Georgia Tech: Darren Waller on summer workouts

Georgia Tech wide receiver Darren Waller met with reporters and provided some excellent insights to the team’s summer workouts. Forthwith…

1. Waller has been working on a list of skills that receivers coach Buzz Preston and coach Paul Johnson gave him. Among them are getting off of press coverage and route running, which encompasses knowing his route depths and running them more smoothly. A lot of it is individual work, working with a dummy or running routes using cones. He’s also worked with the cornerbacks and quarterback Tevin Washington.

Of Washington, Waller said that “he knows more about receiver drills just because he’s been here five years and knows what I can work on.”

Thus far, he said he feels “a whole lot smoother” because of his work and his experience in the offense.

2. A lesson learned from his freshman season: “You’ve got to be physical with whatever you do. That’ something I really learned last year.”

3. Waller added his praise for special teams coach Dave Walkosky, noting his intensity, knowledge and ability to connect with the players.

“He came in and said he wants us to be the top in every special teams category,” Waller said. “He thinks we have the talent and the people here to get what needs to be done done. That’s why we love him.”

Waller likes special-teams play, he said, “because it’s like the hungriest players are on special teams, you could say. People that may not get as many reps on offense or defense, but it’s their time on that kickoff. They’re going down to knock somebody’s helmet off.”

4. Naturally, Waller feels better about going into fall camp this year because of his level of knowledge of the offense. Last August, he said, the adjustment to playing wide receiver  (he mostly played defense at North Cobb High) and learning the college game slowed him down.

“I just feel more comfortable,” he said. “I know what I’m doing. I’m not going to have anything thrown at me, like any change-ups. … I feel like I’ve worked real hard for this season. I feel like I can help the team in a really big way.”

Last season, he said, he tried to count the steps in his routes so he’d know when to come out of them. “Now, it’s just like I can sit out there and I’ll know where 16 (yards) is just by looking down the field and I can just feel it out there.”

5. Waller likes that not many people know much about him, having played behind Stephen Hill and Tyler Melton and not having made any catches last season.

“I just feel like me being under the radar has kept me more hungry,” he said.

That said, Waller is confident in his potential. He has watched video of former Tech receivers like Hill, Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas, seeing how they used their physical advantages against defensive backs, and “just knowing that I have so many similar gifts that they have, I feel like I can have a similar impact on defenses that they have,” he said.

6. He gave his approval to new strength and conditioning coach John Sisk, particularly for how he has kept the workouts varied.

“I feel like every week we’ve grown because the running hasn’t always been the same and the lifting is just new things that we just didn’t do with Coach (Neal) Peduzzi,” he said.

7. Waller said he misses playing defense, particularly the hitting, but that he loves playing receiver. He went along with the move to wide receiver going into last season because it would get him on the field more quickly.

8. In his first seven-on-seven appearance last week, freshman quarterback Justin Thomas was as impressive as any player on the field, Waller said. He threw on-the-money back-shoulder fades and threw slants so hard that his hands hurt, Waller said.

“He’s got good zip, accuracy, the footwork’s there, too,” he said. “But Tevin’s just been comfortable in the offense. He’s got more pop on his throws.”

Waller said that he has been in Washington’s workout group this summer and has made considerable strength gains. “I feel like that’s made him more confident,” he said. “He carries himself different out there. It’s really cool.”

A-back Tony Zenon has shown well, also, working out of the slot often.

“He’s been, like, literally shaking people’s shoes off in seven-on-seven,” Waller said.

Incoming wide receivers Anthony Autry, Travin Henry and Micheal Summers are looking good.

“It’s just cool to see young guys coming in and getting their opportunities in the same spot you were last year,” he said.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

84 comments Add your comment

BuzzKill

July 5th, 2012
9:09 am

Justin Thomas is going to be amazing whenever he gets time on the field. His highlight video shows amazing speed. Can’t wait!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=io21_dVAKUY

Ramblnwrek

July 5th, 2012
9:13 am

Good to hear there is progress being made. Keep up the good work! Go Jackets!

5150 UOAD

July 5th, 2012
9:14 am

Days and some of the players go to local high schools to run passing drills on their own. That is leadership and dedication. I think the passing game will be better and the shotgun spread will show improvement too.

gt4ever

July 5th, 2012
9:18 am

Looks like we may have another Joe Hamilton… Good luck kid…

gt45

July 5th, 2012
9:29 am

Can’t wait till Labor Day!

5150 UOAD

July 5th, 2012
9:30 am

Wanting to see Waller catch that straight pass to the sidelines using the stiff-arm on the DB running for a TD that Bay Bay Thomas used so well.

juvenal

July 5th, 2012
9:41 am

been hot-they using that new indoor facility?

chas_jacket

July 5th, 2012
9:42 am

Thanks again Ken, like usual a nice bit of reporting with good info on some behind the scenes action. Whatever happens this season, i won’t be holding my breath that our season will be over if we lose the starting qb. There has been a huge dropoff between the #1 & #2 qbs for the past 5 years, but not this year.

Ken, it seems Justin is too fast and talented to redshirt, but doesn’t have the experience to qb with the depth we have. Your thoughts?

Justin Thomas

July 5th, 2012
9:45 am

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Teddy Roosevelt

July 5th, 2012
9:48 am

Its going to get interesting when Lee and Thomas are competing for the starting job.

Teddy Roosevelt

July 5th, 2012
9:50 am

And Days too!

chas_jacket

July 5th, 2012
9:55 am

Wouldn’t count Days out at all, he has drive and leadership qualities that are essential for a qb.

5150 UOAD

July 5th, 2012
9:56 am

juvenal………the guys have been going to Kell, North Cobb and some other local high schools on the weekends to get together and practice. It is near some of the players home or girlfriends home so they go hang out and eat, swim and meet other players families. Damn I would hate to have to feed some of those guys. :)

Big Crimson 75

July 5th, 2012
9:59 am

Y’all picked one off from us.
Justin Thomas will be a Player.
That’s OK — We won the Colin Peak for Chris Jackson trade by a land-slide!!!

Teddy Roosevelt

July 5th, 2012
10:06 am

Probably helps recruiting too keeping in contact with the local talent

Yellow Fuzz

July 5th, 2012
10:09 am

What oes it matter, somehow CPJ will have us out of the National rankings by Thankgiving day.
Just think he can not get it done @ GT.

RambleOn84

July 5th, 2012
10:31 am

An exciting time to be a Jackets fan!

Thanks for the info Ken

Hayseed Dixie

July 5th, 2012
10:38 am

Keep it coming, Ken. Being a Braves fan is no fun these days.

In our wins in the 2011 regular season Tevin made 49.5% of his passes for 162.1 yards/per game, 13.6 yards/per catch, 1.25 TDs per game, and 0.4 interceptions per game.

In our losses he averaged 40% accuracy, 54.5 yards/ per game, 5.4 yards/ per catch, 0 TDs and 1.25 Interceptions per game.

When Tech passes the ball even moderately well they’re tough to beat. There’s still time for Tevin to be the first QB that can throw consistently in this offense, and the sky is the limit at that point.

JM

July 5th, 2012
11:04 am

thanks for the comments. It looks like GT has several new additions to the offense. If the O-line can take that next big step, this team will go far.

Tokyo jacket

July 5th, 2012
11:11 am

Big Crimson, that made me laugh out loud dude. Too funny. But you’re right, Thomas is going to be legit at Tech. This may be the perfect offense for him. I really think we are set for the next five years at QB w/ TW this year, Vad Lee for two or three more years, then JT for a year.

A lot of people (e.g. yellow fuzz, WnE, et al) are knocking the talent level we have at Tech. I’m not sure we’re at the level of UGA, FSU, or Bama, but I really think we are at least on par with VT, Oregon, and other traditional top 15-25 teams. I think there will be at least one ACC championship for this incoming class, who knows, maybe more.

Tokyo jacket

July 5th, 2012
11:24 am

Buzzkill, that’s the first time I’ve seen that full length reel. JT has more highlights than ESPN. Love the over the middle, back shoulder, and pump fake WR screen throws (btw, Tech needs to add this play). In high school he’s got legit Michael Vick speed/moves. If he can do that at the next level, we’re set.

Tokyo jacket

July 5th, 2012
11:26 am

Oh, and Big Crimson, if you follow the recruiting websites, we’re probably going to pick another one from Bama. Doesn’t hurt that he was a HS teammate with JT, I’m sure. It’s looking like Prattville will become the minor leagues for GT :)

North Ave Killer Beez

July 5th, 2012
11:38 am

Sheese! If Tevin is the QB get ready for another loooong season. He is okay, but he has shown that he cannot perform against the elite opponents. Wish he could prove me wrong but we need a better athlete at QB period.

dawgalltheway

July 5th, 2012
11:44 am

So Waller has been studying the tapes of Calvin Johnson and D. Thomas. That’s about as close as he will get to their level of talent. Sorry but he is just another 2 star defensive player that CPJ is moving to wide receiver because they can’t sign any real talent because nobody wants to play in that offense. His recruiting has gone down year after year. Don’t take my word for it, do a little homework of your own.

FL Jacket

July 5th, 2012
12:03 pm

swagalltheway…

Interesting…I would argue it’s gone up year after year…wonder what criteria you are using?

HighTech

July 5th, 2012
12:05 pm

How much credibility should someone whose blog handle is dwagalltheway have on a Tech blog? Thanks for your concern.

