I think most everything I learned Wednesday went into my notebook, starting with defensive lineman Denzel McCoy’s career apparently ending due to an undisclosed medical condition.
He had a chance to be a good one. He turned down offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Notre Dame, Penn State and Stanford, among many others, to play for Tech. It’s unfortunate, obviously, but I think he’ll be fine. We had a brief Twitter conversation in which he said as much, and from what I was told about McCoy, he has a great attitude and is a good kid. His best days are ahead of him.
“He came here to get a degree and he’s hopefully going to do that,” coach Paul Johnson said. “He’s got his whole life to live. He’s going to live a normal life, it’s just not in the cards for him right now to play college football.”
A couple things: Ultimately, it’s a good thing the condition that has sidelined him was discovered last summer before his Tech career began.
“No question,” Johnson said. “Our team doctors and training staff, they do a real thorough job and they detected it early, so he was never really put in any danger.”
McCoy will miss this season and “unless something drastically changes after a year or so, his football career is over.”
Second, Johnson said McCoy will remain on scholarship and work as an assistant to Liam Klein, the director of player personnel. The scholarship won’t count against the NCAA 85-player limit. That will put Tech three under the limit when his scholarship status changes. (The transfer of Ryan Ayers to Liberty and Albert Rocker’s decision to skip his final year of eligibility to take a job with Microsoft put the team two under.)
One may go to walk-on offensive tackle Tyler Kidney. Johnson said he’ll receive one at the end of the season if he wins the starting job. The other two may be held for 2012 recruits who want to enroll early.
A couple other notes:
- Players are staying at a nearby hotel. They checked in Tuesday. Johnson: “We’ve done that before. Last year, we didn’t do it because we had them all in the same housing here (on campus), but we couldn’t get them all in the same place, and I think it’s important in camp to have them all together.”
- The team started practice with punt and punt return, which is typical. “We work on it every single day,” Johnson said. “It’s big this fall. We’ve got to get much better in that area, no question.”
- Johnson on the incoming class. “Overall, there’s some big, lean, athletic-looking kids. Like I said when we signed them, we’re excited about them. It’ll be interesting to see if any of them can help us this year.”
- Another 3 p.m. practice Thursday and another Friday. The team will practice at 9:45 Saturday morning, followed by fan day at 4 p.m., and a kicking scrimmage Sunday. All practices are closed to the public.
- Photographer Johnny Crawford has an excellent photo gallery from practice, which you can see here.