Tech secure with A-backs, B-backs

The third in a position group-by-position group breakdown of the 2011 Georgia Tech football team:

A-back Roddy Jones brings his career 7.5 yards-per-carry average back to the Georgia Tech backfield.

A-back Roddy Jones brings his career 7.5 yards-per-carry average back to the Georgia Tech backfield.

Projected starters: BB Preston Lyons (Sr., 6-0, 211), AB Roddy Jones (Sr., 5-9, 202), AB Orwin Smith (Jr., 6-0, 202)

Others to watch: B-back Charles Perkins will challenge Lyons for the starting job. A-backs Embry Peeples and B.J. Bostic backed up Jones and Smith last season and give the Jackets depth at the position. Tony Zenon and Deon Hill are redshirt freshmen who will push to get into the A-back rotation. A-back Marcus Wright is back after missing most of last season due to an injury sustained in a moped accident.

Key losses: B-back Anthony Allen, who ran for nearly 2,000 yards in two seasons at Tech, was selected in the seventh round of the NFL draft. Allen’s backup Lucas Cox, who played 40 games for Tech, graduated.

Key fact: Jones has started all but one game of his career. Jones’ 39 career starts are second most in the ACC among active players behind Virginia Tech wide receiver Danny Coale (40). In Jones and Smith, Tech has two A-backs with experience who are capable of making plays on runs and pass receptions.

Key fact II: The B-back position has produced 1,000 rushing yards or more each season under coach Paul Johnson, going back to his first season at Georgia Southern in 1997. The position doesn’t have the marquee star that it’s had through Johnson’s first three years (Jonathan Dwyer in 2008-09 and Allen in 2010), but Johnson expects production out of the position, and history gives him reason.

Key question: How will the snaps get divided up at B-back? Lyons came into and ended spring practice as the starter, but Perkins improved and will push Lyons for playing time. Behind those two are Richard Watson and David Sims, who help make the B-back position the deepest on the team. Johnson has not been averse to using multiple B-backs. In his final season at Navy, for instance, Eric Kettani ran for 880 yards while Adam Ballard ran for 665.

Key developments: Zenon was one of the most impressive young players in spring practice. Hill also has made considerable progress. Smith has been doing extra strength and conditioning work on his own to improve his speed and explosiveness. Smith thinks the Tech offense failed to hit enough big plays last season.

Outlook: Strong. The B-back is likely the strongest position on the team and A-back may be next. While there are questions about other parts of the offense, the backs have both talent and depth. As noted, the loss of Allen is significant, but Lyons has been a dependable option the past two seasons and Perkins could develop into a breakaway threat.

Your turn: What do you think?

PAST POSITION BREAKDOWNS

July 7 – offensive line

July 8 – wide receivers

131 comments Add your comment

CBee

July 11th, 2011
7:02 am

Cross Train them to wide receiver

Golden White

July 11th, 2011
7:03 am

Looking good . Go Tech .

BME93MSM95

July 11th, 2011
7:05 am

Go Jackets! Looking for a much improved team this year! Would love to have some breakaway speed at BB and will trust CPJ to put the best players on the field.

Tokyo jacket

July 11th, 2011
7:06 am

Look for this to be the strength of the team….it’s a shame we’re not allowed to put 8 ball carriers on the field at once. We literally have 10 viable options to carry the ball. The difference between 7 wins and 9/10 wins this year will be to establish separation in the depth chart. We need clear cut starters to become dominant on offense and pick up those big plays that Orwin was talking about.

Tokyo jacket

July 11th, 2011
7:08 am

BME, I don’t think we need breakaway speed at B-back. What we need is someone like Dwyer who doesn’t get caught from behind by LBs or DL, only DBs. You don’t need 4.4 speed there as much as you need quick acceleration to get to the LBs and power to get through them. The video on Perkins looks like he can be that kid.

The Ole Ball Coach

July 11th, 2011
7:24 am

Pound the ball and control the clock…..Do work Jackets!

dawgmatic

July 11th, 2011
7:40 am

Practice hard, honey bees! Silly nerds.

Big Macon Dawg

July 11th, 2011
7:54 am

None of those guys are as good as Crowell will be.

GT-Jake

July 11th, 2011
8:03 am

Based on what I saw in the spring, those guys won’t have much of a chance if I undersized, unathletic offensive line doesn’t improve.

Also, if we don’t learn to throw the darn ball, defenses will just stack the box and shut us down just like Iowa.

