Archive for August, 2012

B-backs remain a question mark for Georgia Tech

notes from Tuesday’s practice

1. Georgia Tech advanced one day closer to its season opener against Virginia Tech on Monday, but its plan for the B-back position remained unclear.

Coach Paul Johnson will not reveal the depth chart until Friday, but it appears that either David Sims or Zach Laskey will start and both will play. Broderick Snoddy and Charles Perkins are candidates for action, also.

Following Tech’s Tuesday practice, quarterbacks and B-backs coach Brian Bohannon said that he and Johnson would meet “in the next day or so” to determine a plan. Sims’ health, as he recovers from a stress fracture in his shin, is a factor.

“I think he’s working in that direction” toward being 100 percent, Bohannon said. “I think he’s missed that much time, it takes a little bit to get yourself back in not only shape but, playing that position, you’ve just got to do it over and over and over.”

Sims declared himself ready to play. “If they need me, I’m here,” …

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3 thoughts about Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech

Less than a week to go to the start of the season. I, for one, am glad, because I’m not sure I am creative enough to come up with ways to re-phrase the same questions I’ve been asking about the depth chart. Anyway, three thoughts.

1. I believe one of the more intriguing matchups will be Georgia Tech’s wide receivers vs. Virginia Tech’s cornerbacks. Perhaps Georgia Tech’s most glaring weakness, or at least area of inexperience, is wide receiver. None of Tech’s receivers has played significant snaps there or has a catch, as I’ve written before. It doesn’t mean they can’t play, of course, just that they haven’t shown it on the field.

Virginia Tech has experience in cornerbacks Kyle Fuller and Antone Exum. However, Fuller could move to the whip linebacker spot, as he has done in the past for Georgia Tech. I’m told the Hokies won’t use Fuller at whip as much as they have in the past, although Fuller said at ACC Media Days that he expected to be there for …

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B-backs still unsettled for Georgia Tech

1. Georgia Tech’s picture at B-back is cloudy with a chance of clearing in coming days.

Following the Yellow Jackets’ Monday practice, coach Paul Johnson said that coaches will determine the pecking order at B-back Wednesday or Thursday. The Aug. 21 depth chart lists, in order, David Sims, Zach Laskey and Charles Perkins, though Broderick Snoddy has made a strong bid for playing time.

“There’s probably two or three guys, and we’ll probably play by situation, which we’ll see,” Johnson said.

Sims’ health is a complication. He underwent surgery to repair a stress fracture in his shin in the summer and was held out of several practices.

“David, I don’t know that he’s 100 percent, so we’ll see how that goes as he gets closer,” Johnson said.

Laskey, who missed practice last week with strep throat, returned for the Friday scrimmage. Laskey passed Perkins on the depth chart after the first full week of camp.

(My guess – and this is a guess – is that Sims …

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Recalling the 2000 Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech lightning game

Lane Stadium’s lights illuminated the August night. A packed house roared, its hunger for football to be sated finally. Referee Dan Blum raised his arm to begin play. Joe Burns waited to receive the kickoff to open Georgia Tech’s 2000 season.

Whatever happens when Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech meet Monday night in Blacksburg, Va. in the season opener for both teams, nothing – or hopefully nothing – can match the singular manner that the rest of that night played out, 12 years ago Monday.

“Just to be that close to receiving the kickoff and then have everything change, that was a bad feeling,” Burns said.

In short, lightning struck moments before the ball was to be kicked off, leading Blum to wave both teams off the field. As both teams and some 56,000 fans waited out the downpour, the field was flooded and rendered unplayable. After a summer’s buildup for the BCA Classic, between the Yellow Jackets and the No. 10 Hokies and Michael Vick, the game was postponed …

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10 things you didn’t know about Tech assistant Joe Speed

Joe Speed graduated from Navy and trained Marines, an unlikely preparation for coaching Georgia Tech’s inside linebackers.

Speed, 39, is entering his third season at Tech. For more on Speed’s military background and his coaching ambitions, read further.

1. Speed’s father died when he was four, leaving his mother Courtney to raise Speed and his five older brothers by herself. She also owned a beauty salon/barbershop and a small grocery store in the Turner Station neighborhood in Baltimore that she still operates.

