Spring practice, Day 5

Good morning, all-

We’re five practices through spring practice. Just two days after going 11 on 11 for about 100 plays at the Falcons’ facility in Flowery Branch, Tech put on the pads again and did a good bit of live hitting. The Jackets were in shorts and helmets the first two practices last week, then put on shoulder pads last Friday and could well be in full pads for the rest of the spring.

While doing the full-contact work potentially leads to scares like the one that defensive end Emmanuel Dieke got Monday, when the early enrollee down with a knee injury in 11-on-11 (Paul Johnson said he would be fine), it serves a few purposes. One, with a young team as the Jackets have, the players need as many reps as they can to develop. Second, watching players go against each other in game conditions is the best way for coaches to sort out the two-deep roster, which is a primary goal of spring practice. There’s only so much you can evaluate when players are in shorts and helmets doing bag drills.

Some notes from Monday’s practice. A group of players spent about 15 minutes at the start of practice handling kickoffs and punts, and the team also did some punt/punt return team work. Among the returners were Roddy Jones, Cooper Taylor, Jerrard Tarrant, Marcus Wright, DeRon Jasper, Daniel McKayhan, Quentin Sims and Embry Peeples. As was the case last year, there were plenty of starters working out on the punt team.

Center Nick McRae, who could challenge Dan Voss for the starting job, moved over to guard with the second team. Zach Fraysier worked at center Monday. Johnson said that was because guard Cord Howard was out. With Howard out, guard Zach Krish, a walk-on, moved to the first team, leaving a hole at guard on the second team. How long McRae stays at guard bears some watching.

Linebacker Sedric Griffin made a play that had the roughly 25 fans watching and many defensive players cheering. In 11 on 11 work, he penetrated the line of scrimmage to intercept a pitch from quarterback Jaybo Shaw in the backfield, a great piece of anticipation and quickness.

I watched the receivers work against the defensive backs in one on one drills for a little bit. Not surprsingly, the player who stood out the most was receiver Demaryius Thomas. He invariably got off the line without a problem, but the more impressive thing was that when he made a move, he almost always came out of it with another step on the cornerback. Other receivers might make a cut and would still have trouble getting separation. Not so with Thomas.

Defensive lineman Albert Rocker, who moved down from linebacker for spring practice, was working at defensive tackle. Rocker is listed at 6-1, 225, which is fine for a linebacker but not so a tackle. Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack and line coach Giff Smith both have said they’re going to rotate ends into the tackle spot over the course of spring to get a look at what they have.

A couple links:

Former Jacket TE Colin Peek making his debut at Alabama.

Dan Radakovich was honored back at his alma mater last weekend.

34 comments Add your comment

MinnesotaJacket

March 31st, 2009
8:13 am

So Bebe looks good which means that Nes got him the ball as well so thats a good sign on both sides. Offensive line is still banged up and thats going to be a big story for all of spring so hopefully new guys step into their roles.
Ken question for ya…did those punt returners drop any yesterday? Also do we have any walk-ons working at punter or some guys from last year?

Reebok

March 31st, 2009
8:22 am

I look forward to the day the Jackets are deep & talented enough that we don’t have to play a lot of starters on special teams. Too much chance for injury on a team that’s thin to begin with…

Ken Sugiura

March 31st, 2009
10:13 am

Minnesota- I didn’t see anyone drop any, although I was only watching when it was just kickers/punters and returners, so there wasn’t as much pressure.
There are a handful of walk-ons taking kicks and punts, essentially the same as last year, except for Mohamed Yahiaoui, who decided to not return to the team this spring. One of the challengers is Andy Elakman, who went to the same high school (Calhoun) as Scott Blair did.

Reebok-I don’t remember if I heard this from Paul Johnson or if it was a conclusion I drew, but I’m going to guess that there will always be at least some, if not many, starters or regulars, on special teams, just to increase the number of plays that the best players are on the field.

But, certainly, though, it’s a simple matter of numbers that as Tech builds depth, the pool of players that the coaches would want to use on special teams and not have a decline in talent would increase.

MinnesotaJacket

March 31st, 2009
10:18 am

I would like to see Roddy win the PR battle, and to have him and Marcus right on KO duties with their kind of speed. Ken has Wright put on any weight since last year from what you can tell? I mean I know he is a small guy anyways but still a little more size couldn’t hurt on him.
Also is the secondary looking any better so far..I mean I know it can’t be much worse from last years but I thought I would ask anyways haha

RAMBLE ON!!!

