Notes from Saturday morning scrimmage. It was closed to public and media, so this is all based off of accounts from coaches and players. It’s like Rashomon.
1. Even without its two starting offensive tackles and the starting B-back, the Georgia Tech offense put in an effective morning of work in the team’s Saturday scrimmage.
In the Yellow Jackets’ first full-team scrimmage of fall camp, the first-team offense twice drove 70 yards for touchdowns and reached field-goal position on a third possession.
“They were pretty good at doing what we do,” coach Paul Johnson said. “When we started in the auxiliary stuff, not so good.”
Charles Perkins and Zach Laskey subbed for David Sims at B-back. Sims, who had surgery in the summer to repair a stress fracture in his shin, has been held out. Tackles Ray Beno and Morgan Bailey were replaced by Bryan Chamberlain and Tyler Kidney.
“First drive, we opened up and kind of ran the ball down the field at will, but after that, [the defense] started adjusting and started doing some new stuff and kind of slowed us down,” guard Will Jackson said. “All in all, that was probably the best first scrimmage we’ve had since I’ve been here, in terms of both sides.”
Quarterback Tevin Washington made some plays throwing the ball, hitting receiver Jeff Greene on the opening drive for a 15-yard gain and later setting up A-back Tony Zenon for a 27-yard reception across the middle. While he drove the team to two touchdowns on the first-team defense, Washington conceded he wanted to be more patient in the pocket.
“We executed a couple drives running the ball, running the option,” quarterbacks and B-backs coach Brian Bohannon said. “We still want to improve in the passing game a little more, (be) more efficient when we do throw it.”
2. Defensive coordinator Al Groh deemed the scrimmage “a positive day,” noting three forced turnovers, crisp tackling and further evidence that his players have a deep enough understanding of the schematic concepts to “mix and match some of them to solve the issues that the offense presents you.”
Groh gave a positive report on nose tackle T.J. Barnes, whose fitness level was one of the questions going into the scrimmage.
“He’s trained very hard and his stamina, there’s been no indication in training camp of any real stamina issues, and there did not seem to be [Saturday],” he said.
Outside linebacker Nick Menocal made one of the plays of the morning. He chased down quarterback Justin Thomas about 50 yards to strip him of the ball and force a turnover. Thomas, a freshman, is one of the fastest players on the team.
“It took three to seven points off the board, so that’s pretty significant in terms of what the scoreboard looks like,” Groh said.
Thomas did not have the ball secured close to his body, Bohannon said.
“Hard lessons to learn when you’re the young guy,” he said.
3. The star of the scrimmage was B-back Zach Laskey, the third-stringer behind Sims and Perkins. Johnson praised Laskey for a strong fall camp and a few big runs on Saturday. Laskey and Perkins, both sophomores, contributed to the two touchdown drives. Laskey had runs of 25 and 16 yards to help take the offense to the end zone.
“Zach Laskey made a lot of plays,” Johnson said. “I thought he did some good things.”
Asked if Laskey is pushing Perkins on the depth chart, Johnson responded, “I’d say yes, definitely.”
Johnson also noted the play of center Jay Finch and wide receiver Micheal Summers, who caught a 49-yard pass from quarterback Vad Lee. Washington pointed out defensive end Euclid Cummings for his work causing problems on option plays and safety Isaiah Johnson.
Johnson, Washington said, was “just disguising coverages better, giving me a hard time, not giving you a clear look at what they were going to do.”
4. A number of key players were held out of the scrimmage with injuries. Cornerback Rod Sweeting and quarterback/A-back Synjyn Days did not participate, along with Beno, Bailey and Sims. Johnson disclosed only Bailey’s injury, a concussion. Bailey, who has been in the lead to start at right tackle over Kidney, also suffered a concussion in spring practice.
Johnson said Sims is considered day to day.
5. Kicker David Scully, in competition with Justin Moore for the placekicking job, missed in the team’s only field-goal try of the morning, from 41 yards. Both made extra-point tries.
Said special-teams coordinator David Walkosky, “We have to finish the drive, and we didn’t do that.”
6. The team will have Sunday off after practicing nine consecutive days since Aug. 3, a total of 10 practices. The team has 29 total before the season opener Sept. 3 against Virginia Tech. Said Johnson, “You’d always like to be better, but I think we’re making progress.” … Lee “didn’t really have a great day altogether,” Bohannon said, having some challenges with the option and not passing as well as normal. … Behind Sims, Perkins and Laskey, B-back Marcus Allen is a likely redshirt. … As in the spring, the offense did a little work out of the “Pistol” formation. … … A team movie was scheduled for Saturday night. “The Campaign,” starring Will Ferrell, was a candidate.
Thanks for reading. Back Monday morning.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog