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Scrimmage #2 Recap -- Photo Gallery
The mantra has been "9/3" throughout the two weeks of #GTCAMP12 as Georgia Tech targets the season-opening date, Sept. 3 at Virginia Tech. Training Camp officially ended Saturday morning with the team's second scrimmage, and now preparations for the Hokies can begin next week.
"The guys are ready to play someone else," said senior QB Tevin Washington following the approximately 90-play scrimmage at Bobby Dodd Stadium. "We've been hitting each other for two weeks and all summer doing drills against each other. Guys are just ready to go and get some new faces in front of us."
The scrimmage's first series saw redshirt freshman LB Jabari Hunt-Days make a stop on third-and-five to halt the drive, but Days' classmate, Broderick Snoddy, put the offense on the board quickly on the second series by breaking off a 70-yard touchdown run.
Redshirt freshman QB Vad Lee and sophomore AB B.J. Bostic had a pair of hook-ups Saturday, with Lee hitting Bostic for an 11-yard touchdown on third-and-three, and later finding a leaping Bostic for 28 yards over the middle to set up another touchdown.
Lee enjoyed a solid morning both on the ground and through the air for the Jackets. He busted loose down the right sideline for a 38-yard gain to get a drive started. Snoddy picked up seven on a key third-and-five, and Lee capped the series with a 10-yard score up the middle.
"I felt like I could have thrown the ball better; it wasn't my best performance throwing the ball," said Lee. "I'm just ready to get back to the grind of practice next week and get with those receivers and work hard and keep throwing it."
Sophomore Synjyn Days and freshman Justin Thomas also took snaps at quarterback, and each led scoring drives. Days ran 16 yards to begin a series, picked up eight on a third-and-three, before finishing the drive with a one-yard score.
Thomas connected with sophomore WR Jeff Greene for 41 yards down the left sideline and a 15-yard personal foul penalty tacked on. But the defense came up with a stand on third down with Coray Carlson and Chris Crenshaw flushing Thomas from the pocket to force an incomplete pass. Junior Justin Moore booted a 29-yard field goal.
Kicker David Scully converted a 31-yard field goal earlier in the scrimmage and the junior was good on all five of his extra-point attempts. There was no punting on Saturday.
Sophomore BB Matt Connors and freshman AB Dennis Andrews each had short touchdowns runs late in the scrimmage.
Other highlights defensively were a Nick Menocal interception of Thomas, and the sophomore linebacker nearly brought the turnover back for a touchdown. On the very next series, redshirt freshman DL Jimmie Kitchen recovered a fumble. Sophomore DL Anthony Williams was in on two sacks, and junior DB Jemea Thomas snuffed out a screen pass on third-and-long, tackling WR Darren Waller for no gain to halt another early drive.
"Overall everything has been good," said Washington. "We've been pushing each other. The seniors are the core group of the team and we're trying to lead and push those younger guys and trying to get them ready mentally for what's coming. We still have some steps to take to get ready mentally for game speed. But we're ready to go."
The Yellow Jackets have Sunday off, and resume practice on Monday - the first day of classes in the fall semester at Tech.
AP Poll Released Saturday - Link: Preseason Polls via ESPN.com
Georgia Tech was recognized in another preseason poll on Saturday, with the Associated Press's release of its first Top 25 of the 2012 season. The Jackets were sixth among "others receiving votes," trailing Notre Dame, Washington, Auburn, North Carolina and Utah. Tech was also receiving votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll that was release earlier in August. In this week's Sports Illustrated, the publication had the Jackets' tabbed preseason No. 20.
Tech, as is sometimes the case the day before a scrimmage, wore shells for Friday afternoon's lone practice. As mentioned above, Saturday morning's scrimmage will be closed.
Saturday's scrimmage marks the end of preseason camp as classes begin on the Flats Monday morning.
Did You Know?
When Georgia Tech plays Virginia Tech Sept. 3 in Blacksburg, Va., it will be just the 10th all-time meeting in what has developed into one of the ACC's better rivalries. This year's game will mark the fifth time the Yellow Jackets and Hokies have played on a day other than Saturday.
