1. With preseason camp ending Saturday, Georgia Tech’s first official day of preparation for Virginia Tech did not inspire confidence.
“[Monday] was not very good,” coach Paul Johnson said. “It was unacceptable.”
Asked if the team lacked energy, Johnson said it was “a lack of a lot of things,” then shared responsibility with the coaching staff for not getting the team ready for practice.
“Anytime you come out to practice or to play a game with anything less than [full effort], it’s going to show,” A-backs coach Lamar Owens said. “We’re just trying to get these guys in the habit of (understanding) there is only one speed that you play at. You only play fast. There is no other gear.”
The Yellow Jackets will play Virginia Tech Sept. 3 in Blacksburg, Va. Georgia Tech has 10 more practices before the opener. Johnson said Monday’s practice was “strictly scout-team work.” One of the biggest challenges the Jackets face is stopping quarterback Logan Thomas, who tore apart Tech for 209 passing yards and three touchdown passes on just 13 attempts last fall in the Hokies’ 37-26 win.
Asked who was portraying Thomas on scout team, Johnson responded, “I have several. Justin Thomas. Doesn’t he look a lot like him?
Logan Thomas is listed at 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds. Justin Thomas, the Jackets’ true freshman quarterback, is 5-11 and 169 pounds.
2. Two weeks of fall camp has only confirmed to offensive line coach Mike Sewak the benefits of rotating linemen in games. Sewak said that the plan is for Shaquille Mason torotate with starting guards Omoregie Uzzi and Will Jackson, and that Trey Braun could join the rotation down the road. At left tackle, Ray Beno could share snaps with backup Bryan Chamberlain while Tyler Kidney and Morgan Bailey could split time at right tackle.
Bailey, who was elevated to the first string after spring practice, returned Monday to practice after suffering a concussion in the first week of camp but incurred another injury in the practice. Nick McRae could also sub for starting center Jay Finch.
While most offensive lines play a starting five without rotating, Sewak sees an advantage in keeping players fresh. Seeing that defenses often rotate their linemen, “now we can do the same, especially in that guard box,” Sewak said. “I think that’ll be excellent for us.”
Sewak didn’t know yet what sort of rotation pattern he would use.
“A lot of times, if a guy’s got a good thing going, you let it roll,” he said.
3. B-backs David Sims and Charles Perkins returned to practice Monday after being held out because of injuries, but Tech has another key player out. Cornerback Louis Young was wearing a forearm cast Monday, with his arm in a sling. Johnson did not shed more light on the matter, but confirmed that he is not playing against Virginia Tech. Young, though, was apparently not going to play anyway as part of a two-game suspension for violating NCAA rules by selling his tickets to the Georgia-Tech game last November.
While Tech returns four of its top five defensive backs, the injury to Young could be impactful if he is out for a considerable length of time. Young was a starter and plays a key role in the nickel package. In two-cornerback alignments, Tech is covered with Rod Sweeting and Jemea Thomas, but a nickel package without Young would likely include sophomore Jamal Golden, who mostly played special teams last season.
4. Quarterback/A-back Synjyn Days gave a good report on his work at A-back, where he spent a lot of time during camp. Learning to cut block has been the most difficult aspect.
Days said he stood up in an A-backs meeting and told the players how much he respected and appreciated their work, particularly blocking on the perimeter.
“Because at quarterback, you’d be like, How didn’t they get that guy down?” Days said. “But actually doing it, it’s like, Goodness, that is hard.”
5. There were no significant changes to the depth chart following Saturday’s scrimmage. All of the starters remained the same. … Monday was the first day of class and also Johnson’s 55th birthday. … Sewak said that Mason stood out in Saturday’s scrimmage. “I thought it was definitely one of his better scrimmages since he’s been here,” he said.
Thanks for reading. More Tuesday.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog