1. There are A-backs and B-backs. Then there’s Synjyn Days, who is taking snaps at both quarterback and A-back.
“People on the team have started calling me the C-back,” Days said following the team’s Monday practice, the fourth of the preseason.
Days’ dual life will continue with no apparent end in sight. He stays with the quarterbacks when the positions work separately and meets privately with A-backs coach Lamar Owens in the football offices. In team periods, Days plays one snap at quarterback and then switches to A-back. The morning after Tech’s first practice, Days said his legs were so dead that they locked up when he got out of bed.
Things have gotten better.
“I’m not tired at all when I’m doing the practice, so hopefully that translates to the game,” he said.
Days has accepted the cross training with a good attitude, saying he appreciates coaches’ trust and desire to get the ball in his hands and to get him on the field. He has enjoyed getting the ball on tosses, also.
“That just brings me back to middle school,” he said. “I used to play running back in middle school and catching a toss and seeing the open field, it seems better like that than at quarterback, but we’re not [tackling] right now.”
Tuesday, when the Yellow Jackets go in full pads for the first time to conduct full-contact drills, will give Days and coaches a sense of how he can handle the blocking element of the job.
“I was asking the A-backs, like, How do you cut (block), because I’ve never really had to block anybody,” Days said. “I’ve been doing some cut blocking on dummies. It seems like it’s working. We’ll see [Tuesday].”
2. Coach Paul Johnson said that if the season had started Monday, kicker David Scully would have gotten the nod over Justin Moore, who handled field goals and extra points last season. Tech had a kicking scrimmage Sunday, focusing heavily on kickoffs, punts and field goals.
Special-teams coordinator David Walkosky doled out praise to Scully and Moore and punters Sean Poole and Ryan Rodwell. He said that Poole has continued his work from a very good spring and that Rodwell, a freshman, “had a great scrimmage.”
Moore and Scully are “competing real well for a spot,” Walkosky said. “I’m excited about both of them.”
Johnson said seven or eight players are getting looks at the two returner spots. Jemea Thomas, Tony Zenon, Jamal Golden and freshman Anthony Autry have all caught coaches’ notice. A year ago, Zach Laskey took most of the punts, followed by Thomas. Orwin Smith and Zenon took the majority of the kickoffs.
“The No. 1 thing on returns is to end the play with the ball,” Walkosky said. “Whoever can take care of the football is No. 1.”
3. Tech practiced in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts Monday afternoon. Johnson deemed the practice “O.K.”
Inside linebacker Jabari Hunt-Days, who has been out with a muscle tweak, remained sidelined. B-back David Sims, who had surgery to repair a shin splint in the summer, was also held out.
4. After four days in helmets and shorts and then helmets and shoulder pads, Tech’s opening padded practice figures to be a test and eye-opener for the freshmen. Offensive tackle Ray Beno remembers not knowing what to expect and being “thrown into the fire” with the offense vs. defense option drill.
“Everything happens just so fast,” he said, snapping his fingers. “I just remember being so lost. Now, fast forward four years later, it’s crazy how much improvement has come.”
No one got a good crack on Beno on that first day.
“I actually had my head on a swivel,” he said. “As a freshman, I knew that much.”
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog