Perhaps the most significant position competition on the Georgia Tech offense is taking place at right guard, where Shamire Devine, Gary Brown and Eason Fromayan are trying to win the starting job alongside the Yellow Jackets’ four returning starters on the line.
Offensive line coach Mike Sewak gave insight into that race and other matters in an interview this week.
Devine in the lead
Sewak said he’d like to see Devine, who has the most experience and demonstrated his considerable power and quickness last season as he shared snaps with left guard Trey Braun last season, take the job, and he thinks Devine would, too.
“I’m not going to say that he’s the guy, because he’s not,” Sewak said. “I’m not going to say he’s not the guy because he’s not (that), either. I think he has a chance to help us and play for us. I saw some things (Monday) that were quicker and faster than he’s done in the past. I think he’s starting to catch on to the schemes, so he doesn’t have to think as much, and he can use his physical ability. And he has some physical ability.”
The challenge for Devine is consistency.
“The consistent movement at the point of attack,” Sewak said. “He might be able to give us one, two, three (plays). He’s got to give it to us every time we ask for it.”
Bright lights for Brown
Brown is a redshirt freshman, who has tremendous strength and last year was the team’s offensive scout team player of the year. Brown, as a redshirt, has not played in a game yet.
“The lights are going to be awful bright for a guy like that,” Sewak said.
Brown played organized football until he was nine and then quit and didn’t begin playing again until his freshman year in high school, according to his bio Sewak said that could be a factor in his development.
“Now, physically, he did some things here, a rep or two there where do look at it and are very pleased,” Sewak said.
Fromayan developing versatility
Fromayan transferred last summer from TCU as a hardship case (he is from Alpharetta) and played 13 games last season with one start. He was a tackle, but is being tested at guard.
“It’s way too early to tell what he is for sure, but he has played enough at tackle that he can go back out there (if necessary),” Sewak said. “But it’d be nice if he can help us inside, too.”
Sewak rated him among the top 10 or 11 offensive linemen on the team.
“So he should help us,” Sewak said.
Mixing up freshmen
With a number of redshirt freshmen – Trey Klock, Jake Whitley, Jake Stickler and Brown – as well as first-year freshmen Brad Morgan and Will Bryan, Sewak is lining them up with veteran players in drills to make sure they’re learning proper footwork and other techniques.
Center Andrew Marshall, who missed spring practice with an injury, “looks great,” Sewak said. He thought Marshall would have more of an adjustment time in practice, but he said you wouldn’t know by watching him that he’d been hurt and missed time.
“Not with his punch, not with his footwork, not with his explosion,” he said.
Marshall may not play much behind Burden, although Sewak gave him snaps during the season, but a capable backup at center is a valuable commodity. It’s pretty clear that Sewak feels comfortable with him.
Bryan, Klock showing good habits
Bryan, who was an early enrollee, and Klock have been impressive among the freshman group.
“I think those kids have done a good job because they’re trying,” he said. “They come for extra time, they come to make sure they understand what’s going on. Both kids are physical, gifted, quick-footed, agile and that definitely helps in our offense.”
The line’s conditioning level is good, but he drew a distinction between summer workout conditioning and football conditioning.
The line would be fine running sprints, but “I don’t know if you can go 18 plays in Miami right now,” he said. “I don’t know if you could run where you’ve got to block a guy for three seconds, get back up, get back in the huddle and get back in there another 20 seconds and do it again.”
To that end, he has seen Burden and Bryan Chamberlain trying to win each sprint, the same way that Shaquille Mason did last year.
“I’m not going to say that (the leadership) is the greatest, but I will say that it’s honest and it’s legit and if they’ll continue to be like that, it’ll be a good group.”
Freddie Burden: Expert wangler
Sewak delivered a nice slam on Burden, who he says has little trouble recalling his positive plays from the 2014 season. But when Sewak cues up a poor play he made last season in a position group meeting, Burden will blame it on a line call made by Mason (who obviously isn’t there to dispute the accusation). Savvy move.
“He’s been in the program long enough,” Sewak said of Burden. “He knows how to wangle and dangle.”