Practices #14 & #15
For the Georgia Tech players, who have been in camp since August 3rd, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And it's not headlights from the ice cream truck that visited practice Wednesday afternoon.
The Yellow Jackets held their final two-a-day session Wednesday with a full-pads practice in the morning and a lighter 90-minute session in the afternoon. Tech will hold single practices Thursday and Friday, followed by a closed scrimmage on Saturday before breaking camp. Classes begin Monday on the Flats and the Yellow Jackets will begin their weekly routine.
Unlike previous seasons, this year's preseason camp has been mostly void of the August heat usually found in Atlanta.
Head coach Paul Johnson gave the players an ice cream break mid-way through Wednesday afternoon's practice.
Johnson On Bill Curry: (Curry, the Georgia State head coach, played at Georgia Tech from 1962-64. He was the Yellow Jackets offensive line coach in 1976 and later served seven seasons as head coach, from 1980-86)
"I think he's been an outstanding leader for many years... I think he's had a great career and had a lot of influence on a lot of people as a coach... I've always respected him from afar. I think he's a guy who has tried to do things the right way."
Johnson On Synjyn Days:
"He knows what to do (at A-back). It's just getting comfortable. He's more comfortable at quarterback than A-back, so we need to get him comfortable at A-back."
Did You Know?
Two times in the last three seasons, Georgia Tech scored a touchdown on its first offensive play of the year. Last year it was a 5-yard TD run by Orwin Smith vs. Western Carolina. In 2009, Jonathan Dwyer opened the season with a 74-yard TD run vs. Jacksonville State.
The Yellow Jackets were back on Rose Bowl field Tuesday afternoon with the 13th practice of #GTCAMP12, and while the intensity and effort have been high to date, there was noticeable shortage Wednesday.
"I hope that's not our best," said defensive coordinator Al Groh. "We didn't make progress. You have to keep moving forward. Even if you stall, you're losing ground. There were some individual players (that made progress), but not enough. This was the first day of concern. Those things occur in camp, but you can't accept it."
Of the half-dozen players that have missed time during camp with injury, the Jackets welcomed two back on Tuesday - CB Rod Sweeting and WR Jeff Greene.
One of Tuesday's highlights came courtesy of the Days brothers, with Synjyn lowering the boom on linebacker Jabari on a play from scrimmage. Synjyn spent much of Tuesday working from the A-back position.
Camp continues Wednesday morning with another two-a-day.
Practices #11 & #12
Following a day off on Sunday, Georgia Tech got back after it Monday with two practices. The Yellow Jackets wore full pads for the morning practice and shorts for the afternoon session.
A half-dozen players missed Monday morning's practice with injuries, although head coach Paul Johnson said none of the injuries are serious enough to miss the season opener. Among those wearing the red jerseys Monday were B-backs David Sims and Charles Perkins, wide receiver Jeff Greene, cornerback Rod Sweeting and tackle Morgan Bailey.
The Jackets practiced in a steady rain Monday afternoon and also took advantage of the Brock Indoor Practice Facility.
Tech will practice again Tuesday afternoon before holding its final two-a-day session on Wednesday.
Four Score Scholarships
Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson awarded scholarships to four players who came to the Flats as walk-ons: junior kicker David Scully, junior DT Ben Keith, senior A-back Jamal Paige and sophomore defensive back Coray Carlson.
Scully is currently listed first on the depth chart at kicker. Keith was an MVP of the scout team a year ago after overcoming health issues. Paige is an unselfish senior in his fifth-year in the program. Carlson saw action last season as a true freshman.
Reis On Hand
Former Yellow Jacket, Atlanta Falcon and New Orleans saint Chris Reis was on hand to watch Monday morning's workout. Reis played for the Falcons in 2006 before joining the Saints from 2007-11. He came back to earn his degree from Tech earlier this month.
Scrimmage #1 -- Photo Gallery
The Yellow Jackets scrimmaged for the first time during #GTCAMP12, working through about 120 plays Saturday morning at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The scrimmage operated with the offense having to drive 70 yards on the defense. There was no punting, and just one field goal was attempted. Every healthy player on the roster saw action on Saturday.
The first-team offense wasted little time striking for a touchdown, driving 70 yards with senior QB Tevin Washington under center on the opening series against the first-team defense.
