Spring practice begins soon

While we wait for the white smoke to appear over the Edge Center, signaling a new basketball coach has been hired, one could almost be forgiven for overlooking the start of spring practice on Monday.

I’m working on my preview now, which will appear in the paper either on Sunday or Monday, and wanted to survey you, the fans.

It strikes me that Tech has three big issues on offense: who will run the ball, throw the ball and catch the ball?

That’s all?

The competition will be interesting because it seems to be between two people at quarterback, four people at B-back, and two, maybe three, at wide receiver. Is that enough competition to provide the killer instinct that the team seemed to be missing last season?

We shall see.

At quarterback, Tevin Washington and Synjyn Days will go head to head. Vad Lee won’t arrive until later in the summer. David Sims will be in the mix, but he will also be working out at other positions. Washington started four games last season after Joshua Nesbitt suffered a broken arm against Virginia Tech. Washington won one game and had an on-again, off-again level of confidence. He looked bad against Miami, good against Duke and Georgia, bad against Air Force. Some of that can be chalked up to his inexperience. Some of that can also be chalked up to the mental mistakes by teammates that hampered the entire season.

But look at the progress that Joshua Nesbitt made in year 2 running the offense to gauge how Washington could do this year. Nesbitt increased his per-game total offense by 60 yards to 195.6 in 2009. Washington averaged 108.4 yards per game last season.

Days ran a similar offense in high school before taking over scout-team duties during the fall. He worked with the first team some during Tech’s Independence Bowl preparations.

B-back may be the most interesting battle this spring because, unlike the past three years, there is no clear favorite. Richard Watson, Preston Lyons, Charles Perkins and Sims will fight to see who will replace Anthony Allen. Watson was the No. 2 back toward the end of last season, but had just 10 carries to Lyon’s 14. Combined, they didn’t crack 100 yards. Perkins red-shirted last season after working out A-back during August’s practices. Sims, who has played quarterback the past two seasons, try a few different positions in the spring, including B-back. Johnson has rarely gone with a B-back-by-committee approach in his 14 seasons as a head coach, usually relying on no more than two guys to handle the bulk of the carries.

Who will catch the ball? There are eight wide receivers on the spring roster. Three caught passes last season. Stephen Hill, the leading receiver, had 15 receptions for 291 yards and three touchdowns. Tyler Melton, the third-leading wide receiver, had six receptions for 99 yards. Unfortunately, Hill and Melton also combined for quite a few drops. So, while it’s easy to assume that Hill and Melton will be the starters, it’s also easy to see that the coaches may take a long look at some of the other players, as long as they show they can effectively block.

The A-backs are the wildcards in this run-catch conundrum. Once again, the position is deep. Roddy Jones, Embry Peeples, Orwin Smith, Marcus Wright and B.J. Bostic lead a parade of returnees. But which one will show in the spring that they can provide a big-play, touchdown threat that the team just couldn’t consistently find last year? Smith seems to have the most potential. He averaged 9.7 yards per run last season and was the team’s second-leading receiver (12 catches, 195 yards). Bostic got the crowd on its feet the few times he touched the ball. He’s not as stocky (170 pounds) as the other A-backs; his blocking is a question mark.

What do you think, who are you most looking forward to see in this competition?

We’ll look at the defense later this week.

- Doug Roberson, AJC

158 comments Add your comment

Jacket Backer

March 22nd, 2011
5:05 pm

Got to find a QB. I hope Days or Lee are the real deal. I’m just not sold on Washington. Glad football is back!

Go Jackets!!

Old Gold

March 22nd, 2011
5:09 pm

gt has put the buZZZZzzzzz back into college football

Buzz Me

March 22nd, 2011
5:10 pm

I sure hope CPJ isn’t turning into Paul Hewitt but it seems so. Hope this season proves me wrong.

True Tech

March 22nd, 2011
5:17 pm

CPJ is no Paul Hewitt. Offense will be fine. Just need the D to catch up. Will be OK :)

GT65

March 22nd, 2011
5:18 pm

Get a grip Buzz Me. Coach Johnson will right the ship.

GT65

March 22nd, 2011
5:42 pm

Does anyone know where Keith Brooking works out?

GT hulk

March 22nd, 2011
5:57 pm

Do we have someone that can fair-catch a punt? Hope this Vad Lee or Days is the man, no confidence in Washington.

