Big Cheese

ATHENS - Georgia offensive line coach Neil Callaway rarely is tickled, but that's how he describes his feelings toward Chester Adams these days.

"We're tickled to death with Chester and the things he brings to our program," Callaway said. "Chester has done a good job. I think he's a talented young man who can be an excellent football player."

Adams, a junior from Luverne, Alabama, stepped into the starting guard spot vacated by All-American Max Jean-Gilles this year, and he's the only player on the team with a hope of filling that void, at least physically.

Adams weighs 345 pounds, making him the heaviest scholarship player on Georgia's roster and close to the 350-something Jean-Gilles played at in his final year with the Bulldogs.

Adams isn't thrilled with his status as biggest Dog. In fact, he'd like to drop 20 pounds, but than it looks, he said.

"It's really tough because you have to eat," he said. "If you come out here and try to diet, you won't have any energy to push yourself."

The extra weight is not hurting Adams too much, according to Callaway.

"I'm excited about watching him grow and get into his role as a starter and playing good, I hope," he said.

Adams, who goes by the nickname "Big Cheese," backed up Jean-Gilles and Nick Jones last year.

"Looking back at last year, evaluating how everybody played, we probably should have played him more because he played well what little he played," Callaway said. "I wished I had played him more."

Adams got plenty of time this year, thanks to the Bulldogs' lack of depth on the offensive line.

"I just want to be a productive player and be dependable," Adams said. "There are a lot of guys pushing and fighting for position, and I don't want to be a weak link. I'm busting my butt every day and making the plays when it's time to make them."

Adams started his career at tackle and played there in 2004 before moving to guard prior to last season. At first, he was uncertain about the switch, but he's grown comfortable in the middle, he said.

"I like it a whole lot better (than I did)," he said. "At first, I didn't like it, but then I learned from Max, so I like it a lot now. I think I do a pretty good job at guard."

Georgia got a scare in the first week of practice when Adams left the field during day one of full contact due to a hip pointer; however, but he returned in plenty of time for the September 2 opener against Western Kentucky.

"You have to fight every day to stay free from injury and just be there for each other," Adams said.

Adams' value became crystal clear on the day he was injured and teammates fretted about what life on the line might be like without him.

"If Cheese or Fernando (Velasco) or Nick (Jones) or any of those guys in the middle go down, I don't know what we'll do," defensive tackle Ray Gant said.

Adams was never supposed to be at Georgia in the first place. He grew up in lower Alabama as a fan of the Crimson Tide. He even played high school football for former Alabama coach Mike DuBose, who was fired from the school.

DuBose neither pushed Adams toward nor away from the Tide, Adams said. The choice was entirely his own, he said.

"Georgia just came out of the blue," he said. "I came up here, and I just loved it."

Adams never made an official visit to Auburn or Alabama and became the first player from his county to sign with an out-of-state SEC school.

"I just liked it here," he said. "I love Alabama and Auburn both. They are good programs, but they both had hard times."

The Tigers and Tide both are back on their feet now, but Adams has no regrets about his decision.

"I'm loving it here," he said.

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