The first thing a freshman Georgia Southern football player does when he arrives on campus is get his “before” picture taken.
The “after” picture comes after GSU director of strength and conditioning Tom Melton is done with him.
Last week, GSU’s entire freshman class reported to campus to begin B-term and round out the 2013 squad. Many already have begun participating in voluntary summer workouts.
Four signees — Bernard Dawson, William Bussey, Travosier Mitchell and Chris Jordan — enrolled early and started taking classes during A-term.
Dawson, who began working out with the team when he arrived, already looks different from his “before” photo.
“He came in at 226 (pounds) and now he’s 240. You’re talking about four or five weeks, and he’s already put on 14 pounds,” Melton said. “That kid’s going to look different just by the end of this summer.”
The GSU freshmen get integrated with the veterans in a hurry.
“(Head coach Jeff) Monken tells them, ‘As soon as you sign the letter of intent, you’re an Eagle,’” Melton said. “As soon as they get here, they’re part of the team. It’s not like in the old days when they got to camp and they didn’t know anyone, and they were just scared freshmen.”
Perhaps the biggest plus of combining the veterans with the freshmen at voluntary workouts is that the freshmen get a glimpse of what’s expected of them.
“Like I explained to them, ‘I want you guys to understand the work ethic we expect out of you from day one.’ They get here, and they see exactly what’s expected out of them,” Melton said. “They see what the other guys are doing, and they’ve got to try and match the intensity and the effort.”
Before anybody starts learning the systems and playbooks at GSU, they’ve got to learn how to work out.
“We’re pretty strict with technique. If you have good technique, you’ll be able to lift more in the long run, and you’ll do it safely,” Melton said. “This day and age, a lot of high schools are doing the same kinds of techniques we’re doing, but there’s still a lot to learn. We squat deeper than a lot of people do, things like that, but a lot of them can jump right in.”
Voluntary workouts will continue throughout the summer. Fall camp will begin officially in August.
GSU/ASU selected for ESPN3 game
Georgia Southern’s Oct. 26, game against Appalachian State in Boone, N.C., will be telecast online on ESPN3 as a part of the Southern Conference’s eight-game deal on 2013. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.