"The first-team offense did some good things when Tevin played, and the second defense did a good job," said head coach Paul Johnson. "There were some positives both ways. They were pretty good at doing what we do. When we started in the auxiliary stuff - not so good."
Washington hit sophomore WR Jeff Greene down the left side for a 15-yard gain to put the offense in position on the opening drive, a defensive penalty on third-and-three kept the drive alive and sophomore BB Charles Perkins punched it in on first-and-goal from the 4.
Sophomore BB Zach Laskey enjoyed a big day, and the switch from the defensive backfield has appeared to be a good one for the Peachtree City, Ga., native.
"Zach played really well," said Johnson. "He's had a really good camp. He made a lot of plays (today). I thought he did some good things."
Laskey had a pair of long runs of 25 and 16 yards, which set up the first-team offense for a short touchdown from Washington on a keeper. Later in the scrimmage, he broke off a 13-yarder, and Washington hit AB Tony Zenon over the middle for 27 yards.
The third-team offense turned in a pair of big plays to set up another Jacket score. Freshman AB Dennis Andrews carried 19 yards, and after redshirt freshman QB Vad Lee hit rookie WR Micheal Summers for a 49-yard strike to the 1, Andrews capped the drive with a touchdown run.
"Summers had a big catch," said Johnson, when asked of who else looked good Saturday. "And Jay Finch played well. I thought he did a really good job when he was in there. Green and Darren Waller made a couple of catches, but we didn't throw the ball much."
Defensively, Nick Menocal chased down Justin Thomas to force a fumble, Chris Crenshaw and Shawn Green were each in on fumble recoveries, Quayshawn Nealy registered a key sack on third-and-three to halt a drive, and both Isaiah Johnson and Jemea Thomas broke up passes on consecutive throws to opposite sidelines.
The Jackets will break Saturday evening for a team movie, and take Sunday off before returning to the practice field on Monday afternoon.
Zach Laskey had a big day for the Yellow Jackets on Saturday
The Yellow Jackets went through a light practice in shells and shorts on the second Friday of #GTCAMP12, with the team's first scrimmage set for Saturday morning.
Exactly one week into camp, Friday's practice lasted just about two hours, in slightly cooler temperatures and overcast conditions on the Flats.
Although Saturday's scrimmage is closed to both the public and media, stay tuned to #GTCAMP12 Central at RamblinWreck.com for a recap, photos and video interview.
Of the former Yellow Jackets in the National Football League (26 players and five coaches/front office staff), six were in action at the Georgia Dome last night for the Atlanta Falcons' preseason opener versus the Baltimore Ravens. Playing for the Falcons were WR Kevin Cone, FB Mike Cox and DT Vance Walker, while RB Anthony Allen and OL Cordaro Howard suited up for the visitors. Pat Moriarty is the vice president of football administration for the Ravens.
**Georgia Tech's non-conference schedule is rated as the eighth-most difficult nationally by the Daily Oklahoman.
**Of all the players in ACC history with 1,000 career rushing yards, Tech's Orwin Smith has the highest per-carry average (9.7 yards/carry).
Georgia Tech wore full pads and practiced under rainy conditions Thursday afternoon at Rose Bowl fields. A close eye was kept on lightning in the area and the Brock Indoor practice facility was used for a part of Thursday's lone practice.
The Yellow Jackets will practice once again on Friday. Saturday's practice will remain closed to the public.
Uzzi Named Second Team Preseason All-America
The preseason honors continue to roll in for Georgia Tech senior guard Omoregie Uzzi, who Thursday was named by Sports Illustrated as a preseason second team All-America.
Uzzi, a Lithonia (Ga.) native, was a first team All-ACC selection last season and also earned second team All-America honors from SI.com and third team honors from Rivals. Uzzi helped the Yellow Jackets lead the ACC in rushing offense, total offense, scoring offense, fewest sacks allowed and third-down conversion percentage in 2011.
Already in 2012, Uzzi has been named to the Outland Trophy preseason watch list, has earned preseason second team All-America accolades by Lindy's and Phil Steele, and is a preseason All-ACC pick by the conference and a number of publications.
