Some quick notes from Georgia Tech’s Monday practices. More later.
- Safety Fred Holton is most likely out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, sustained backpedaling in Saturday’s scrimmage. It’s unfortunate. After playing a lot of special teams as a freshman, Holton was one of the hardest workers over the summer and was making a run at a starting job in camp.
“It’s disappointing for Fred because he worked so hard and he was playing so well and he had a great camp,” coach Paul Johnson said.
Freshmen Zach Laskey and Demond Smith, who have been working at B-back and quarterback, worked at safety Monday.
“I’ve just got a lot of sympathy for him, wish he could be out there with us, but we’ve got to move forward,” said linebacker Julian Burnett, a close friend of Holton’s. “All we can do is just keep him in our hearts and play for him.”
Without Holton, the top option at backup safety is Jemea Thomas, who has been working at both safety and cornerback. Monday, the team worked two true freshmen at safety, B-back Zach Lackey and quarterback Demond Smith, at safety.
“Things happen,” Johnson said. “You just have to move on.”
- The team practiced twice Monday after having Sunday off. Johnson said the morning practice was “sluggish” but that tempo picked up in the afternoon. To help with numbers, Johnson is hoping several injured players will return. Wide receivers Tyler Melton, Daniel McKayhan and Jeremy Moore, cornerback Rod Sweeting, offensive tackle Phil Smith and safety Lance Richardson were among those not practicing. Wide receiver Stephen Hill returned to practice Monday.
“We’ve got to know the difference between hurt and injured,” Johnson said. “There’s a difference.”
Johnson, who had remarked upon the team’s enthusiasm and work ethic when camp began Aug. 3, was asked if he still saw those qualities after 15 practices.
“I think with the majority of the guys, yeah,” he said.
- Tevin Washington’s status as starting quarterback continues to be safe. Without naming names, Johnson said the pecking order at quarterback is “pretty clear to me.” Asked to clarify, he said, “I don’t think I need to, do I?”
Johnson said it is “amazing for [Lee] to be where he is,” but reiterated that he isn’t ready to play. “He’d be some kind of a guy with a cape if he was ready to come in and play right now.”
- One of the most improved players in the spring, outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu has continued his development, defensive coordinator Al Groh said. Attaochu has gotten past the stage of learning the terminology and responsibilities of his position and is now focusing on executing. He’s called on to rush the passer, stop the run and occasionally drop back in pass coverage.
As a sophomore who started one game as a true freshman, “every facet of his game is in position to move forward, which he’s concentrating on doing,” Groh said.
- Inside linebackers coach Joe Speed on true freshman Jabari Hunt-Days: “(He has) physical tools, picking up the game, picking up the defense. (There is) a lot of verbiage for him, so I’m sure it’s fast for him right now, but once he picks it up, he’s going to be able to have a clear mind so he can play faster.”
- Competitions for kickoff specialist and punter are ongoing. Johnson said punters Sean Poole and Chandler Anderson “have a good battle going.”