GT fan

July 5th, 2012
12:21 pm

In 4 seasons NONE of PJ’s teams have completed even 50% of its passes, yet he’s managed to squeak-out 33 Ws in those 4 seasons.

Off the top of my head I remember 2 games GT won where they completed just ONE pass! UGA in 2008 (first play of the game), and the 2009 VT game (pass just before halftime).
Then in the first 4 games of 2011, we saw how unstoppable the offense can be when they complete over 50% of their passes.

Tech needs a better D to help when the O can’t pass. Swiss cheese D is servicable when the O can pass.

Robert the Yellow Jacket

July 5th, 2012
12:26 pm

@North Avenue Killer Beez
Clemson isn’t elite.
Without the blown call at the goal-line, it was a blowout win.
He also managed what should have been a 35-35 tie with Uga qith a few minutes to go.
Except someone choked on our unspecial teams.
Keep the pressure on with a tie and maybe they fumble the kickoff.
A lot of our losing is usually a group effort.
My understanding was Virginia beat us on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
And couldn’t we have used the nes ST coach vs Miami.
Not to mention all year.
Glad to hear he is a good one.

Robert the Yellow Jacket

July 5th, 2012
12:27 pm

Needed a question mark after elite.

Biggin'

July 5th, 2012
1:06 pm

@Tokyo Jacket- You are comparing Tech to Oregon?!?!?! Tech should not even be in the same sentence as Oregon. They have been top 5 for the past 4 or so years and have actually won conference champs, BCS bowl games, and been to a MNC.

North Ave Killer Beez

July 5th, 2012
1:14 pm

Agreed, we are no Oregon, they actually USE their best athletes at key positions. Not that we could be either. They run a spread which is what we need to be running, specially with your tiny O-line.
@Robert, I just don’t think Tevin is going to make many plays. He manages the offense and it’s usually just enough to get by but he is not going to wow anyone. I want to watch an EXCITING team play ex: OREGON

Tech Troll 13

July 5th, 2012
1:21 pm

@dwagsalltheway – Don’t you need to be keeping an eye on the crime reports out of Athens instead of worrying about our recruiting?

@juvenal – the indoor facility is not air conditioned, so it does some good to be inside, but not a lot.

TW is our best chance for a big season. He doesn’t get enough credit for orchestrating the offense, which is THE most important thing about a TO QB. In those losses, his passing % is less because he was running for his life. If we HAVE to pass, were in trouble, but the OL was young and most are back, so I think there will be improvement there as well.

@biggin

July 5th, 2012
1:21 pm

I have to agree, GT 6th or 7th best team in ACC wouldn’t be in top 40. ACC champs finished 23rd or so? One top ten team VT (10th)since 2009.

Ken Sugiura

July 5th, 2012
1:25 pm

chas_jacket – it’s a tough one to call. as tech goes into camp, he’s no. 4 on the depth chart. he is obviously talented and could conceivably contribute, but if tevin wins the job, do you burn a redshirt for him to play backup? and that’s assuming he could beat out vad lee and synjyn days to get to the no. 2 spot, which is a considerable assumption. further, remember that coaches want to find a way to get both of those guys on the field, too.

BigTimeTECHFan

July 5th, 2012
1:39 pm

WR will be battle this year, who will step up?
Waller
Green
Jackson
Autry
Henry
Summers
Moore

Tokyo jacket

July 5th, 2012
1:40 pm

dawgalltheway, actually, rivals had him listed as a 3*, 6′5″, 4.4 40 guy. Yeah, no similiarities to Johnson or Baybay (who was listed by rivals as a 3*, 6′4″, 4.6 40 guy).

chas_jacket

July 5th, 2012
1:47 pm

Thanks Ken, i agree it would seem logical to redshirt justin as a Qb. With his speed and apparent playmaking attributes, just wondering if they wont try and get him on the field somewhere. He would be deadly as a slot a back/ receiver aka sammy watkins.

On the WR discussions, i am starting to think this may not be the offensive weak spot. Waller,Green and the freshman Henry have nice size and if they can catch at all we should be ok, especially since waller and henry have the size to be devastating blockers. Really getting optimistic on the season – Go Jackets!

Tokyo jacket

July 5th, 2012
1:49 pm

Biggin, Oregon is not the most talented team in the PAC12 on an annual basis. So, from a talent standpoint, yes, I’m comparing us. Oregon is about as talented as VT year to year and ranked similarly. Oregon churns out somewhere between the 2nd and 4th most NFL talent from year to year. USC is always ahead of them, Stanford is sometimes ahead of them, UCLA is sometimes ahead of them, Cal is sometimes ahead of them, even Washington has had better draft years.