Think it’s going to be another long year.

Hopefully Vad Lee redshirts, learns the system and we’re ready to go in 2012.

T3

July 11th, 2011
8:03 am

Crowell is a punk, prone to injury.

A freshman starter RB……..with big questions on th O-Line??

Crowell’s going to get blasted.

Paddy

July 11th, 2011
8:04 am

Orwin Smith will turn out to be the best back Tech has this season. That is predicting alot with this talented backfield.

TheLongestYard

July 11th, 2011
8:04 am

Big Macon Dawg

July 11th, 2011
7:54 am
None of those guys are as good as Crowell will be

None of them will star on the prison team like Crowell will either.

Sarge1

July 11th, 2011
8:07 am

Thanks for your azzhole comment, dawgmatic. I bet you have ruined a lot of things for other people in your life. Funny, I graduated from UGA but have no desire to put down others – not even GT. But then people who have to put down others don’t have a lot going for themselves anyway. They want others to feel like they feel about themselves, too. Loser.

Jacket Man

July 11th, 2011
8:31 am

I expect more passes to the (A and B) backs this coming season, depending on the personnel. In other words, it’s not going to be just about rushing and blocking with these guys this coming season.

Tony Zenon is fastest player on the team, albeit small in stature. However, I might remind everyone that Jacquizz Rodgers, the former RB from Oregon State and recent Atlanta Falcon draft choice, wasn’t a large, physical, man either and he put up some impressive numbers in his own right.

I’m looking at Charles Perkins to be starting at the B-Back position before the season ends, and expect him to surprise a ton of people. Look for Orwin Smith to have a breakout season…

To me, the question remains; who will be the QB managing the offense? Tevin Washington proved to be capable “running” the offense once Josh Nesbitt was injured, but the team didn’t seem to really gel behind him as an offense per se. Having a full Spring and Summer to work with him might help, but it also gave Synjiin Days an opportunity to finally start working with the first and second team offense rather than the scout team. The Spring game gave a glimpse of the raw talent that Days can bring to the table.

My guess is that both QB’s will be on the field in the early games to see who moves the team the best in a real game setting. Whichever one that turns out to be will end up being the starter the remainder of the year, unless, of course, an injury occurs, and then all bets are off.

I expect the starting Wide Receivers will eventually be Stephen Hill and Chris Jackson and think they’ll turn out to be terrific this coming season, as blockers, receivers, and as rushers.

The offensive line is very young, with some lingering injuries, but with a bit more depth with a knowledge of Paul Johnson’s blocking philosophy. Several former walk-ons will see the field this coming season once again, as well as red-shirt freshmen and possibly even true freshmen. The offensive line is potential weak link for the Jackets this coming Fall. They need consistency and leadership for this offense to run successfully.

Jacket Man

July 11th, 2011
8:33 am

Those thing Crowell is going to be the “savior might want to think again…”

Below is a report of Crowell struggling with UGA summer workouts-hints of his poor conditioning and/or attitude.

link http://blutarsky.wordpress.com…ig-leagues-kid/

excerpt:
June 16, 2011 at 10:27 AM

from a team trainer….

Mon….
Workouts under S&C began Monday. The new freshman lift in the morning and the veterans in the afternoon. The core lifts Monday were bench press and squats. They had to get 30 reps at 70% of their max. The S&C staff has been overhauled and has a lot of ex-Bulldogs.Coach T got rid of three GA’s and hired Tony Gilbert with that money. Joining him and Thomas Brown are Verron Haynes, Danell Ellerbee and Bruce Thornton. Keith, Rex and PJ are also still on the S&C staff. Isiah Crowell could not finish the lifting or the running and drew Coach T’s wrath. Ken Malcome could not finish with the veterans.

Tue….
The core lifts were Close grip inclines and leg presses. Wednesday. is conditioning only and back to the weightroom on Thursday and Friday. This is different than under DVH. Under Van they would work 4 straight days and have Friday off.The most obvious leader in the weightroom is Christian Robinson. Bruce Figgins came in great shape. The most impressive of the new players is clearly John Jenkins. He is very strong and is in great shape. He will be the first new player moved to the veterans workouts. Crowell continues to struggle and was the only player who couldn’t finish tuesday. He threw up more than once.

