1. After two weeks of grinding through preseason practice, Georgia Tech’s players were ready to check out of the team hotel and end fall camp. Evidently, their play in a Saturday morning scrimmage reflected it.
“It was a little bit ragged,” said coach Paul Johnson, who finished his opening remarks following the closed scrimmage with an underwhelming line. “All in all, there were a lot of mistakes.”
The first-team offense turned around its performance after getting stopped by the first-team defense on the opening series, scoring multiple touchdowns on possessions starting from its 30-yard line. The second-team offense showed considerable improvement from last week, Johnson said.
Johnson liked the progress that the team has made over the first 18 practices (11 remain before the opener at Virginia Tech Sept. 3), but not Saturday’s roughly 90-play scrimmage.
“It was good, but I would have liked to have seen it maybe end with a little more energy like the first scrimmage,” center Jay Finch said. “But, I mean, camp’s long and tedious. It’s expected.”
B-back Broderick Snoddy, possibly the fastest player on the team, provided fireworks by going untouched on a 70-yard touchdown run early on, but his fitness level could not sustain him through the whole morning. Snoddy had also been a candidate to play A-back, but has worked at B-back for most of camp.
“He’s more comfortable at [B-back],” quarterbacks and B-backs coach Brian Bohannon said. “That’s what he did his senior year of high school. I think that’s probably going to be home for him.”
2. After a poor performance in the team’s first scrimmage last Saturday, quarterback Vad Lee rebounded by leading multiple touchdown drives with the first- and second-team offenses. Among his highlights were a 38-yard run down the right sideline on an option keeper and two passes to A-back B.J. Bostic, one for an 11-yard score and a 28-yarder over the middle to set up another touchdown. (Scrimmage details were provided by the Tech sports information staff.)
“There’s a lot we can improve on, starting with myself,” Lee said. “But I think we did fairly well [Saturday].”
The backup spot between Lee and Synjyn Days figures to be fluid. They entered camp as co-No. 2, but Lee was dropped to No. 3 after last week. Days, however, has also been trying to earn a spot in the A-back rotation. How much Days figures to play at A-back will be a factor.
“We’ll sit down as a staff and talk about this scrimmage and where things are if something happens to Tevin (Washington), who’s the next guy up?” Bohannon said.
3. Defensive coordinator Al Groh has concerns about his crew of young linebackers. Tech signed seven in 2011.
“We have a lot of young guys who, the developmental cycle has just got to accelerate beyond what would be normal, so every day is part of that,” Groh said. “We still have a lot of competition for those spots. Maybe some of the performances from [Saturday] will dictate the depth chart a little bit.”
As of last week, three of those seven – outside linebacker Tyler Marcodes and inside linebackers Tremayne McNair and Jabari Hunt-Days – were on the second string. Redshirts are possible for sophomores who played as true freshmen last year – Nick Menocal, Kyle Travis and McNair. Groh said he hasn’t seen the type of individual progress to make depth-chart and redshirt choices obvious.
“I think we need to, at this stage, find quality guys to play in the game,” he said. Redshirting “will be another issue.”
4. Johnson said that coaches “kind of know” what the A-back rotation will be, and that, as of Saturday, the starters would be Orwin Smith and Robbie Godhigh. The versatile and explosive Smith has been a given. Godhigh has been competing with A-backs Deon Hill, B.J. Bostic, Tony Zenon and, starting in camp, Days. Godhigh, a former walk-on, came into camp leading the competition. The team will likely use a three- or four-player rotation.
5. “I think the defensive coaches are positively impressed with what the players have been able to handle here during the course of camp. A pretty large volume of stuff.” – Groh
“There’s nothing out here that’s not part of what we do. But we don’t really want anybody to see anything, truthfully.” – Bohannon on scrimmages, often open in the past, being closed
6. Moved up to second string last Sunday, B-back Zach Laskey continued to work with the first string as starter David Sims stayed on the sidelines. Sims had surgery to repair a stress fracture in his shin over the summer. … Wide receiver Jeff Greene, offensive tackle Ray Beno and guard Omoregie Uzzi participated after being held out previously. Cornerback Rod Sweeting and offensive tackle Morgan Bailey continued to be sidelined, along with Sims and Perkins. … Classes begin Monday, Johnson’s 55th birthday.
Thanks for reading.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog