Defense shines at Tech’s practice

Georgia Tech had a to-be-expected rusty performance in its first lengthy full-pads scrimmage of the spring during Saturday’s practice at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

“It was pretty ragged,” coach Paul Johnson said. “I thought the defense did some good things, that was encouraging.”

The offensive line had issues throughout either trying to pick up blitzers or staying in their stance. They were flagged for several false-start penalties. The first-team unit was able to generate a push up the middle for the B-backs, but pitch plays outside and pass protection generally broke down. The line is trying to break in new tackles on both sides because the only returner with experience is Phil Smith.

“Those guys struggled a little bit up there, to be kind,” Johnson said.

They did hold off the young, aggressive defense long enough for Synjyn Days to find A-back Tony Zenon for a touchdown in the day’s only score.On the play, Days said he read the corner, who stayed up to cover a hitch route. Zenon put a move on Louis Young and ran uncovered across the middle of the field on a corner route where Days hit him with a well-timed pass.

“Synjyn did some good things, he was running for his life a lot,” Johnson said.

Days, who is competing with Tevin Washington at quarterback, said he felt more comfortable on Saturday than he has in the previous practices.

Defensive players

Three players on defense had solid days: cornerback Jemea Thomas, inside linebacker Daniel Drummond and outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu.

Thomas dropped an interception on an underthrown pass from Days, but made up for it with an interception along the sideline later in the day. The second interception, on a pass from Days, was the result of a good read and break back toward the ball. Thomas, along with cornerbacks Louis Young and Rod Sweeting, were very physical, pressing their receivers. Thomas, who redshirted last season after playing as a true freshman, also put the hit of the day on A-back Deon Hill as he came around the right edge of the offensive line after receiving a pitch. Thomas said that aggressiveness is one of the things that will help him earn more playing time.

“We’ve just got to get Jemea out there on the field,” Johnson said. “He’ll get himself out there if he keeps working and staying healthy.”

Johnson also singled out Drummond, who is making the transition from B-back to inside linebacker. He ran with the first-team alongside Julian Burnett.

“He’s a kid to whom football is really important,” defensive coordinator Al Groh said of Drummond. “He’s really bought in. He’s in the office all the time asking questions early. He’s like any good student, he doesn’t leave the classroom with any questions unanswered.”

Attaochu, who had three sacks in limited playing time last season as a freshman, had another Saturday. He said he’s working to improve his focus throughout the game instead of relaxing after good plays are made.

“I need to mature now by taking advantage of this kind of scrimmage environment,” he said. “When you get tired, look at the sideline, get the play, execute and not make mental mistakes.”

Scrimmage details

David Sims and Preston Lyons stood out in the crowded competition at B-back. Lyons had a fumble, one of several on the day, but also had some of the longer runs. Sims, who is learning B-back after playing quarterback the past two seasons, had a nice cut-back after he got through the line of scrimmage on one run. He spun out of a tackle from a linebacker and gained extra yards on another play.  “It’s great having David at B-back,” Days said. “He helped me a lot with the quarterback reads. We already have a connection. I’m not sure what type of connection it is but it’s a connection.” … A high-snap led to a badly missed field goal by David Scully in the day’s only attempt … The offense committed at least five false-start penalties, including two by the back-up wide receivers. … Cornerback Ryan Ayers made a nice open-field tackle of Days on an option play. … Burnett had a sack in which he shot the gap between the center and guard on a well-timed blitz. … Defensive end Jason Peters sacked Washington after evading the right tackle. … Brandon Watts also leveled Zenon on another pitch play.

– Doug Roberson, AJC

58 comments Add your comment

macrotech

April 2nd, 2011
11:53 am

SO pumped about football this year….sounds like we’re identifying some areas and gettin’ them taken care of!

Delbert D.

April 2nd, 2011
11:53 am

Good stuff to read, particularly on Drummond and the DB play.

macrotech

April 2nd, 2011
11:55 am

As for being first…I’d like to thank my mother and father for bringing me into this world! I’m SUCH a blessed man and am honored to have joined so many great posters before me that have enjoyed this noble position! I’ll NEVER forget this moment!!!

ga tech 92

April 2nd, 2011
11:55 am

GT45

April 2nd, 2011
12:09 pm

For those of you that couldn’t make it, Keith Brooking was in attendance. He signed some autographs and looked great.

Keep it up D!

April 2nd, 2011
12:19 pm

I believe the defense is going to be solid this year. Not worried about offense at all.

GT Letterman

April 2nd, 2011
12:25 pm

Seventh!

And THWG.

Go Jackets

April 2nd, 2011
12:30 pm

Good report. Thanks for the info.

GT Rich

April 2nd, 2011
12:58 pm

Offensive line struggled all morning. Synjyn’s ability to scramble/escape was the only reason the B team gained yards. I think when Tevin ran the A team, they may have ended with negative yards for the day…

GT GRAD

April 2nd, 2011
1:26 pm

Glad to hear Keith Brooking was there……………………I am somewhat concerned about the lack of production by the OL (critical group for ANY offensive scheme) and I hope the mistakes (fumbles, missed assignments, bad snaps, mental errors, etc.) can be reduced/eliminated soon!