Jacket Man

July 11th, 2011
8:35 am

Jacket Man

July 11th, 2011
8:36 am

Jacket Man

July 11th, 2011
8:37 am

Sorry for the first bad link

Jacket68

July 11th, 2011
8:43 am

Ken – thanks! With Outland trophy nominee Uzzi opening holes the running game will be solid as usual.

gt4ever

July 11th, 2011
8:51 am

Crowell has not made the transition from high shcool to college. Good luck to him, but the odds are stacked against him… Poor kid has no idea what is in store for him if he fails…. The worst college fan base in the country…

Gt will struggle if the OL doesn’t produce.. I don’t care how good or how many running backs you have, if you don’t have the big ugly guys pushing people off the line then your in deep DODO… I personally think we are in DEEP DODO… Hope I am wrong.. Either way, To Hell with UGA!

GT Letterman

July 11th, 2011
9:04 am

This offense is really fun to watch when the backs are able to get to the corners and extend. It hinges on an O-Line that allows for that, and a QB that is quick on his feet and inside his helmet. I think Tech is developing all of that right now…watch out by mid-season.

THWG

GT 94

July 11th, 2011
9:25 am

Macon Dawg, None of them will be a 5 star bust either!! You guys know plenty about that!! With all the top recruiting classes you guys rake in, you seem to be just 3-7 points better than GT most years. Not a big gap. We will c-ya in november in atlanta.

blazer

July 11th, 2011
9:35 am

Crowell better be good -they ran off the other two rb studs so he could play!!

BIG BEE

July 11th, 2011
9:38 am

BIG MACON DAWG, key words here are “WILL BE”. How many years will it take?

Bobby

July 11th, 2011
9:39 am

Charles Perkins highlight vid http://bit.ly/oPZDA7

Bobby

July 11th, 2011
9:51 am

The way Perkins runs reminds of Dwyer. Same number too… 21 Leego!

GT Alum

July 11th, 2011
10:00 am

Bostic runs like he is scared of taking a big hit. This concerns me. I think others on the depth chart will leap ahead of him shortly after season start.

NorthAvenueRules

July 11th, 2011
10:06 am

Anyone else notice last year our A-backs could not shake that first defender on the corner. It seems like our A-backs would be tripped up be a shoe lace. Just from memory, but it seemed like sometimes if they had broken this first tackle, the play would have went 25-40 yards or more.

Hopefully CPJ will find two A-backs this year that have a knack at breaking arm tackles…

NorthAvenueRules

July 11th, 2011
10:09 am

David Sims would be a machine at A-Back. Talk about a guy that just won’t be tackled….

DawginLex

July 11th, 2011
10:26 am

T3

You don’t know anything about Crowell other than what folks have said.

Bottom line is he is a running back with no college experience who will be thrwon into the fire right away.

No one knows if he can handle it.

Our 1st team OL is 328,348,316,313 and 342. Three backups are 315,310 and 305.
We have a new coach who is emphasizing running game techniques and along with the new S&C program, is trying to change the culture of the OL. It won’t be easy.

My prediction is that we will become better as the year goes on. Avoiding injuries is the key.

I still say UGA will win 9 games and Richt will be back in 2012.

SC is gonna win the East.

Jacket Man

July 11th, 2011
10:34 am

“NorthAvenueRules;” David Sims is currently at the B-Back position, and has actually transitioned quite well.

Jacket Man

July 11th, 2011
10:37 am

“GT Alum;” When Bostic has had the chance to carry the ball,he’s actually done quite well; check his stats. If the wide receivers did a batter job and blocked for him, he’ll break some long runs for the Jackets and you’d think twice about making comments like that.

Ramblin Recluse Road

July 11th, 2011
10:38 am

If it was up to me, I would alter the uniform in the pic of Jones so that the shoes and socks would be all white, a Tech color, the extra wide side stripe to a more streamlined width, the side stripe color with traditional black, white and gold stripes with black for margins, the vegas gold stripe across the chest/pads would be old gold or none, and the helmet would be white. I’ve been lookin’ at gold helmets since I was at Tech in ‘71 – ‘72 seasons and the one game during Gailey’s tenure. That use of gold is gettin’ boring. Maybe an old gold helmet w/white GT, or a white helmet w/old gold GT. Don’t let Missouri take the old gold from Tech. To me, those black socks are as unappropriate as the powder puff pink socks, and conjure up Georgia’s black jockey stockings, the ballet leotard look. Are all Tech’s football players Leos? That’s how they come across, all born in the same Leo time period, Leo for leotard. Traditional solid black shoes would be ok for the pic of Jones, and any other “black is out”. And don’t forget that Larry Csonka was in lean enough shape playing for the Dolphins, where Marco Coleman went, that he wore solid black linemen’s boots running it up the middle.

