Georgia Tech held its media day Saturday afternoon. In addition to coach Paul Johnson, eight team members spoke, answering questions about themselves, teammates and the prospects. Some insights and information shared from the interview. More to come.
Quarterback Justin Thomas has developed in his knowledge of the offense.
“He had a good grasp of it last year, but he just keep refining it and refining it,” cornerback D.J. White said.
White shared an example that, during passing drills, Thomas has improved at going through his progressions, skimming through his potential targets with greater facility.
“He’ll check front side and then go back side to the back-side receiver, even though that’s not the primary read,” White said. “That’s one thing I noticed from him.”
Braun reaching down
Guard Trey Braun is trying to exert leadership in a way he learned from Omoregie Uzzi. Braun, a senior, said he has been trying to make sure he speaks daily with the younger players in his position group to reinforce to them their importance and duty to the team, particularly if they might be discouraged about their place on the depth chart or the number of practice repetitions they’re being given.
“A lot of times, teams win because of the scout-team looks they get,” Braun said. “And a lot of times, teams win because a third-string guy steps up and is able to do the job as well or better (than the two players ahead of him). A lot of those guys are so integral, not only to playing the sport but also to the culture we want to establish as a team.”
Braun said the value of actively including younger players was imparted to him partly by Uzzi, the former All-American guard. Braun said that when he was a freshman, Uzzi was helpful to him on a daily basis. One particular practice, however, Braun recalled that Uzzi snapped at him for getting a play wrong.
“He was like, Come on, man, go this way,” Braun said. “I understand (his frustration). He’s been working hard. And after he did that, like 30 seconds pass and he came up and he’s like, Hey, man, I’m sorry. I’m just stressed out. That made such an impact on me because he was like this All-ACC cat who took the time to apologize to a freshman and make sure I understood that I was important, too.”
Safety Jamal Golden came to Tech in 2011 and took a medical redshirt year in 2013 when he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the third game of the season. The passage of time has not escaped him.
“I always know I’m old when I look back and see coach (Steven) Sylvester, who’s now helping with the offense,” Golden said, referring to the former Tech captain and now graduate assistant. “I played with him my freshman year. Looking back at him and seeing him every day reminds me of how old I am, how old I’m getting.”
Golden has a few more pearls on this video produced by the athletic department.
Kallon has mentor
Defensive tackle Adam Gotsis has been taking a personal interest in helping backup tackle Francis Kallon develop. Gotsis said he’s paid close attention, for instance, when Kallon is taking his practice repetitions and corrects mistakes. The two are together watching game video or eating at the training table.
Realizing that defensive line coach Mike Pelton can’t offer constant attention to all of the players on the line, Gotsis said he’s trying to help Kallon improve his technique, “not letting him settle for just being a good athlete, but studying the game, studying his technique, just the little things.”
Snoddy regaining confidence
Doubts or fears that A-back Broderick Snoddy has felt about his broken leg are dissipating. Snoddy had been cleared in June after breaking the tibia and fibula in his left leg. He said that shortly after practice began, he made a hard cutback on his left leg in a seven-on-seven drill, planting on his left foot to change direction.
“After that, I got a little more confident,” he said.
Coach Paul Johnson said that Snoddy is penciled in as a starter. Hopes are high, obviously, for him to provide a game-breaking element to the office.
“I think Broderick’s always had to work hard at trying to do some of the other things (besides ball carrying), but just be consistent, get him back to where he was, because he was really a weapon right at the time he got hurt,” Johnson said. “He’s got great speed. He was breaking a lot of tackles and hopefully we can get him back to that point.”