Just one more day till kickoff. Till then, some tidbits collected in interviews and elsewhere that didn’t quite or haven’t yet made it into other stories or blog posts.
1. With Freddie Burden and Thomas O’Reilly ahead of him on the depth chart, freshman center Andrew Marshall appeared headed for a redshirt season. But he impressed offensive line coach Mike Sewak enough in the preseason to merit a promotion. He’s expected to play this season, likely one of two incoming freshman offensive linemen who won’t be redshirted, along with tackle Trey Klock.
Sewak likes his athletic ability and has particularly been taken with his study habits and how quickly he has picked up the offense.
“We’ll just see what he can do,” Sewak said. “As the games unfold themselves, he’s going to get a chance to play. We’ll see what he can do.”
With No. 2 right guard Nick Brigham out with a concussion, O’Reilly has been moved over to that spot, making room for Marshall to play center with the second string.
2. Left tackle Bryan Chamberlain knows the offense, has labored to improve and has good study habits, but hasn’t quite earned Sewak’s full trust with busted plays at the wrong time.
“Sometimes, it’s just bad footwork at a bad time,” he said.
3. A pretty strong quote about the team’s competitiveness in camp from Sewak, which will probably go into a story for Saturday’s paper and myajc: “I think the (difference in) attitude is really night and day.”
4. At Saturday’s game, fans making calls or checking their phones may take notice of improved cellular service. This past week, AT&T, a corporate sponsor of the athletic department, installed a distributed antenna system throughout Bobby Dodd Stadium for improved cellular service for AT&T customers. (That would include guard Trey Braun, who has interned with AT&T.) Other cellular providers will be able to use the DAS backbone in the near future to increase their signal strength.
5. Speaking of AT&T, Saturday will also be the first game for new radio color analyst Roddy Jones. Jones, a captain of the 2011 team, will pair with Brandon Gaudin. Jones is a retail store manager for an AT&T store at the Forum in Norcross.
6. Defensive coordinator Ted Roof on twins Lance and Lawrence Austin, who are both in the two-deep at cornerback. On this week’s depth chart, in fact, Chris Milton and Lawrence Austin were co-No. 1’s.
“I’ve seen strong competitive will, and they’re smart football players,” Roof said. “They pick things up pretty easily, which is a real plus, knowing what to do. Because, as a coach, that’s what you want to know. What can I count on, what can I expect, so that when you make a call, you’re not expecting, is it a 50/50 (chance) with this guy on a (busted play) or something like that.”
7. Roof said defensive tackles Adam Gotsis and Shawn Green have provided significant leadership to the defense, particularly in establishing a standard of effort.
“They’ve been positive role models, positive examples,” Roof said.
Roof also mentioned linebackers Quayshawn Nealy and Paul Davis and safeties Jamal Golden and Isaiah Johnson and cornerback D.J. White.
“D.J. White’s been a lot more vocal,” Roof said. “Those are all positive signals and positive symptoms, if you will, of something growing, but we’ve got to prove it on the field.”
8. Nealy needs just one class to graduate with a management degree. Nealy plans to also get a job at Barton Executive Search, an executive search firm that has had a number of current and former Tech athletes as interns.
With just one class, Nealy said, “I might as well get some work experience. I’m still going to be able to get in and watch extra film and do things like that, but I felt like that would be a great fit for me, (and) make some extra cash at the same time and then get that work experience so it can be on my résumé.”
9. Linebacker Tyler Marcordes said he noticed in scrimmages that it was more difficult to create turnovers against the offense than it has previously been. Most notably, the offense didn’t have any turnovers in more than 100 plays in the second scrimmage of camp.
“I think they’re just focusing more on it,” Marcordes said.
10. Former Tech All-American Jeremiah Attaochu, whom I spoke with for a story about KeShun Freeman and other players who will be filling in for the six senior starters on the 2013 defense, said of his new life with the San Diego Chargers that “It’s been a lot of fun. I definitely enjoy it. It’s a lot playing a sport as a professional. It’s definitely a lot different than college. You live it and breathe it and everything you do factors into your job, basically.”
Among Attaochu’s responsibilities is bringing chicken meals to the team plane for the players in his position group. He also carries teammate Dwight Freeney’s bags.
After signing his contract, a four-year deal reportedly worth up to $4.2 million, Attaochu treated himself to a Jeep Grand Cherokee. It’s a nice car, but far from the Bentleys, Aston Martins and Ferraris that populate the Chargers players parking lot.
Said Attaochu, “I’m not quite there yet.”