When Ben Watson called Arthur Lynch and asked him to meet for lunch, the Georgia freshman thought somebody was pulling his leg.
It was no joke.
After some initial convincing, Lynch realized it was indeed the former Bulldog and current tight end for the New England Patriots who wanted to meet and offer some helpful hints before the Massachusetts native arrived in Athens for summer workouts.
"We met up about two weeks before I left for here," Lynch said. "He still texts me from time to time. He gives me pointers, things I can look for, things to expect. He's helped me out a lot."
Watson isn't the only one guiding Lynch through his first season with the Bulldogs.
The tight end fraternity at Georgia is a close-knit group, one that besides Watson includes Martrez Miler, Randy McMichael and Leonard Pope, a total of four Mark Richt-era players with experience in the NFL.
"(Watson) told me the biggest adjust from high school to college is the physical adjustment, because it's completely different. From college to the NFL, it's not so much physical, just more mental," said Lynch, who has also talked recently with former Bulldog tight end Tripp Chandler. "The biggest question I had coming in was could I hang in physically with these guys, but once I learned that I could, I just made myself go full-speed. I think I've come along well."
Apparently, Richt agrees.
While fellow freshman Orson Charles has received considerable more ink than Lynch, Richt assures that both players will receive ample playing time, beginning with next week's season-opener at Oklahoma State.
"Artie and Orson are both getting a lot of reps in practice," Richt said. "We're training both of them on just about every special teams we can and plan on playing for us; in some scrimmage downs, too."
Lynch's workload is all but guaranteed.
With junior Bruce Figgins suspended the first six games for breaking team rules, Lynch, Charles and starter Aron White will be the top three players in the rotation at the position, particularly now since Richt announced Tuesday that a chronic foot condition has ended the career of redshirt freshman Bryce Ros.
"I used to be real hard on myself, but I've learned to let things go if something happens and move on. I'll be all right," Lynch said. "I feel I've got the playbook down so now I can go full speed, make the most of my reps in practice."
Although he's learning the same routes as Charles and White, the 255-pound Lynch said his main responsibilities will center on his blocking.
That's just fine with him.
"I hope to catch some passes, but my first duty is blocking. That's what a tight end does," Lynch said. "You can catch 80 balls, but if you can't block they're not going to put you out there."
Lynch said he's making progress in that regard.
Although he admits to there still being some issues with footwork, that's an aspect of his game he believes is also beginning to improve.
"The first couple of days it was tough. Once I get my footwork down, it's going to make things a lot easier," he said. "Now, I'm just trying to be physical and get low on my blocks. But once I get my footwork down and start crossing my feet when I make a block, I believe I'll start to make a big impact."
Having Figgins as an on-the-field coach certainly hasn't hurt.
In fact, Lynch credits the Columbus native for giving him daily pointers that he said will have him ready to go Sept. 5.
"With Bruce, all you've got to do is watch. He gives pointers all the time but if you just watch his football, the way he uses his hands you'll learn a lot," Lynch said. "He's got very strong hand and a good punch when he comes out (of his stance). I just watch and try to imitate his game. I'm quite as big as Bruce is, but you can learn a lot just by watching him and that's what I'm trying to do."
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