A couple notes from spring practice.
1. B-back David Sims was one of the more notable players in Saturday’s scrimmage, particularly for his ability to break tackles. (As is always the case in an intra-squad scrimmage, one could also cast a critical eye on the other side of the ball. Coach Paul Johnson and defensive coordinator Al Groh both were critical of the tackling.)
Still, Sims unofficially had an 18-yard run on the first offensive series of the game and about a 20-yarder the next time he was on the field. You may well remember that Sims had trouble breaking off big plays last season, his first at B-back. Early on in the scrimmage, Johnson was on Sims after going down more easily than Johnson would have liked and for apparently fussing at A-back Robert Godhigh for getting in his way.
“I’m like, if he knocked you down bumping into you, that’s (on) you,” Johnson said. “I think he got a little [vexed] at me, so he played pretty good after that.”
Said quarterbacks and B-backs coach Brian Bohannon, “There were a couple we’d like for him to stay on his feet and find a way to get the ball in the end zone, but I thought he ran with a purpose, just like he finished some of those runs off. I thought he did good.”
Bohannon also praised backups Charles Perkins and Zach Laskey for their work. Walk-on Matt Connors also had a couple big runs in the brief time he got on the field.
It was said (and written) often last season that B-back, with Sims, Preston Lyons, Perkins and Richard Watson, was the deepest position on the team, though it didn’t prove to be as productive as projected. It would appear thus far that the depth won’t be as strong, though comparable. One would suspect that the production, given Sims’ and Perkins’ accumulated experience, will improve.
2. Bohannon mentioned a goal to push pass completion percentage to 55 percent or better. It ended up at 49.10, sixth lowest in the country.
“If we can do that, the number of times we throw, it’s not that important,” he said. “It’s completing ‘em.”
In Johnson’s first three seasons, the completion rates were 44.8, 46.4 and 38.1 percent. I’d forgotten it was so low in 2010. Gadzooks.
3. Groh said that coaches are placing “a big emphasis” on causing fumbles. I don’t think that’s to say it wasn’t a priority previously, but it looked like players were more intentional about getting the ball on the ground than I’ve seen in the past. Cornerback Jamal Golden had a strip of wide receiver Jeff Greene late in the scrimmage where he seemed to be as or more intent on prying the ball loose as getting Greene to the ground.
The other facet of that, as Groh noted, is actually recovering loose balls. Many, if not most of the fumbles (not counting the botched center-quarterback exchanges) were recovered by the offense Saturday.
Thanks for reading.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech beat