Thirty teams from seven different conferences, as well as one independent, are represented on the first and second teams by Sports Illustrated. LSU led the way with five players, followed by USC with four. Alabama, Wisconsin and Oregon each had three players named. The ACC had five players selected from five teams.
Practices #6 and 7
Day 6 of #GTCAMP12 is in the books, and the Yellow Jackets went through a pair of practices on the Flats - working out in full pads in the morning and capping the camp's first two-a-day in shells Wednesday night.
"We pushed through it," said head coach Paul Johnson following the evening practice. "There were times we could have done better, but they pushed through it."
Camp continues to progress toward the first of two scrimmages, which is scheduled for Saturday (it has not yet been announced if that will be open to the public). As of Wednesday, just 26 days remained before the 2012 season-opener - a national-TV game at Virginia Tech on Labor Day night.
"The big thing about Saturday is to see where we are and set the depth," said Johnson. "We'll go about three or four more days and then we'll be in to scout work."
With the return of big-play maker - senior A-Back Orwin Smith - the backfield looks to be an area of strength for the Yellow Jackets. It also has some depth, and that was on display Wednesday as sophomore B-Back Zach Laskey broke off a couple nice runs in the morning and fellow sophomore Matt Connors caught Coach Johnson's eye.
Another underclassman helped the defense turn in a big play in the evening session as freshman corner D.J. White picked off a pass in the third-and-goal segment.
Georgia Tech's September 3rd opener at Virginia Tech marks just the team's second-ever game on that date. The first came in 2005 - a 23-14 win at 15th-ranked Auburn in front of 87,451 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Did You Know
With QB Tevin Washington (986 yards rushing), BB David Sims (698 yards) and AB Orwin Smith (615 yards) all returning, the Jackets welcome back 75 percent of their rushing attack from 2011.
Coach Johnson breaks down Wednesday morning's practice
Practice No. 5
Georgia Tech's fifth August practice was also the Yellow Jackets' first day in full pads. Tech began with the Oklahoma drill and went on to practice for two hours at Rose Bowl Fields.
"It was good to get back out there in pads and play a little bit," head coach Paul Johnson said. "There were some kids that did some good things.
"I think the enthusiasm is OK. They are still trying to learn. Anytime you don't know what you're doing, it slows you down. But the guys who know what they are doing are playing pretty hard."
The Yellow Jackets will hold their first two-a-day session on Wednesday, with a morning practice and a late afternoon practice.
Separated at Bith
Georgia Tech's Francis Kallon and Pat Gamble are both true freshmen, both defensive ends and both highly-touted prospects from Georgia. Both are 6-foot-5, both attended a "Central" high school - Gamble went to Central Carroll, Kallon attended Central Gwinnett. By chance, they ended up rooming together this summer. Oh, and they were born on the very same day - February 2nd, 1994.
There's Two of Them
Zach Allen is a true freshman defensive back from Roswell, Ga. There's another Zach Allen in the ACC - a linebacker at Wake Forest.
Brooking A Bronco
Former Georgia Tech star Keith Brooking, a 15-year NFL veteran, has signed with the Denver Broncos. He'll be a teammate with another former Yellow Jacket, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. Brooking played in all 16 regular season games for 11 consecutive seasons.
Practice No. 4
The "introduction" to #GTCAMP12 is over. The rubber meets the road Tuesday when the pads go on in full, and the first two-a-day is Wednesday. You could say the fun on the Flats is over.
"We really haven't been in pads yet," said head coach Paul Johnson following Monday's practice on Rose Bowl field. "We'll know more when they start playing."
Synjyn Days continues to split time at both quarterback and A-back, while incoming freshman Dennis Andrews, a quarterback in high school, has also made a move to the back field.
"He (Synjyn) knows where to go and (Dennis) has done some good things out there," said Johnson. "But we'll find about those guys tomorrow when they have to put their face in there and block somebody."
A battle to keep your eye on in camp is at the kicker position, where junior David Scully continues to push incumbent starter junior Justin Moore.
"I'm really happy with the kickers," said new special teams coordinator David Walkosky. "I think Justin and David are both doing a good job. It's a healthy competition."