DoakBoyGT

March 22nd, 2011
5:58 pm

Deon Hill at A-Back could also be in the mix

ManUp...

March 22nd, 2011
6:13 pm

I just wanna see these guys get nasty. Watch blocks laid by Bay Bay a couple seasons ago on the perimeter and the ones Anthony Allen and Marcus Wright used to put on people (yeah, Wright’s short, but he flipped dudes over on blocks all the time.) If our A-backs and receivers can do that and then hold onto the ball when it’s pitched or passed to them we’ll be WAY better off. Not so worried about B-back. Allen developed well there, but one day we’ll get someone who runs in an attacking style like Ingram or Lattimore (of the ESSeeSEE, yawl!) and if it’s Perkins or someone else who can do that this season then we may not need to pass much. I guess the biggest thing I want to see is our offense and defense begin to gain a real bloodlust in terms of putting the other jerseys on the ground. Forget Technology, viscious blocking and tackling is a fine art – poetry in motion. We need it. If they get nasty this season, it really doesn’t matter who’s under center. Under Johnson we seem to have the offensive talent to make stuff happen. Let’s just see some rage and go from there.

Go Jackets!

ManUp...

March 22nd, 2011
6:20 pm

By the way, I write all that knowing that CPJ has planned since the middle of last season to put the fire into this team from Day One of Spring practice. I personally CANNOT WAIT till T-DAY (April 23rd, be there, people!) to see the young guns. It’s their team now, so they’ll define the new attitude.

Also, with the really good home schedule this year (all three of our named rivals plus Maryland and UNC home in The Dodd) whoever said GT Football was not gonna be exciting needs to wake up and tune in or miss out on some of the most explosive Southern college ball there is. New energy will bring more W’s plain and simple. The coaches are top notch, so I’m not worried (except that whatever a McKayhan is better not come near a return ball ever again.) Seriously, I expect a great season.

GT Anchorage

March 22nd, 2011
6:27 pm

I agree completely, ManUp…

Gen. Forrest

March 22nd, 2011
6:29 pm

I was thinking of Hill there also. I’m kind of thinking that Lee at QB and Days at A-back could be quite interesting too. That would open up some VERY tricky offensive possibilities, with essentially 2 QB/RB hybrids in the backfield at the same time! I could see some flea-flickers and some Trip-op stuff where the A-back out on the edge has the option to throw downfield to an uncovered receiver. The possibilities are endless with a tandem like that, IF they turn out to be any where near as good as the hype. From what I’ve witnessed, Mr. Days is the real deal. If Mr. Lee is half as good as reported things could get quite interesting on the flats. Realistically though, I see Days at QB and Lee red-shirting this year, unless another QB steps up. I just don’t have confidence in Washington as a QB (which is entirely unfair to the kid, but I just feel that way. Sorry!) — BUT he is another A-back possibility. We’ll have to wait and see how the spring goes, but I expect Lee or Days to be under center for the next few years.

Hpocrite Police

March 22nd, 2011
6:30 pm

Wait, wait, wait…….

don’t you guys make fun of UGA fans for being excited about their team this time of year?????

I better not hear another word of positivity on this blog or I’m declaring it hypocritical.

5150 UOAD

March 22nd, 2011
6:32 pm

I cannot wait to hear what Vad Lee does in spring practice!! He will be our savior!!

Supersize that order, mutt

March 22nd, 2011
6:34 pm

Doug, any truth to the rumor that CPJ has already told Vad Lee that he will most likely be the starting QB in the fall?

Thanks,

-Super

Ryan Kaczmarski

March 22nd, 2011
6:35 pm

“That would open up some VERY tricky offensive possibilities, with essentially 2 QB/RB hybrids in the backfield at the same time! I could see some flea-flickers and some Trip-op stuff where the A-back out on the edge has the option to throw downfield to an uncovered receiver. The possibilities are endless with a tandem like that.”

THAT is why us UGA fans make fun of you.

GO DAWGS!!!!

gtfanfrom1951

March 22nd, 2011
6:37 pm

I think S. Davis will be QB and Perkins will be b-back. I hope M. Wright is able to bounce back this Roddy Jones return to 2008 level. CPJ will need push this team hard but 8 or 9 wins this year. Go Jackets

gtfanfrom1951

March 22nd, 2011
6:38 pm

Letter Jacket

March 22nd, 2011
6:38 pm

I am also hoping GT finds a new quarterback, Tevin played like a Division 1-AA QB. I remember seeing David Sims scoring a TD on the one drive he was allowed to run vs. SC St. He looked like a great athlete, almost another Nesbitt. I hope he plays and starts somewhere.