DawginLex

July 11th, 2011
10:40 am

As far as GT is concerned:

Roddy Jones would touch the ball as much as possible.
Charles Perkins will prove to be better in games than pracices
Tony Zenon needs to be on the field.

My $.02

Jacket Man

July 11th, 2011
10:41 am

“NorthAvenueRules;” I’m going to go to reads, pitches, and blocking regarding our A-Backs success. If these components are done properly, I fully expect our A-Backs to produce well and not be so inclined to be tackled quite so easily. Last season, often time they were coming to the edge off balance, on the wrong angle, or with no blockers in front of them. This makes for poor performance for most of those types of plays on the outside.

Jacket 56

July 11th, 2011
10:44 am

Jacket Man, I doubt seriously that Zenon is faster than Snoddy. I’m guessing he is going to redshirt since he wasn’t mentioned with the A-backs?

NorthAvenueRules

July 11th, 2011
11:20 am

Any chance we’ll see the ball thrown to A-Backs more this season? One can hope…

GT 1

July 11th, 2011
11:24 am

Make the yards, so we dont need PJ’s ” long-snapper” recruit.

gt4ever

July 11th, 2011
11:39 am

Throw the Ball…….? LOL…. Not probable!

tar and feathers party

July 11th, 2011
11:41 am

Jonathan Dwyer and Caleb King graduated high school in the same year, one choose Georgia Tech and played every year for his first three years, turned pro prior to year 4 and is now in the NFL. The other choose UGAG, did not play his first year, played little in his second and third years, was a poor player in his 4th year, and flunked out in his 5th year. He has no future in the NFL, and his college career is now over, imho. Moral of the story: Choose Georgia Tech and get an education, and not that drunken party school in Athens that doubles of as a state prison, imho.

Southern dirt road

July 11th, 2011
11:43 am

hoping that Vad Lee does not become CPJ’s puppet and have CPJ relinquish Lee’s long bomb passing skills from the sidelines where he’s holding the yardsticks with the strings attached, relegating Lee to no future in the NFL because of no highlights to show NFL teams from Tech years; same might hold true for Jamal Golden, need YouTube vid of him like one of Lee that has been posted previously, don’t know anything about him other than stats

okeefe

July 11th, 2011
11:45 am

Jacket man—-you sure have a lot more confidence in S Hill as a wr than I have. He can’t catch, can’t block and is afraid to take a hit.

Southern dirt road

July 11th, 2011
11:50 am

isn’t it ironic that Ted Roof coached so well last year during the natl championship game, and he didn’t coach so well at Tech as defensive coordinator; probably because more coeds go to Auburn, or could it be because “black is out” at Tech, my alma mater

DawginLex

July 11th, 2011
11:50 am

tar and feathers

Tell your crap to Aaron Murray

1st team All SEC for 2011 and 4.0 in Finance

Just shutup and maybe for a few folks you won’t appear to be an idiot. Keep posting and remove all doubt.

Southern dirt road

July 11th, 2011
12:02 pm

Bobby…no site found, YouTube site found w/thumbs of other vids and empty Search box

Pull My Finger

July 11th, 2011
12:36 pm

Jacket Man, if I were you, I’d be thinking of ways to improve Tech’s girly little defense rather than obsessing with the Dawgs!

gt4ever

July 11th, 2011
12:39 pm

exactly Pull my finger, and it is GIRLY! It has been GIRLY for years…

Supersize that order, mutt

July 11th, 2011
12:41 pm

Pull My Finger, if you are a mutt, which I assume you are, then you’d better be thinking of ways to improve THUGa’s pathetic excuse for a defense too. It hasn’t stopped Tech yet; the only reason Tech lost the last two years was because of turnovers and an equally lousy defense.

BBQ

July 11th, 2011
12:48 pm

I hate to say it, but if A Murray stays healthy and continues to improve, UGA will win 10 games next year and could be in the SEC title game. It pains me to say it, but he’s very good and will take pressure off Isiah to perform immediately. Here’s the kicker though….UGA will be in the SEC title game but will lose to GT in Atlanta. Lack of focus and looking ahead to SEC title game will be their demise. GT is due a win and should be clicking offensively.

gt4ever

July 11th, 2011
12:50 pm

DawginLex,

I had no idea that UGA had a finance department….. That would require a math department…. Right???