What a great day and a great crowd this past Saturday. It was the best spring crowd I’ve seen in years and a clear sign that Paul Johnson is resurrecting the idea of getting the fans involved in the spring. (This was something I don’t think Chan Gailey really understood…being an NFL guy.) I can’t think of a better way to stimulate ticket sales, except maybe winning more games and continuing to beat UGA.
The lower east stands seemed packed and there were a fair number of people in the north stands as well. I would estimate maybe 8-9 thousand fans in attendence. This is a marked improvement from previous years where we had maybe 1500 or so.
The weather was great…not too hot and not too sunny. It was just right for people like myself who took the opportunity to get out with the kids and enjoy a day on campus.
There were also reportedly 75-100 former players and lettermen in attendence and more than a few notable names and faces wound up on the matrix board where Wes Durham interviewed them and asked about their best GT memories and the like.
But enough small talk…lets talk about the football.
Nesbitt was out and Dwyer and Thomas seemed to play very sparingly.
Jaybo needs to take better care of the ball and look for the pitch a little more often. He seemed to hold onto the ball and dive for yards on several occassions rather than pitch outside. A fumble on the first play of the scrimmage set the gold team up for a short field and an easy touchdown.
Dwyer looks a bit heavy, but its spring. He reversed a busted run early in the scrimmage and got good yardage in the other direction but didn’t appear to have the game breaking speed we’re accustomed to seeing. Dominique Reese took a good angle on him and was able to get him out of bounds before he could really hit the sideline and extend the run for a touchdown.
Speaking of Reese, he was very active and made several good open field tackles. He looked to be recognizing plays pretty well and taking good angles in pursuit.
The defensive line rotated a ton of players. Anthony Eguniwe was surprisingly active and involved in several plays. I don’t remember him being that speedy and aggressive last season when he got in the game in spot duty. He seems to really have improved and he now looks like he belongs.
The defensive line seemed to be handling the offensive guys pretty well. I guess that should be expected since more than one of our future starting OL were held out and we were playing a cobbled together offensive line.
The linebackers and safeties were really taking advantage of the defensive line occupying the blockers up front. They were all over the place making tackles and generally controlling the corners, forcing Jaybo or Washington to keep the ball.
Morgan Burnett is a stud. ‘Nuff said.
After quite a bit of vanilla option football, the offense started showing some wrinkles. We saw some passes downfield, some nice reverses that went for good yardage, and at least one inside draw / pitch that Marcus Wright turned into really nice yardage.
We’re embarassingly deep in the offensive backfield. Its sick honestly. Even with Dwyer held out we had guys like Watson and Lyons carrying the load at B back. Anthony Allen adds a completely new dynamic at the A Back position and will team up with speedsters Wright and Peebles. (I really really like Marcus Wright to have a huge season…)
We look good at least three deep at quarterback. Jaybo and Washington looked like they knew what they were doing and all showed flashes that they’ll be great QB options once Nesbitt moves on and releases his hold on the position. Washington is a stout, solid guy and looks like he can really bring alot of physicality to the position, similar to Nesbit.
There were some down points though…
The kicking game was horrendous, horrible, and just plain homely. There is nothing good I can say about it.
And the wide receiver position still looks extremely thin beyond Thomas. Alot of young kids and walkons were getting time there. Of course, my impression may be governed by the fact that we’re still primarily a running team and likely always will be.
We’re gonna run the ball ALL OVER people this coming season.
We’re going to struggle if we are forced to throw too much.
The defense will be aggressive and fast.
We better learn to kick the ball…or its going to hurt us.
But most of all…Paul Johnson has returned the excitement to Georgia Tech’s football program…the crowd attests to that.