Gray concluded.

The Bulldogs have pulled off several fourth quarter wins since Richt took over as head coach in 2001. In 2002 alone, Georgia needed the fourth quarter to win games against Clemson, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, and Auburn. Georgia was forced to beat Purdue in overtime of the 2004 Capital One Bowl game.

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