March 31st, 2009
10:45 am

Sedric Griffin was everywhere last year before he got hurt. He’s going to be awesome this year.

Where are you m?

March 31st, 2009
11:20 am

You’re slacking man…you used to be first on the list. LOL!

Thanks for the update…I’m anxious for someone to step up in the special teams [return] role. We haven’t had a good return man since Kelly Rhino.

THWG!

m

March 31st, 2009
11:36 am

Thank God And Greyhound that I’m Batsh*t crazy and Chan Gailey is gone. Wait where am I? Who are you people? What year is this and where are my pants? Oh…there they are…THANK GOD AND GREYHOUND I JUST FOUND MY PANTS!

Key-roy

March 31st, 2009
12:15 pm

Call me what ya want…..but im a GA sports fan…and if tech and win the ACC i’ll be happy….The triple option is so hard to defend…i wish the D’ couls step it up, but if not this year next year….CPJ is doing a good Job…and CMR needs to watch out, because some of the states talent will choose blue and gold over red and black

MinnesotaJacket

March 31st, 2009
12:37 pm

Kelly wasn’t exactly a GREAT return man but he was a RELIABLE return man…and because of last year I will settle for Reliabe if nothing else haha..
Hey Ken how is Tarrant looking and the rest of our corners looking as of now? Who is running with the first team in that area?

Zach

March 31st, 2009
1:08 pm

MinnesotaJacket, you bite your tongue! Kelley Rhino was a great punt returner. He might not have returned any to the house, but he has the most punt return yards in Georgia Tech history, second most in ACC history (would be the most if he wasn’t out his final two games with a sprained ankle). His senior season he returned 45 punts with just 2 fair catches. In spite of never fair catching the ball, he always caught it and averaged more than 10 yards per return. He was first-team all-ACC as a return specialist. Show some respect!

Zach

March 31st, 2009
1:18 pm

His 10.3 yards/return would have been 33rd best in the nation this year. His best year’s production of 515 return yards would have been second in the nation.

Zach

March 31st, 2009
1:20 pm

Tyler Melton made the list at 65th in yards/return at 5.73 and 86 total return yards.

Key-roy

March 31st, 2009
1:21 pm

Played against Rhino in highschool….dude was a bowling ball…didnt have much height…but was very stocky and stout…he could take blows and had great speed..forgot about him being second in ACC history….but give that to some good defenses tech had back during his days…and if im not mistaken…wasnt he a third generation tech player….and booooooooooooooooooooooooooooo MARIST mortal enemies to North springs…

R-Wreck

March 31st, 2009
1:29 pm

Key-roy, I appreciate your comments, but PLEASE, our colors are WHITE AND GOLD, not blue and gold. I for one hope I never see a blue jersey again, and I wish the Lady Jackets b’ball team would go gold also.

Zach

March 31st, 2009
1:30 pm

I don’t know about the good defenses in Rhino’s years. His first year was Joe Hamilton’s last year at Tech, and those were the days of playing catch-me-if-you-can football. We’d win games with scores of 52-45, 41-37 etc. I think that the defenses were a little better in 2000 and 2001 with Goose leading the offensive charge so those were decent years of Tech football. Poor guy had to play his senior season with Reggie Ball. Defense was adequate in 2002, though – except for the Ga game – ugh I’m still trying to forget that one!

Zach

March 31st, 2009
1:32 pm

The thing with Kelley to me was his fearlessness – always catching the ball with a player breathing down his neck, and his uncanny first step – he almost always made the first guy miss, and that’s how he got his yards. He wouldn’t outrun anybody, but he’d always get positive yardage.

Zach

March 31st, 2009
1:33 pm

not only was he 3rd generation, but the punt return record he holds was his father, Randy’s (3 time all-american, his name is prominent at the stadium) when he broke it.

EEJacket

March 31st, 2009
1:40 pm

I’m super excited about what Thomas can do for us next year, with him and Dwyer leading the offense we very well could have incredibly productive scoring combo. I’m not talking Oklahoma levels or anything, but there could be 55-65 touchdowns between the two of them.

