Slimmer Stafford makes impression

ATHENS, Ga. --- Companies constantly roll out new product lines to entice consumers to open their wallets.

Television networks unveil fresh programming each fall to lure viewers.

This season, Georgia's offense will send out Matthew Stafford -- version 3.0.

The 6-foot-3 quarterback has undergone a physical transformation. The junior weighs 225 to 228 pounds, about 10 pounds less than last season.

"I'm probably in the best condition in my life, I guess," Stafford said. "It's good being able to be confident that I'm in good shape and that my feet are fast. Hopefully, it will translate onto the field."

His dedication sent a signal to coaches about how serious he is about a team expected to contend for the national title.

"It matters and it shows the coaching staff and your teammates your focus," coach Mark Richt said. "To get in that kind of condition, it takes work, it takes discipline, it takes sacrifice. It takes a focus."

Stafford's summer included working the Manning Quarterback Camp in Louisiana -- where he said he worked out twice with Peyton and Eli -- and the Elite 11 Quarterback Camp in Southern California.

Former Ohio State quarterback Kirk Herbstreit, an ESPN analyst, gushed about Stafford after seeing him at the Elite 11.

"It's hard for me to imagine a better looking physical specimen in simply getting back and distributing the football than Matthew Stafford," Herbstreit said.

Backup quarterback Joe Cox, Stafford's close friend, said part of Stafford's secret is living with Fred Munzenmaier, a fullback described as a "health freak and big meat head in the weight room.

"He cooks up all the meals," Cox said. "They eat right."

Stafford might weigh less than last season, but don't go by just the numbers on the scale.

"That seems like seven, eight, 10 pounds less, but his body looks different, too," offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. "The baby fat is gone and he's trimmed down. He really looks good. It's growing up. He's not 18. Now he's 20."

Bobo said that Stafford should be able to move better.

"You definitely notice it," tailback Knowshon Moreno said. "Definitely his whole figure changed from when he first got here. He definitely slimmed down and got in shape. It's definitely awesome to see him in that position."

Reach Marc Weiszer at marc.weiszer@morris.com.

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