The Georgia football program has bolstered its strength and conditioning program with two hires, including the man who used to run the strength program at Penn State under Joe Paterno.
John Thomas, who had been at Penn State for 20 years, is starting at UGA in a week. He will work with strength and conditioning coordinator Joe Tereshinski.
"Coach T is kind of a strength, explosive, endurance guy. And John is a little bit more of a high-intensity training kind of guy," head coach Mark Richt said.
In addition Sherman Armstrong has been hired as the speed coach. Armstrong has been working in the Tampa Bay area training track athletes at all levels.
"One of the things we really felt like we needed to bolster within our strength and conditioning program is the element of speed," Richt said. "Now our players are going to have one of the best in the country in that regard to be in there in-house all the time training these guys. He's already been here a week or so. The guys are kind of buzzing about the excitement ... We feel with the diversity of this strength staff we're going to be able to fill every need."
There were openings on the staff after Keith Gray left for the Philadelphia Eagles, and Thomas Brown left to become an assistant coach at UT-Chattanooga. John Kasay Sr., who had been with the staff on a part-time role, also left.
Former Georgia player Tony Gilbert remains on the strength staff.
Richt also talked more about why mat drills were gone last year, but have returned this spring.
"If you're doing it three times a week while you're trying to lift, it takes away from the eight hours you're allowed to lift and also it breaks down the body. So a year ago we just went strictly to try to get more strong and more mass and more lean muscle mass throughout the season. And we did that. We accomplished that, we got some of the bigger, stronger guys ... in the country," Richt said.
"Now what we want to do, what we did this year, we re-instated our mat drills. We do them once a week instead of three times a week. We got what we wanted out of the mat drill program ... There are so many things involved with that mat program that we felt like we wanted to get back involved in."