A wealth of notes from an interview earlier this week with Georgia Tech offensive line coach Mike Sewak.
1. In the first scrimmage, the linemen put 42 defenders to the ground out of 72 attempts. The scrimmage lasted roughly 100 plays. Said Sewak, “The ratio wasn’t good, but it wasn’t bad.” (Tech students, of course, know all about ratios that aren’t very good.)
2. It wasn’t good enough from the perspective that a number of ball carriers were run down from behind by defenders who could have been blocked on the backside of plays. “Obviously, gotta continue to make sure that’s not an issue,” he said.
3. He liked what he’s seen from centers Freddie Burden, Thomas O’Reilly and true freshman Andrew Marshall. They “have done a good job of going in there and trying to get some movement,” he said. He added that he was “pleasantly surprised” with Marshall, who showed athleticism in his ability to get to the linebacker level on run plays. With two centers ahead of him, Marshall appears destined for a redshirt.
4. Guard Shamire Devine has improved from last season and is working on his technique. “I think that he does some things sometimes really, really, really good,” he said. “He’s just got to get in playing shape and finish the whole drill. He can give us some stuff at the point of attack.” Devine clearly can be a difference maker on this line if his conditioning can improve. Sewak noted that Devine didn’t ask out of the scrimmage Saturday, which Sewak said was the first time that had ever happened. “That showed something,” he said. (Bear in mind that Devine is a redshirt freshman. He’s got a lot of road ahead of him.)
5. I think he’s good with Chris Griffin at right tackle (more on him later), but less so with left tackle. Sewak wants more plays out of first-stringer Bryan Chamberlain and Errin Joe has missed some time with injuries. He did like what true freshman Trey Klock showed at tackle in the scrimmage. “Out in space, he can get some people to the ground,” Sewak said. “He can get some movement. He seems to have a better adaptation of the playbook at this point over the other (true freshman) guys (at tackle), (Jake) Stickler and (Eason) Fromayan.”
6. True freshman Michael Preddy is not part of the 105-player group allowed by the NCAA to participate in the preseason as he is rehabbing an injury. He is at practice working with trainers but not able to attend meetings. He will be allowed to join with the team once classes begin Monday.
7. Sewak’s advice to new father Shaquille Mason: “I told him to keep (his girlfriend) happy.”
8. Griffin started in camp at left tackle but has been moved to right. Griffin played there last season and “seems to be more suited to play the right side,” Sewak said. The positions are the same, but, as I understand it, going from the left side to the right side is a little bit like learning to use a fork with your opposite hand.
9. As might be expected, Sewak likes the addition of special-teams coordinator Ray Rychleski, who is assisting Sewak on the offensive line. What the two, and graduate assistant Preston Pehrson have often done is to split the line into three groups and have each coach run drills, giving players more repetitions and more attention. Said Sewak of Pehrson, “He’s been with us now for three solid years. He knows what we’re looking for. He knows the key words and the hand placement and the foot placement. He knows what we’re looking for. I think that’s probably the biggest thing. He demands it out of them, too, and they respond to him.”