Curious

April 2nd, 2011
2:21 pm

Were the mistakes by the OL due to lack of ability and talent or were they due to a lack of understanding of the offense so far. The latter can be fixed, but if it’s not due to a lack of understanding, we are in for a REALLY LOOONNGG season!

BBQ

April 2nd, 2011
2:38 pm

remember when we used to enjoy college football before the internet and we didn’t worry about anything until opening day?

The only thing I’m worried about is injuries. Other than that, the teams seems to be more focused this year. It’s the injuries that worry me. Look at Penn State. Lost 3 starters already this spring.

BBQ

April 2nd, 2011
2:39 pm

I need to be worried about my grammar too! Appears I typed my last message too fast.

Brighter DAYS are Coming

April 2nd, 2011
2:49 pm

Can’t wait to see S.Days connect with T.Zenon on some of these long distance passes like in the reel below…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Q2k95TtTdk&feature=related

Doug Roberson

April 2nd, 2011
2:57 pm

Think it was just rust for the ol.

Flowery Branch Yellow Jacket

April 2nd, 2011
3:12 pm

I was pleased with the performance of both of the Flowery Branch guys, D. Drummond and I. Cross. The offense, however, struggled more than “a little bit”, and they looked far worse than “ragged”, especially with T. Washington at the helm. I hope you’re right about the “rust”, Doug. It’ll be interesting to see how much progress these kids can make over the next few weeks. They’ve certainly got a long way to go if they want to be competitive in the ACC.

Brighter DAYS are Coming

April 2nd, 2011
3:15 pm

Oh well, get there. Don’t you worry. Days lit up the scoreboard in high school with his impressive passing. He will continue to throw laser guided passes…

Phil mcgroin

April 2nd, 2011
4:06 pm

Either the defense is very good all of a sudden or the the offensive line is terrible by the way this sounds in the early stages of camp. I’m very concerned about the offensive line. Heard there were alot of dropped passes again today. It’s early and we got time but i REALLY hope we get some things corrected that haunted us last year. I think our secondary will be very good and if we can generate some pressure and wrap up, this could be a special year.

I have heard that we may be picked last our next to last in the coastal this year and i hope people do sleep on us. I have faith that CPJ will get us back on track even with a young team again.

BlueHose Dave

April 2nd, 2011
5:01 pm

How did Steven Sylvester do? Our D needs to be able to stop the run and put pressure on QB.

reebok

April 2nd, 2011
5:02 pm

the offense will be fine. but if the defense doesn’t pick up the 3-4 a lot better than they did last year, we are going to lose a lot of games 35-31.

GT Rich

April 2nd, 2011
5:14 pm

Tough for the O-line to knock off the rust, when you consider that most of them are redshirt sophomores and freshmen. It was the first scrimmage of the spring, so I would expect improvements between now and the T game.

ga504boy

April 2nd, 2011
5:14 pm

I can’t wait to see this kid Tony Zenon on the field! Its seems like everytime he touches the ball, big things can happen!

Gold Helmets

April 2nd, 2011
7:05 pm

Great report Doug. Has there been any noticable improvements during the off season regarding the S&C program?

51WTGW50

April 2nd, 2011
7:09 pm

Call me back in 3 months and Tell me QB is decided upon and we have a REAL Nose Guard.

Tokyo jacket

April 2nd, 2011
7:19 pm

It’s nice to hear that the Defense is playing hard and mean. Do that for 14 games and you’ll win most of them.

Sweer Home Alabama

April 2nd, 2011
7:19 pm

Hey Nerds,you are pretty good when you play each other.otherwise we could put a whoopin on you with our third string.I might see if i could arrange it .The Mutts own you and they are a pitiful bunch.

Hey Mutts ,why wont you play the TIDE.we will put another fifty on you.;STATE of GEORGIA is second rate when it comes to football.Otherwise its pretty good.

have i told you how good it feels to ROLL WITH THE TIDE……………………………

Ramblin Man

April 2nd, 2011
7:32 pm

I think the alabama fan above who can’t spell is one of Saban’s dismissed players with extra time on his hands.

Greg

April 2nd, 2011
7:48 pm

“Sweer” Home…do you know what Richt’s record is against Alabama? You might want to look it up.

Greg

April 2nd, 2011
7:50 pm

My fault…looking it up would require you to call your cousin/brother. UGA is 3-1 vs. Bama by the way under Richt. Congratulations.

It Ain't Rocket Science

April 2nd, 2011
7:50 pm

Sweet Home Alabama,

What purpose have you coming onto a blog that has not one bit of revelance to anything Alabama? You might be better served commenting on your own blog, about your God, Saban and the statue your school is dedicating to him today before their spring game. I think it is pretty sad when a school places more emphasis on football than academics as you school does. I am a UGA fan and I don’t bother to come onto your blogs and shot off my mouth with a bunch of negative crap like you do. Tell me, does it make you feel like a man. Better even, why don’t you go to one of Tech. or UGA’s practices and shoot your mouth off. I think it would be interesting to see how you walk with one foot stuffed in your mouth and the other one stuffed a little south of there. Now go back to Alabama and get your milk and cookies from mommy. Leave the big boy subjects to people with a mentality above a snail to post responsible, meaningful comments on a blog.

