Graduate transfer Patrick Skov is a strong candidate to win the starting B-back job for Georgia Tech, but is no certainty.
“We’re going to give him a chance to come in and compete,” coach Paul Johnson said. “He’s certainly a mature guy, a strong, cut-up looking guy. I think he can be good there. He’s still got to come in and beat out Marcus Allen and the guys that were there. We’re not just going to anoint him as the guy.”
The competition between Allen, Skov and incoming freshmen Mikell Lands-Davis and Marcus Marshall figures to be among the fiercest in Tech’s preseason camp, which begins Saturday. Allen, who switched back to B-back after coming to Tech at that position and then moving to linebacker and wide receiver, starts as the No. 1.
“I think Marcus sees it as his last hurrah, his last chance,” Johnson said, speaking at the ACC Kickoff. “He embraced it and went after it full force. Now, can he hold these other guys off, Marcus Marshall and Mikell Lands-Davis and Patrick Skov and all those guys? We’ll see. I feel comfortable if we had to play with Marcus.”
Johnson gave further detail into Skov’s decision to transfer, which he addressed earlier in the summer.
Johnson said that Skov was watching the ACC championship game between Tech and Florida State in December. Meanwhile, Skov’s father Peter was watching the game himself, and the two got connected over the phone. Both men, Johnson said, had independently come to the same conclusion that B-back would be a fit.
Said Johnson, “I think he was tired of running into linebackers, blocking all the time.”
At Stanford, Skov largely served as a blocking fullback in the Cardinal’s offense, receiving 14 carries in three seasons (though he was a backup much of the time). At Tech, B-backs Synjyn Days and Zach Laskey averaged 23.4 carries per game last season.
Skov’s candidacy is aided by his considerable advantage in age and experience. Skov turned 23 this month. He is five years older than Lands-Davis. (Marshall’s birthdate is not listed on the Tech website.) That’s a lot of time spent in the weight room that Marshall and Lands-Davis have not yet been able to invest. And though Skov is only a year older than Allen, who turns 22 in September, he has significantly more playing experience.
Johnson said that Skov, in comparison to the freshmen, may not be as gifted athletically, but has a “bigger, older, more mature body. Not that he’s a bad athlete – he’s probably a good athlete, but those freshmen are good athletes.”
Despite the lack of experience at the position, Johnson revealed no concerns.
“We’ll be O.K.,” he said. “Whoever plays B-back, they’ll have over 1,000 yards, two guys or one guy or whatever.”