I’m not saying we’re as good, I’m just saying that I think we’re at a talent level where we can compete with teams like Oregon, VT, etc. We’re no where near the talent level of Bama of LSU (you’d have to oversign to do that). If you think Oregon is on the same level as a team like Bama, when it comes to talent, you’re off you’re rocker. What Oregon does is what I believe we can do now that we’re stocked appropriately for our system: maximize our talent.

My point was that there are teams that have elite levels of talent and teams that have good talent and maximize/develop the talent they have. Tech has an OPPORTUNITY to be in the latter group with the folks they have, that’s all I meant. Whether or not we will do it remains to be seen. Personally, I saw significant development last year, so I think we’re heading to 9-10 wins next year, maybe more if we start out of the gate 1-0.

Tokyo jacket

July 5th, 2012
1:58 pm

Killer Beez, as far as TW goes, how about looking at who was blocking for him in the second half of the season too? He had all 5 starters in the first 4 games I believe. Then, several games with 3-4 starters, and by the end of the year, we had games with only 2 starters on the line at key points in the game. To my point above, I think Tech now has the right mix of talent AND depth to compete with just about any team not named Bama or LSU.

Also, can you please define the term “exciting”? We have at various times in the past four years led the nation in: # of 1-play TD drives, # of plays of 50 or more yards, # of plays of 20 or more yards, YPA passing, YPC rushing, etc. So please, enlighten us as to what exciting means? If you mean all of the above plus 10 wins, I agree, I’d like that too. In fact, I’d trade 10 wins to get it.

1 4 GT

July 5th, 2012
2:09 pm

Now guys, we all know that trolls like dwagalltheway are commenting here for no good reason. They just show their their ignorance, nay, their stupidity, with there totally inane statements. Don’t give into their toilet stirring and ignore them if at all possible. It seems to me as though they would enough concerns over the dwags to worry so much about GT. But, small minds are hard to figure out, huh?

BS Patrol

July 5th, 2012
2:20 pm

killer Beez, you just gave yourself away as a doggie troll, you idiot. What’s it gonna be? Our or your? You can’t have it both ways in the same blog. Been toasting a bone again, haven’t you? packin’ too I’ll wager. Same goes for Yellow Fuzz.

Paddy

July 5th, 2012
2:20 pm

Tokyo Jacket……being a loyal Dawg fan for 35 years, I wil responed with some kind of neutrality. Having no degrees fromTech or UGA, I trustmy opinion is unbiased.

Other than UGA I like to watch CPJ teams play. There are exciting in a way that a roller coaster is exciting. You do get caught up in the “what big play could happen next” mind set. I don’t hate Tech exceptforoe Sat a year

PEACH TREE

July 5th, 2012
2:30 pm

….. Darren Waller is a big target at 6′ 5″ – 220 .

ToeMeetsLeather

July 5th, 2012
2:33 pm

Can’t wait to see the impact of putting the new emphasis on special teams play. We have been as about as bad as a team could be in these areas and still fielded an above average team. If we can pin teams deep, play decent defense and let CPJ control the tempo and clock, 2013 could be a pretty good year on the flats. 2014 could be special with upperclassmen all over the field.

ToeMeetsLeather

July 5th, 2012
2:36 pm

2012 season, that is.

BS Patrol

July 5th, 2012
2:47 pm

Speaking of trolls, can anyone explain the mysterious absence of the troll king himself, the infamous WnE?

5150 UOAD

July 5th, 2012
2:47 pm

I feel GOOD…………I just did a job for a Big dWag fan, booster and 40+ year season ticket holder. He was nice and let me pee outside. I chose to do it on his Rose Bushes and 1985 UGa Privet Hedge he grew from Clippings from Vince Dooley and the Sanford Stadium. I asked if i could relieve myself outside cause I was Dirty and didn’t want to go in the home. He said SURE.

chas_jacket

July 5th, 2012
2:50 pm

Tokyo jacket, want to elaborate on potential alabama transfer/recruit? Didn’t see anything on the free sites

5150 UOAD

July 5th, 2012
2:56 pm

WnE and Thomas Brown are working out their Prenuptial agreement.
It seems a Same Sex, Different race and House Divided(uga fan & gt fan) marriage is really hard to come to terms on. It seems that since WnE is a Tech fan but hates CPJ if Tech wins then Thomas Brown can be the TOP for the year, but since Thomas Brown is a UGa fan but hates Richt if UGa doesn’t win by more than 15 points then WnE gets to be the TOP for the year. They are still fighting over who gets to STUFF the turkey for Thanksgiving too.

BS Patrol

July 5th, 2012
2:56 pm

Toe, every year we have had would have been good if we could play defense. I am looking forward to this year, though. Especially being able to kick into the end zone.