MARK PRICE IS MY CHOICE AND THAT WILL NEVER CHANGE

go Jackets

ManUp...

March 22nd, 2011
6:38 pm

HP, I mean…as a Tech fan who hates negative fans in general I’d say you’re not helping anything. If your for the Dawgs, then sure we’ll snicker at you and talk smack, but go ahead and be excited. The way I see it, if you’re not excited about just being on campus and watching the sport you love at the school you love then why would you get on a blog about it? I don’t think the AJC blogs are ever positive enough. I love the Jackets. Go love whoever it is you love.

Gen Forrest, I like your style, sir. Very CPJ-esque. If those kids could game like that then your suggested play style would be about as brass-bald as it gets.

Go Jackets!

RambleOn84

March 22nd, 2011
6:38 pm

After we ran for so many yards against Georgia, I feel great about this year!!!

Supersize that order, mutt

March 22nd, 2011
6:39 pm

Ryan, mutts like you don’t understand that Tech owns UGA in every sport besides football, and even in football it is a close series historically.

Ryan Kaczmarski

March 22nd, 2011
6:44 pm

61-39-5 is close??

If you want to use that logic, then we “OWN” Florida in football too. We still “own” that overall record.

ManUp...

March 22nd, 2011
6:45 pm

Can we not make this about the rivalry, guys? Discuss the Jackets. If you care about UGA vs. Tech then go watch the baseball game. Starts in about 15 minutes on CSS. We come in at 17-4 and 6-0 in the ACC while they’re kinda middling so far. But I think if you’re here you oughta realize by now that these blogs don’t have to be all “Clean Old Fashioned Hate” all the time if you just discuss the topic at hand. It’s as simple to me as emphasizing the “Go Jackets” over the “Boo whomever else” mentality.

Supersize that order, mutt

March 22nd, 2011
6:47 pm

whatever Ryan.

Supersize that order, mutt

March 22nd, 2011
6:49 pm

And Ryan, why are mutts like you and ManUp on a GT board anyway????

Deuce Coupe

March 22nd, 2011
6:52 pm

Orwin Smith has a chance to be a great player for GT,

ManUp...

March 22nd, 2011
6:53 pm

Wow, Supersize, completely uncalled for. Sorry you disagree with me, but I’m about to graduate from Tech in about a month and half. I happen to be 100% serious about my stance on talking about the rivalry 24-7. Go anywhere else on the internet and it’s ten times happier than the AJC blogs. The reason is we’re all about hating on eachother and we respond to every troll from any other team who ever comes across the board. I’m just suggesting we ignore them. Besides, how could I be a Dawg fan and write those other posts? (scroll up and read…I’m a Jacket from birth).

collegeballfan

March 22nd, 2011
6:54 pm

I am not that interested in the QB, the WR, the A Backs or the B Backs. I am interested in who on the offensive line will block. Not attempt to block, but actually block. Block on run plays and block on pass plays.

Last season blocking was a real problem.

ManUp...

March 22nd, 2011
6:55 pm

I agree, O-line is a big “?” in my mind for now. Sean Bedford may be a bigger loss than we realize.

Phil mcgroin

March 22nd, 2011
6:56 pm

Vad lee will not be at spring practice folks. He is still in highschool! He will be here to compete in august for fall practice. He will not start this year either. He will redshirt and learn this system. The future looks bright at QB for us but we may still take some lumps there this season. I know one thing, we will run up and down the field on uga and those top 10 recruits!

We stunk last year and still hung over 400 yards of offense and 30 plus points on them. We just need to play better on defense and try not to have as many turnovers this year. The special teams must improve also if we want to contend in 2011. We will find out in september!

BartBuzz

March 22nd, 2011
7:02 pm

I can’t believe “Buzz Me” thinks Paul Johnson is turning into Paul Hewitt. WTF? Let’s see. CPJ went 9-4 his first year and won the ACC title his second year. Not to mention being selected as ACC Coach of the Year back to back. Then in his 3rd year he lost three of his best players and Joshua Nesbitt broke his arm with Tech apparently headed for a win against Va Tech. So I don’t understand the panic. Don’t throw in the towel just yet.