Zach

March 31st, 2009
1:45 pm

I don’t know about 55-65 touchdowns between the two of them. I expect a highly productive offense but I expect that the touchdowns will be more spread out than that. Dwyer only had 13 touchdowns this year…

Key-roy

March 31st, 2009
1:47 pm

r-wreck…im sorry…i thought it was blue..but hey i was half right. The Acc is yours for the taking…and any national spotlight is good for the state..wish the dog fans would cheer for yall up until yall played and vice versa…thats how I am…..call me a fence sitter….but all my fav players have been on either Georgia or Georgia Tech, from Joe Hamilton, To Joe Burns, To big Eddie Washington, to Brooking to Hines Ward, to Robert Edwards, to my highschool teammeat and UGA legend Verron Haynes…I mean im just a fan of the STATE…regardless of what color u dawn at the next level, they all have GEORGIA in common

Ken Sugiura

March 31st, 2009
2:24 pm

Minnesota-i think one of the A-back spots is Roddy Jones’ to lose. I couldn’t tell you if Wright has put on weight. I’m not a great judge of that. I’ll see if I can find out.
the secondary looks okay so far. Jerrard Tarrant has made some nice plays back there, but it’s a pretty young group. I think the coaches feel like they’ve got a long ways to go.

MinnesotaJacket

March 31st, 2009
2:24 pm

Zach…man I dind’t say anything BAD about Kelly I used to love sitting watching the tube and saying to myself (there is no fn way he is not going to call a fair catch) thats what Im saying is he was 100% reliable in that posistion and I would love to have that 100% reliability again.

MinnesotaJacket

March 31st, 2009
2:26 pm

Ken after what UGA did to our secondary last year it can’t be much worse…I really think though if Reid and Tarrant can become better man on man corners it will allow Burnett and Coop to be able to have more influence to the run game and allow them to protect against the big game changing pass plays.

EEJacket

March 31st, 2009
3:32 pm

oh crap I thought dwyer had 20-some this year, my mistake, should’ve checked my facts first. Let’s revise that figure to say 35-45.

Big B CH 99

March 31st, 2009
3:46 pm

From what I know from last yr, the locks (skill positions) to start this Yr are: Josh @ QB, Dwyer @ B-Back, Roddy @ 1 A-Back, & BayBay @ WR. We should have more depth at the RB positions this yr, so that we can rotate more, I think (hope) we may see Dwyer line up some at A-back & in the slot to go along w/ his carries @ the B-Back spot. I also think that incoming Freshman Stephen Hill (who’s not goin’ thru Spring practice) has a good shot to start opposite BayBay at the other WR spot.

carober

March 31st, 2009
4:09 pm

I know it’s risky, but has there been any thought to allowing morgan burnett to do returns, even if only kickoffs?

cluett peabody

March 31st, 2009
5:02 pm

minnesota jacket. Can’t help but ask again. have you ever worked in GA? I used to work with a guy that was from Miami or somewhere in Fla., garduated from Tech worked in the area (Arrow shirts), got another job in minnesota and I haven’t heard from him since. If not sorry to bother you, just thought it a strange conincidence.

MinnesotaJacket

March 31st, 2009
5:15 pm

Haha…not a problem cluett…Nah Im actually an intern for a company that had a plant up in Minnesota. I am a student at Tech officially just taking a semester to get some work experience. (sorry if you had asked before…I do stay on this blog a pretty good bit but sometimes I get bored having to bypass all of the UGA SH** that gets on here and will skip who sections.)
Carober…I like the idea but also…if Roddy or Wright can step up and be the man it makes it much safer for us not having to risk Burnett any more than we have to.
Big B…I like your thinking which is why I love the addition of Allen because that gives Roddy and Dwyer a chance to go one on one with most likely a linebacker who has to cover them in the open field which will be hard for any linebacker.

Buzz29

March 31st, 2009
9:09 pm

I loved the excitement Rhino brought BUT don’t forget that he played when the “halo” rule was still in effect. He didn’t have to worry about a bone jarring hit nano seconds after catching the ball.

SugarHillDawg

March 31st, 2009
9:22 pm

Did anyone catch a pass during today’s practice?I hope no one broke a heel trying to run out there.

Timeouts?

March 31st, 2009
9:44 pm

Hey SugarHillDawg-
How many injuries do your pansy players have ALREADY? Christ, do you kids do ANY conditioning? Seriously

hey there sugarhilldouche

March 31st, 2009
11:57 pm

were you in athens for all 409 of those tech rushing yards this year? wow, what a miserable day that must have been for you. i’m glad!

RT

April 1st, 2009
9:49 am

What about the kicking game? Will we be able to kick a FG outside the 20?

chuck allison

April 1st, 2009
11:12 am

Who is blue and gold? Those are not Tech’s primary colors. We are (1) White and (2) Gold. Navy blue is the tertiary color, but no way are we Blue and Gold.