August 9, 2009

Weston said heat a blessing

When you're 6-foot-5 and 320 pounds, pushing through a sweltering Georgia summer on the football practice field isn't exactly easy.

Couple that with the fact your position coach is barking orders like a Parris Island drill sergeant, it makes for about as a grueling two or three hours as one can possibly endure.

Kade Weston wouldn't have it any other way.

Already, Weston and the Bulldogs have heard about the oppressive conditions that supposedly await them when they travel to Stillwater, Okla. for the season-opener against Oklahoma State.

Temperatures on the playing surface at Boone Pickens Stadium are being predicted to be anywhere between 110 and 120 degrees, hot enough to fry an egg or bring a big defensive tackle to his knees.

But Weston said the Bulldogs will be ready.

"The coaches, especially the strength coaches, did a great job in the summer of not having us work out in the morning and work out in the middle of the day when it's hot," Weston said. "You can tell a difference when you're out there. If we had been working out in the morning then workout out like we are now, you'd be seeing a lot of cramps. But we've really had nobody I.V. or cramp up. It's tough to have to practice in this heat, but it's going to help a lot."

Mother Nature has certainly been helping in that regard.

Afternoon temperatures during practice have averaged in the mid-90s, including Saturday's workout in shells when the thermometer on the field read 96 sweltering degrees.

That wasn't always the case last August, which was unusually cool by Georgia standards, a fact Weston said may have hurt the Bulldogs early on.

"If you look at the first game (against Georgia Southern) we had a lot of guys' cramp up and I.V.," Weston said. "This year I think it will be different by working in this heat in the middle of the day. If we go out there and cramp up now there's something wrong because this heat here is no joke."

Freshmen defensive tackles Abry Jones and Derrick Lott (currently out with a hyper-extended elbow) haven't been laughing.

The two youngsters have feeling heat of a different kind. Not only did the pair have to push hard to make it through their first week of college camp, but getting used to Coach (Rodney) Garner's demands was also an eye-opener that both had to endure.

"We're trying to get the young guys in tune with how it's going to be with the full-pad practice (Monday) because when you put on the pads, it's full tilt; it's flying bullets," Weston said. "Coach Garner is going to be Coach Garner; he's going to get on you. Sometimes it seems like he'll find something to get on you about but he'll do that to everybody. When you're younger I know it seems like he's always on you, but that's something everybody goes through. Overall, I think they're doing pretty good."

Weston's feels Kwame Geathers will be alright, too.

Geathers finally arrived in Athens Friday after finally getting the OK from the NCAA Clearinghouse, and worked out in shorts, the first of five acclimation days he must complete before joining the rest of the team for regular workouts.
"When I came to Georgia I came the beginning of July and had a little more time. He just got here a day or two ago and it really tough to come in here, put a helmet on and start working out," Weston said. "We've been working all summer, but when you get out here and put a helmet on its feels different. It's tough."

NOTE: Weston said his right knee is now 100 percent after undergoing MCL surgery prior to last year to repair a torn meniscus. "There have been no after-effects after the practice at all. The doctors did a good job with the surgery and trainers did a good job with my rehab. I'm ready to go."

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