Over the past couple of weeks, three members of Georgia’s strength and conditioning program have left the program. This wasn’t a mutiny or a housecleaning. John Kasay came out of retirement in a part-time role to help establish Joe Tereshinski’s program a year ago. With that mission accomplished, Kasay is returning to retirement. Longtime strength assistant Keith Gray took an opportunity to work with an NFL program. And Thomas Brown has been offered a chance to start his coaching career.
That leaves the Dawgs with three men working on the conditioning program: Tereshinski, Tony Gilbert, and Rex Bradberry. New NCAA legislation limits the size of the strength and conditioning staff to five, so the Dawgs currently have two vacancies.
It’s an important time of the year for conditioning, and not just because mat drills are back in the news. This is one of the few times during the academic year when the team can focus primarily on conditioning. It’ll be spring practice time soon, and in just over two months the team will split for summer break. Of course most, if not all, will be in Athens a good portion of the summer, but the focus then will increasingly turn to preparation for the season. This is the time when a lot of the offseason strength devlopment occurs.
With two vacancies on the staff, Tereshinski has some options for the direction of the strength program. There were obvious results from the changes he put into place last year, but the job isn’t complete. Georgia still faded at the end of several games. That’s not a knock against Tereshinski; no one was expecting Georgia to be among the best-conditioned programs in the nations within a year. It’s a reminder that the job isn’t done.
It’s also an opportunity to expand the scope of the program. It’s one thing to bring the team up to a certain level of strength and maintain that. Tereshinski and Kasay were the right men to bring back that attitude of toughness that led to so many of last year’s offseason gains. Michigan State’s defensive line showed us that the team can always stand to be stronger. But there are also other areas – endurance, speed, and agility – where strength and toughness alone are only part of the story.
With respect to former players Gilbert and Bradberry, Tereshinski’s staff could use an injection of professional talent. Tereshinski has done much to get up to speed with modern techniques and methods, but there’s another world of professionals who are teaching those methods daily. You only have to look around at some of the groups and trainers players seek out during the offseason and prior to NFL workouts to learn who some of the more respected names are in the industry.
We wish the three members of the staff that are leaving well, but their departure opens up a chance for Tereshinski to add skills and experience that were missing from his program. The athletic admininstration has pledged that they’ll give the program the resources it needs, and this is a big area of need to continue and to build on the gains made in the past year.