New Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Ted Roof apparently will need more than four practices to shape the Yellow Jackets into championship form.
“There were some good things, some mistakes, obviously,” Roof said Saturday, following Tech’s fourth session of spring practice. “Things we’ve got to clean up.”
Poor pursuit angles seemed to particularly nettle Roof following the practice, which was Tech’s first in full pads and included some scrimmaging. It was a significant weakness in Tech’s defense last season, as defenders often were outflanked by opposing ball carriers. It often takes a full-pads practice for players to recognize it fully, Roof said.
In contact practices, when defenders tackle or wrap up ball carriers, “you take bad angles of pursuit, and he cuts back and he gains 10 extra yards, you see it,” Roof said. “You say, ‘This is why we’re such sticklers of it.’”
In the scrimmage portion, every available player participated. Among the notable plays was an interception return for a touchdown by rising redshirt freshman safety Lynn Griffin. Coach Paul Johnson shared Roof’s viewpoint.
“It’s like I told the guys afterwards: ‘The good, the bad, the ugly,’” he said. “There was a little of all of it.”
New stance: In his new role as a rush defense end, Jeremiah Attaochu has the option of either lining up in a stand-up position or in a three-point stance. While the former outside linebacker has played standing up for his first three seasons, he’s experimenting with putting his hand on the ground.
“I just want to master doing the 3-point stance because I haven’t done it,” he said.
Attaochu is taking a practical approach to his position change, not necessarily the ideal development for a player going into his senior season.
“I learn new things doing this,” he said. “I want to be able to do both (end and linebacker). This is perfect for me.”
Working with new line coach Mike Pelton, Attaochu said he’ll continue to rely on his speed as an edge rusher, but wants to make better use of his hands and hips as he takes on opposing offensive tackles.
“Last year, it was just speed and natural ability,” he said. “Now I’m getting my game more detailed with Coach Pelton.”
Sims’ take: By B-back David Sims’ evaluation, quarterbacks Justin Thomas — “some good runs” — and Vad Lee — “a good couple of drives” — made highlights in the scrimmage. On defense, converted end Chaz Cheeks made a couple of plays, as did nose tackle Adam Gotsis, Sims said.
“He was very destructive, especially early on,” Sims said of Gotsis. “I think (the offense and defense) battled it out (Saturday). Nobody had the upper hand.”
Sims also offered his thoughts on his new position coach, Johnson, with former Tech assistant Brian Bohannon having been hired to coach Kennesaw State. Bohannon was Sims’ position coach for his first four seasons at Tech. Down one coach, Johnson is filling in with quarterbacks and B-backs.
The message and principles are the same, but “it’s been a little bit different,” Sims said of playing for the hard-to-please Johnson. “It hasn’t been as bad as I thought it was going to be.”
Injury report: Center Freddie Burden, who has trained with the second-string offense, was on crutches after the practice. Johnson said he wouldn’t know the severity of the injury for a couple of days. Walk-on Michael Muns moved in with the second team. The center position is short-staffed, with two-year starter Jay Finch sitting out as he recovers from shoulder surgery.
Wide receiver Darren Waller sat out with an unspecified injury, leaving Micheal Summers and Corey Dennis as the only scholarship receivers available.
Last day: Acting athletic director Paul Griffin’s final official day as head of the Tech athletic department was Friday. New athletic director Mike Bobinski, who had to delay his start in part because of his role as the chair of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball committee, begins Monday.
“Any time there’s a turnover in that leadership position, you look to somebody that’s steady and has some experience and can make decisions and keep the momentum rolling, and Paul was fabulous,” associate AD Wayne Hogan said. “He did all of those things.”
Griffin, who has served as Tech’s senior associate AD for 11 years and had run the department since Dan Radakovich’s departure for Clemson in October, can turn his attention to the Final Four. With Tech serving as host institution, Griffin is managing the event. He will retire this summer after helping Bobinski in his transition to Tech.
Last day, part II: Sunday is the deadline for renewal for football season tickets. Tickets can be renewed at ramblinwreck.com or by calling 1-888-832-4849.