1. Georgia Tech defensive tackle Jabari Hunt-Days’ efforts to regain his academic eligibility were given an encouraging report by coach Paul Johnson. Hunt-Days lost his eligibility last May after falling behind the NCAA’s standard for progress towards degree completion.
“I think he’ll be O.K.,” Johnson said following Wednesday’s spring-practice session, the 14th of 15. “We’ll see. We’ll know at the end of the semester.”
NCAA rules mandate that an athlete must complete 60 percent of the course requirements in his or her degree program going into the fourth year of enrollment (where Hunt-Days was a year ago) and then 80 percent going into the fifth year.
Hunt-Days has been the subject of glowing reports throughout the spring for his play at defensive tackle. Johnson said Wednesday that offensive linemen have struggled to block him and that “he gets off the ball better than our offensive linemen do.”
He is a significant reason for hopes that the defense should show improvement from last season, when it tied for 17th in takeaways (29) but was 111th in yards per play (6.32).
2. Johnson’s assessment of the team’s work in the spring was something less than glowing.
“I think certain guys got better. I’m not sure overall,” he said. “A lot of young guys. We’ve got a lot of work to do offseason and fall camp.”
The team's considerable inexperience at A-back, B-back and wide receiver, as well as the absence of the top two centers, likely factored into the overall development of the offense. If you’re into reading tea leaves, this was Johnson’s pronouncement after spring practice last year:
“I thought we had a good, productive spring. We didn't have any major injuries that will keep anyone out this season, so that's a positive. We got a lot accomplished.”
After the 2013 spring game: “There’s always things that you’d like to do better, but I think we had a good spring.”
3. Johnson didn’t hide his frustration with guard Shamire Devine, who has had challenges keeping off weight throughout his Tech career. Last week, Devine said that he weighed 369 and wanted to get down to 335 by the start of preseason camp.
He returned last week to practice after sustaining a concussion early in the spring.
“Hurt and didn’t play much and he hasn’t really done anything to help himself weight-wise,” Johnson said of Devine’s spring. “He talks about it a lot, but I don’t see it coming off.”
4. The team will hold its third clinic for international students Thursday afternoon. The roughly 100 spots for the two-hour clinic filled up in less than two weeks. Students will hear a presentation from Johnson, tour the equipment and locker rooms and then go on the field (led by the Ramblin' Wreck) for drills led by Tech coaches and players. A barbecue and social will follow. More than 4,800 students out of Tech’s enrollment of about 21,500 are international.
5. Chance of precipitation for Friday night has dropped to 10 percent, according to the Weather Channel website forecast.
“They haven’t gotten the weather right all week,” Johnson said. “It was supposed to rain on Monday night and it didn’t. It was supposed to rain (Wednesday) and didn’t. Last I looked, it was 10 percent chance on Friday night, so it’ll probably rain like hell.”