August 4, 2010

Figgins ready to get back into the fray

Sweat poured off the face of Bruce Figgins as he strolled out of the elevator leading into the rotunda inside the Butts-Mehre Building.

Along with his fellow tight ends, Figgins was still feeling the effects of a grueling afternoon practice, much of which was spent on the team's artificial turf field.

He wasn't complaining though, mind you.

After sitting out last season while he recovered from shoulder surgery, Figgins is back and anxious to re-gain his niche at a position, which along with Aron White, Orson Charles and Arthur Lynch, is already blessed with outstanding depth.

"Each individual has added something to the pot," Figgins said. "For Day 2 it looked real good. We're all veterans, so it's not about teaching new things, it's about getting better and honing up the skills we've got."

It's this wealth of tight end talent that no doubt brings a gleam to quarterback Aaron Murray's eyes.

Charles is coming off a freshman campaign which saw him finish as the team's third-leading receiver with 23 catches for 374 yards and three touchdowns with White chipping in with 13 grabs for 194 yards and four scores.

Lynch and Figgins are known more for their blocking abilities, but coaches are working to get both integrated more into the passing game as evidenced in the G-Day game when Lynch caught two balls for 51 yards and a score.

How will the four be implemented this fall? Charles laughed not to ask him.

"Man, I don't know," Charles said. "I know Coach (Mike) Bobo and Coach (John) Lilly have told us we all bring something different that Georgia needs. I think they're just going to throw us all out there."

Figgins agreed that each member of the quartet probably does bring something different to the table.

"Orson is probably the fastest tight end that we have. He's got a great size and is a great receiver, but he's shown a lot of improvement with his blocking. He's made it his business to become a complete player," Figgins said. "Aron does a little bit of everything. He's done a great job the past two days of catching everything that's thrown to him. He's another who has great speed and can stretch a defense."

As for himself and Lynch, Figgins said it would be a mistake to simply pigeonhole the two as simply blocking tight ends.

"I add a lot to the blocking, but I've been working with Orson on my routes without the ball and working with (Murray) to get my timing right, to get my depth and push it where I need to push it," Figgins said. "Arthur is doing real well on both parts of his game as well. He's working on his footsteps as far as blocking and he's been working extra with the quarterbacks. He's doing work after pass skeleton and trying to be more of a receiving threat."

Charles said it's the goal of all four tight ends to become more well-rounded performers.

"I don't want to be known as just a pass-catching tight end," Charles said. "I want to be a total tight end, somebody who can block, but also slip off the line of scrimmage and catch passes, somebody like a Dustin Keller or a Kellen Winslow."

It's a smaller version of Figgins who will take the field for the season-opener against Louisiana-Lafayette.

After weighing as much as 268 pounds, Figgins said he's trimmed down to 260 and hopes to get to 255 before the start of the year.

"Coach Lilly has been on me about getting my weight down. He says I didn't look bad, but he thinks I can move quicker," Figgins said. "Keith Gray (assistant strength coach) has worked with me every day and I make sure I do extra stuff before and after practice. It's been a big focus. Even my mom calls me every day asking how much I weigh."



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