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Former Georgia Bulldog David Andrews receives an honor


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Wrote a feature on him his rookie year:


The Boston Herald

September 20, 2015 Sunday 
All Editions

Just the will to work; 
Rookie Andrews earning his place


SECTION: SPORTS; Football-Patriots; Pg. 16 Vol. 33 No. 263

LENGTH: 833 words

FOXBORO - David Andrews was ramping up his conditioning for his freshman year at the University of Georgia in the late winter, early spring of 2011.

Marc Khedouri, the athletic director at the Wesleyan School, had Andrews pulling a 45-pound weight under a 25-pound weight on a sled.

It's not an uncommon workout technique, but it has a common outcome: The pure exhaustion when the athlete can't pull any longer and the inevitable fall to the ground.

Andrews hit that wall of exhaustion, hit the turf and stayed there.

And sort of laid there, spent, according to Khedouri. Not milking it per se, but not even making an effort to get up.

Khedouri was not pleased. In fact, it kind of ticked him off, and he wanted to brand that anger into Andrews' psyche the best he could.

So he took a picture. It's not a flattering one.

'I said, 'David, I never want to see that again,' ' Khedouri said. ' 'You stand tall always. No matter how hard it is, no matter what people are throwing at you, stand tall.' '

According to Khedouri, Andrews just said 'yes, sir,' and got up.

It was an image to both remember and not repeat.

'Don't put your hands on your knees,' Khedouri said, echoing a mantra most every good football coach preaches. 'Stand up. Always. You never let people see that you're tired.'

Ring the bell

Perhaps Khedouri was more used to yelling 'get off the mat' when he saw that kind of quit, imagining a referee calling a fight. With an avocation in jiu jitsu, mixed martial arts and boxing, Khedouri also trained Andrews in the ring.

'We did things that tested David's endurance, but also his intestinal fortitude, his willingness to stick with something,' Khedouri said. 'That's really more than the physical training, I wanted to push him and see how far he was willing to go and how hard he was willing to work.'

In the ring, though, it was more about technique. Andrews was roughly 275 pounds toward the end of high school - big, but not quite gargantuan compared to the defensive tackles he'd see every week in the SEC. And although size isn't necessarily the most important component for a center, it does count for something if the player lining up inches from your face is 30-50 pounds heavier.

'I knew that because David was always going to be a little bit undersized, needed to have great technique . . . every great offensive lineman has great technique,' said Khedouri of Andrews, who played at closer to 300 with the Bulldogs. 'A lot of that is the ability to use your hands and quickness. The way it panned out is his parents were going to give him a special gift for Christmas (of 2009) and he got all excited. When he opened (up the box) and it was a pair of boxing gloves.

'That was not what he was expecting.'

It's not an uncommon training method, but Khedouri employed it in a football-specific way.

'I'll stand in front of him, he stands behind me and he'll throw punches like he's backing up, like he's pass blocking,' he said. 'We're trying to work drills even in boxing that mirror the same movements that he makes in football. So his hands are in the same place, they're coming away from his body at the same angles and at some different angles, but he's almost staying in his football stance the whole time.

'We're kind of . . . customized cross training is about the best way I can say it.'

Wrapping tape around his wrists in the Patriots' locker room last week, Andrews said, 'it kind of worked on hand-eye coordination and it's something I enjoyed doing. If you enjoy it, it's a great way to get a workout in.'

It helped with what's referred to as an initial punch, where the lineman can lock on to a defender's pads and hold a block.

'We don't like a lot of live (sparring). I mean, I'm 190 pounds and he's 300,' Khedouri said. 'I do throw live punches at him and he'll throw live punches back at me. It's not a full-on sparring session, per se, but it is a lot of live work because in addition to punching, I want him to learn defensive skills. If somebody were to grab you and get inside control, you're going to hit their hands off the same way you would block a punch.'

Staying on the field

Once Andrews landed the starting job at Georgia, he didn't let go of it, making 40 consecutive starts.

Kolton Houston, a linemate at Georgia and training partner going back to the 10th grade, was never among those surprised by Andrews making the NFL despite going undrafted.

Nor was Houston surprised that Andrews could take a leadership position in his first game.

'He looked forward to getting better,' Houston said.'He wasn't a big complaining guy. He looked forward to getting better. And another thing was, everybody on the team loved him. I think the other part about being a leader on a team is to get everybody to love you and follow you.

'David, he didn't demand that attention, but he got that attention. That's what helped him so much.'

In the season opener, Andrews was the only Patriots offensive lineman to play every snap. He looked much better than he did in that picture Khedouri took.

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