Brighter DAYS are Coming

April 2nd, 2011
8:06 pm

S. Days is definitely the QB for the future of GT. He’s never taken a snap at the collegiate level, but his arm is so strong, he could throw the ball 80 plus yards without blinking. My man is the next Cam Newton.

GT '93

April 2nd, 2011
9:27 pm

I’m watching the “Final Four”.

Yawwwwwnnnn..

If basketball isn’t the worst sport ever invented, I don’t know what is.

Pure boredom…. Stupid, silly, sport.

sports

April 2nd, 2011
9:40 pm

the blowflys suck!

GTupNorth

April 2nd, 2011
10:01 pm

The passing game was horrible today. It starts in the hands of the QB. At this rate Vad Lee will certainly have a good shot at competing in the Fall.

Vad Lee was named the Class 4A player of the Year after leading his team to a 16-0 record and state championship. He completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,969 yards with 23 TDs and added 1,004 yards rushing

Phil mcgroin

April 2nd, 2011
10:05 pm

@Sweer home bama

“SWEER”??? Classic bama fan there folks! Hey man, what did GT do the last 2 times we played a team from alabama? How about ‘SWEEP’ with reggie freakin ball!!!! LMAO!!! Auburn was top 10 and lost to reggie “i couldn’t hit the side of a barn” ball!!! You only matter again because saban came there. You want to talk about the previous decade of blowing ASS and getting owned by the same auburn program that reggie ball delivered a KO too? Idiot

GT is a 4th rate high school team

April 2nd, 2011
10:24 pm

Still is and will be forever. LOL

Stinger 2

April 3rd, 2011
5:02 am

I am just going to wait and hope that all the work in spring practice will produce improvement for the 2011 season. I do believe that if the defense and special teams can play better, GT could win a couple of more games than it did last year.

Paddy

April 3rd, 2011
7:57 am

Sweet Home……..you are not the brightest bulb in the closet, are you? WOW!

RambleOn84

April 3rd, 2011
8:04 am

Throughout all my years of football, one thing was constant: the first scrimmage ALWAYS went to the defense, particularly when your O-line had a bunch of youngsters.

It would be great if the defense really did improve a lot this year, but the offense needs to step up as well.

AMG

April 3rd, 2011
9:14 am

Looking forward to this season, any word on Charles Perkins, did he play at all?

distant echo

April 3rd, 2011
9:22 am

out of whole and around the bowl, roll tide roll.

Dumb dawg graduate

April 3rd, 2011
9:55 am

Alabama u sur got a pretty mouth. Squeal like a pig!

Tech Guy

April 3rd, 2011
10:01 am

Tech’s chances of having a winning season rest with the defense which should be improved. If they can hold opponents to less than 20 points, Tech will win. If not, it’ll be a long season.

GDBurdell

April 3rd, 2011
10:49 am

HEY TEK-TARDS HOW IS TEK BETTER POSITIONED THAN LAST YEAR?????????

(they aren’t)

2010 = 6 wins, “bowl” loss as usual

2011 < 6 wins…

GDBurdell

April 3rd, 2011
10:58 am

“Georgia Tech had a to-be-expected rusty performance in its first…”

But the headline reads: Tek Shines!???

Doug Roberson

April 3rd, 2011
10:58 am

Perkins did play and had a couple of decent runs, if memory serves

offensive sets

April 3rd, 2011
12:06 pm

When an offense has no imagination, and runs the same sets on every play, you will be dominated by the defense!! The defense new where every play was going and was a step ahead!!! It is ludicrous to expect the B-backs to have big runs up the gut every play!! Didn’t we learn anything from Air Force in the bowl game? T.O. football can be run from several different formations and looks!!! Our passing game is hilarious, on several pass plays I noticed diminutive A- backs running pass routes!! No wonder they were being over thrown by the Q.B. I couldn’t see them either!!!

GTupNorth

April 3rd, 2011
12:13 pm

How about the play to draw defense offsides on 4th and short? Wonder if opposing defenses have figured this out?

GT Fan...

April 3rd, 2011
12:22 pm

IT’S THE FIRST SCRIMMAGE OF THE SPRING FOLKS (and I believe just the 2nd day in full pads), and look all the worry-warts on this blog! RELAX!

If these problems with O are still there after the final scrimmage in AUGUST, then you can worry. Until then just RELAX … there are lots of starters & 2nd-teamers who are getting their first real action beginning this Spring. Not to mention a few new recruits coming in this Summer who will contribute this Fall.

Paul Johnson

April 3rd, 2011
1:01 pm

Yeah, like GT Fan said…relax. We’re gonna suck on D again so don’t stress about it. Look for us to finish middle of the pack in a pathetic conference. We will get a bowl game, but we’ll lose that again too!