Good morning, all-
Apologies. Thought I’d posted at 7, but actually didn’t.
Got some notes from Tuesday’s practice and the long-awaited update on the kicking game.
- “Wolf” linebacker Cooper Taylor did some light running with a sleeve on his left knee
- With the Monday practice moved to Tuesday, I’d guess about 50 players made it to practice. The rest missed because of classes, as Larry wrote in the notebook. Linebacker Brad Jefferson, B-back Jonathan Dwyer, safeties Morgan Burnett and Dominique Reese were among those who arrived late or didn’t make it at all. It was so light, in fact, that when the quarterbacks split up to do drills with the wide receivers or the backs, quarterbacks coach Brian Bohannon had to take some reps.
- After injuring his left shoulder Saturday, quarterback Josh Nesbittt had a gold jersey on, meaning that he wasn’t to be hit.
- The defense worked on adjusting defensive fronts when offenses use motion, and some blitzes. It’s an interesting drill. The coaches set up five garbage cans, representing offensive linemen, and then have extra players pose as backs and receivers, and defensive coordinator Dave Wommack is the quarterback. The players line up in various spots or go in motion, and the defense has to adjust accordingly. Then, at the snap, the defensive linemen rush through the different gaps between the garbage cans according to how the different line stunts are called.
- Paul Johnson said that in the T-Day Game, it’ll be No. 1 offense and No. 2 defense vs. No. 2 offense and No. 1 defense, so the first teams will go against the first teams and the second teams will do likewise. There will be field goals and extra points with no rush and punts with fair catches.
So onto the kicking game. I’ll caution that I’m not sure there’s a ton I can say as far as “Scott Blair has been kicking the tar out of the ball” or “Chandler Anderson’s hang time is up by at least .2 seconds.” The team hasn’t really done much work on live field goal work. Mostly, Blair, Anderson and the other kickers/punters have been left to themselves except for when they’ve participated in the kickoff and punt return drills, which Tech has worked on a good bit. On the occasions I’ve watched Blair, he looks like he’s been kicking it pretty well. Mike Sewak, the o-line coach who oversees kicks, punts and snappers, noted that he has the most explosion, the most height and the most distance of any of the kickers.
I talked to Blair Tuesday – it’s in the notebook – and he gave some insight into how things were going.
“Going into spring, I was pretty well prepared. I was actually kicking really well, punting really well, just being real competitive in practice, trying to kick further, I got in a little slump in the middle of spring practice, and I’m starting to get out of it now,” he said.
He also said he was mostly working on kicks between the 30 and 40 and was starting to focus on his kicks in the low 40’s.
I imagine it might be a little unsatisfying to some of you that he’s limiting his kicks – about 20 per day, he said – when you might think the answer would be to practice until his leg fell off, given that he was 12 for 19 last season. But I’ll say this about Blair. He’s not an excuse maker and I think he knows his game and his leg a bit better than I do and, I assume, better than you do, as well.
It sounds like Tech will bring in preferred walk-ons to challenge Blair in the fall, which it sounds like when the competition will start. Brady Biggers, a kicker/punter from Walton who was named to the Touchdown Club of Atlanta’s all-metro team, will be among them.
(You may wonder why Tech didn’t offer a scholarship to any kickers. The answer is that few schools do. First, the supply of kickers is so great that coaches don’t see a need to do so. Further, like other positions, good kickers in high school don’t always translate to good college kickers, so coaches don’t like using a scholarship on a kicker if he turns out to be a bust, because then he’s on your hands for four years. Generally, teams will wait to see who pans out and then put him on scholarship.)
Blair said he also knew of a punter from Florida.
Said Blair, “If he beats me out, he beats me out. It’ll be really good competition.”
I’d imagine that coaches probably wouldn’t mind it if someone beat out Blair for either kickoffs, field goals or punts. As I quoted Sewak as saying in the notebook, “[Blair] might be really superior if you let him do one or two (instead of all three).”
Not related to football
Tech beat Georgia in baseball in Athens Tuesday night.
Derrick Favors will sign his letter of intent this afternoon at 1 p.m. at South Atlanta High School. Larry will be there and should have something up online in the afternoon.
What say you?