NorthAvenueRules

March 22nd, 2011
7:03 pm

Agree with everyone else here. No confidence in Washington. Lord help us all (GT fans) if we have to endure another season with Washington at the helm.

GT Fan Nation

March 22nd, 2011
7:06 pm

Washington is a good kid. He’s doing what all of us would do in his shoes – play college ball to get a full ride scholarship to a great school. He makes a great back up QB, provided the 1st string QB doesn’t suffer a season ending injury!…

Supersize that order, mutt

March 22nd, 2011
7:10 pm

My apologies ManUp. I did not realize you were a Jacket. Congrats on graduating from Tech in a month. That is a big honor, and you should be proud of yourself. I graduated from South Carolina State back in 1971, and I always thought about going to Tech for my Masters. Unfortunately I could never get past that stupid GRE test, so I never went back. Oh well, things happen for a reason. Best of luck in your endeavors ManUp.

ManUp...

March 22nd, 2011
7:11 pm

Thank you, sir.

Go Jackets!

BuzzMyHair

March 22nd, 2011
7:13 pm

I’m interested to see what others perceive as the level of talent at the QB position. Please rank on scale from 1 to 10 (10 being the most talented)…

a) Tevin Washington
b) Synjyn Days
c) David Sims
d) Vad Lee

GT Loyal

March 22nd, 2011
7:15 pm

a) Tevin Washington – 4
b) Synjyn Days – 5
c) David Sims – 3
d) Vad Lee – 7

ManUp...

March 22nd, 2011
7:15 pm

a)7
b)?
c)?
d)?

…at least until I see differently!

Supersize that order, mutt

March 22nd, 2011
7:20 pm

One more thing ManUp:

“May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
The sun shine warm upon your face
The rains fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.”

These are just words you should live by my friend.

Take care of yourself, ManUp. Good luck to you son.

Tech Fan

March 22nd, 2011
7:22 pm

Finding a QB is number one priority. If he can’t get the ball, i.e. pitch it, then we don’t need to worry about a-back etc. Washington didn’t appear to be the guy, had no flashes like Nesbitt did his first go round. I’m hopin for Days to make a splash before Lee comes in.

Buzz Me

March 22nd, 2011
7:25 pm

Don’t kill the messenger folks. I really think this will be CPJ last shot if he has another losing season.

Ryan Kaczmarski

March 22nd, 2011
7:26 pm

GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The REAL Supersize that order, mutt

March 22nd, 2011
7:32 pm

guys, ignore the posts made over the past couple of hours by the faker posing as “Supersize that order, mutt.” I have no idea why, but he has been using my name for the past week, and even changing it to whatever I use to try to differentiate myself from him. He is a FAKE. The REAL Supersize (ME !!!) DID graduate from Tech and also got a Masters degree there. Those of you who have read my posts over the past few years should be able to tell the difference and recognize who is real and who is not.

The REAL Supersize that order, mutt

March 22nd, 2011
7:33 pm

and watch him. I would be wiling to bet that he changes his name again to match mine the next time he posts here.

Realistic Tech Fan

March 22nd, 2011
7:35 pm

Paul Johnson will never have a QB as good as Nesbitt, an A-Back as good as Allen, or a wideout as good as Thomas. It pains me to say it, but Johnson’s best years (08-09) are behind him. Gailey got fired for 7-5, that’s going to be best case going forward. Johnson is a genius with X’s and O’s. But he can’t recruit at all. How many undersized sized players does he need, before he realizes they can’t hold up to BCS level competition? At least with Gailey I had a chance to watch Tech Alums in the NFL. That won’t happen under Johnson

The REAL Supersize that order, mutt

March 22nd, 2011
7:36 pm

THAT is totally unrealistic, Realistic. You are obviously a mutt trying to stir things up here.

B

March 22nd, 2011
7:37 pm

Ryan Krapmarski?

Ryan Kaczmarski

March 22nd, 2011
7:42 pm

Why does anybody who sees Tech as anything but “offensive geniuses” and the “next national champion” have to be “an imposter trying to stir things up”??

News flash, boys…… ONLY a techie likes techie football. Everybody else thinks your football program is an ABSOLUTE JOKE.

Ryan Kaczmarski

March 22nd, 2011
7:43 pm

Fire Paul Johnson!!!!