With the induction of Curtis Martin, defensive coordinator Al Groh can add another Pro Football Hall of Famer to the list of legends he's been associated with in his four-decade career. The former New England Patriots and New York Jets running back, Martin was on both clubs during Groh's tenures as linebackers coach. Martin extended an invitation for Groh to attend Sunday's Pro Football Hall of Fame induction in Canton, Ohio.
Can't beat Monday's weather in Midtown -- a little rain early gave way to sun and somewhat cooler temps
Practice No. 3
Georgia Tech practiced in shoulder pads and shorts in Bobby Dodd Stadium Sunday afternoon. The Yellow Jackets spent nearly the entire practice session working on special teams, specifically kickoffs, punts and field goals.
Juniors Justin Moore and David Scully are battling for the job at kicker, while Sean Poole, Michael McDonald and newcomer Ryan Rodwell are competing at punter. Last season Moore set a school record for PATs (56-of-56), while Scully handled the majority of kickoffs.
Numerous players are in the hunt for a role as kick and punt returner.
Tech will practice again Monday afternoon before wearing full pads for the first time on Tuesday.
King Enters 48th Season As Team Dentist
Dr. Aaron King, the team dentist for Georgia Tech football and men's basketball, is in his 48th season working with the Yellow Jackets. King actually began his association with Yellow Jacket football in 1960 when he made a mouthpiece - they were not required equipment back then - for one player. Five years later King became Tech's official team dentist.
The Yellow Jackets were on the Rose Bowl practice field early Saturday morning for the second practice of #GTCAMP12. Saturday was a full day for Georgia Tech Football, with practice in the morning, followed by Media Day and the annual Fan Day at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
There was no lack of intensity during the Jackets' second practice, and the players were treated to a welcomed break from the heat, with morning temperatures in the mid-70s. The players will be in shells (shoulder pads) for the first time Sunday, with the first practice in full pads set for Tuesday.
"The last couple days have been productive," said head coach Paul Johnson. "I've really been encouraged by the attitude and the work ethic of our guys in the off-season, and I think they've had a great summer."
Following Media Day activities, there was a tremendous turnout at Bobby Dodd Stadium for the Yellow Jackets' Fan Day. Festivities began on Callaway Plaza with entertainment, music and games, and included the Tech cheerleaders and Buzz the mascot. Bobby Dodd Stadium gates opened at 4 p.m. for fans to meet the players and coaches, and get autographs and photographs on historic Grant Field.
Be sure to follow the Yellow Jackets on Twitter (@gtathletics) and use the hash tag #GTCAMP12 for updates, photos and inside information during Training Camp.
Georgia Tech's first preseason practice was a learning experience for 27 Yellow Jacket newcomers, including 17 scholarship freshmen.
"They're heads were spinning a little bit," head coach Paul Johnson said of the rookies.
Tech practiced for two hours in shorts and helmets, the same gear it will wear for practice No. 2 on Saturday.
Four scholarship quarterbacks took snaps Friday, including senior Tevin Washington, Tech's first quarterback to play as a graduate student since George Godsey in 2001. Johnson said it was no secret that Washington will almost certainly get the starting nod.
"Tevin Washington is the starter and it would take something out of the ordinary for that to change," Johnson said. "I expect him to be the starter when we go to Blacksburg."
Graduating Jackets: Yellow Jacket quarterback Tevin Washington and offensive lineman Nick McRae are officially graduate students. There's a good story in Friday's AJC on Washington. Some former Tech football players will graduate tonight (ceremonies are at the Fox Theater): Rashaad Reid, Stephen Mann, Jamal Cox and Chris Reis.
Constant reminders of the importance of staying hydrated during camp
On Thursday morning, senior A-back Orwin Smith was named to the preseason watch list for the Paul Hornung Award. The qualifications for the award seem ideal for Smith, the fourth-year senior A-back from Phenix City, Ala. Smith has rushed for 1,157 career yards, he ranks among Tech's all-time prolific kick returners with 1,357 yards and he has more than 500 yards receiving. With 3,041 yards, Smith has an opportunity this season to become just the fifth player in Yellow Jacket history to accumulate more than 4,000 career all-purpose yards.