From his mother and older brothers, Speed said he learned values like hard work, responsibility and lifting up others.

“Everybody toed the line and did the right thing,” he said.

Speed’s mother was featured in the 2010 book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” the account of a Baltimore woman from Speed’s Turner Station neighborhood who unknowingly donated immortal human cells that led to the development of the Polio vaccine and many other scientific …

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Video: Who takes the field for Georgia Tech?

CineSport’s Tara Petrolino and I go over Georgia Tech lineup questions heading into Virginia Tech week.

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Ready or not, Jabari Hunt-Days to start vs. Hokies

A few old notes. Some more stuff going up later.

1. There will be no dipping Jabari Hunt-Days’ toe into the water. The Georgia Tech inside linebacker is getting tossed into the lake.

Ready or not, redshirt freshman will be starting in his first career game, beneath the lights of Lane Stadium at Virginia Tech in two Mondays. Hunt-Days will be subbing for Daniel Drummond, who has been suspended for 1 ½ games.

“It’s a great opportunity,” said Hunt-Days, the younger brother of quarterback Synjyn Days. “But ultimately, it’s just a team effort. That’s my thoughts.”

Tech has six more practices this week, Monday through Saturday, to try to prep Hunt-Days as much as possible.

“He’s doing real good,” said inside linebacker Quayshawn Nealy, who will be playing alongside Hunt-Days. “I think he’s going to be ready for VT.”

He will be the first redshirt freshman to start in the season opener since guard Will Jackson in the 2010 opener. He is the first defensive …

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Quayshawn Nealy buying in for Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Al Groh doesn’t so much shower praise as he does leak it. However, midway through the Yellow Jackets’ preseason camp, he was showing inside linebacker Quayshawn Nealy video clips from a recent practice and speaking with appreciation.

As Nealy recounted it, Groh told him that Nealy had been playing more physically, taking on running backs head on and delivering hits.

“I just like the way you’re playing,” Nealy said Groh told him.

Besides lifting Nealy’s confidence, the meeting demonstrated the connection developing between the sophomore and his defensive coordinator. In Nealy, Tech has a player in a leadership position who has become a Groh follower and appears ready to make a jump in performance.

“He takes all the information you give him and he tries to use it,” Groh said. “He sees that it works, so he comes back for more, so he’s always looking for more and then he’s trying to put it into play. He’s fun to go out …

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Jeremy Moore’s opportunity arrives

It appears that Georgia Tech’s starting wide receivers will be Jeff Greene and Jeremy Moore. Greene, you probably know a little about. He came in last fall and played as a true freshman along with Darren Waller, mostly on special teams. (Here’s a Q&A that Heather Dinich of espn.com did with him a few days ago.). Good size-speed ratio and has ability. Moore is a lesser known.

He came into camp behind Greene and Chris Jackson, but moved up to the first rung of the depth chart. Former wide receiver Tyler Melton, a teammate of Moore’s for three years, offered the following when I spoke with him a week or two ago for a story about the wide receivers.

“I think Jeremy’s going to be the surprise of the year, for sure,” he said. “He’s been hampered by injuries, so he hasn’t had the opportunity to showcase his talent, but I feel like, if given the opportunity, he’s definitely going to shine.”

Melton described Moore as having a smooth stride, speed and quickness and …

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Tech’s Orwin Smith seeks pinnacle

Orwin Smith’s personal goal for the season is flavored with boldness and hints of audacity.

The Georgia Tech A-back wants to lead the country in all-purpose yardage, which would require him to assemble one of the greatest seasons in school history. Smith, whose chiseled 6-foot-0, 205-pound frame contains ample boldness, is game.

“I thought all-purpose was something that was unique,” he said. “(I) haven’t really heard anyone set it as a goal before, so that’s kind of how it came.”

Whether he achieves it or not, Smith has placed himself in position to make an earnest attempt. He is running without problems after surgery to repair turf toe. He has an experienced offensive line to open alleys and a familiar quarterback to deliver the ball, both on option pitches and in the passing game. His likely A-back partner is a sound blocker.

Smith said he wanted a goal “that’s going to take hard work (but) I feel like I can still reach it at the same time.”

Tech’s most …

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