August 28, 2009

Jackets wrap up week with Jax State preview

The Georgia Tech football team scrimmaged on Friday afternoon in Bobby Dodd Stadium in the Jackets first real preparation for Jacksonville State. Head coach Paul Johnson was pleased with offense, but concerned about the look the scout team gave the Georgia Tech offense.

"Our travel squad looked pretty good, but they may as well have been playing against bags given the effort the other side put up," Johnson said. "I think the guys who have to play came out and great effort and the longest drive on offense might have been four plays for a touchdown no matter where they were. The scout team did not put up a lot of resistance."

Johnson is concerned about getting a better look from his scout team.

"It is a real concern," Johnson said of the quality of the scout team work. "The good thing is that we have played a lot against ourselves, but we are going to have to find a way to get those guys to do a better job.

One of the areas of focus in the early part of the scrimmage was special teams. The Jackets were among the worst in the ACC in many of the special teams categories, but special teams coordinator Jeff Monken thinks they have made tremendous strides in practice in many areas including kicking.

"We don't have Scott Blair punting anymore, so we have made Scott exclusively a kicker, he is kicking field goals, extra points and doing kickoffs. I think that has helped him a lot," Monken said. "I hope that focusing on one thing will help him and I think that it has. Scott is clearly the best kicker, so he is our kicker"

The punter battle is between Chandler Anderson, Sean Poole and Kevin Crosby who joined the team after classes began. Anderson has a leg up on the competition according to Monken.

"Chandler and Scott are the guys who have been punting, Kevin Crosby who was not in camp has come back when school started and he has been punting the ball well," Monken said. "There have been on days and off days, but Chandler has been the best and if we had to play today he would be our punter."

Several walk-ons are battling for the spot behind Blair as the number two kicker including Ty Rawlings a transfer from Georgia Military College and freshman David Scully from Dawson County. Both players joined the program after walk-on tryouts and they are battling with Chris Tanner for the second kicker job.

"We have more depth at kicker than we do punter and we have several guys battling to be the backup kicker behind Scott," Monken said. "We have two new walk-ons and they have been impressive, so hopefully one of them can come along and be a real live backup field goal and kickoff guy for us. Chandler can handle the kickoffs as a back up for us, so we are in good shape."

Jerrard Tarrant will handle the punt return duties with Anthony Allen, Marcus Wright and Orwin Smith handling the kick return duties for Jacksonville State. Coach Johnson said the return game looked better in practice Friday.

"We were offsides about six times on kickoffs, but the return game looked better, but I don't know if anyone on the other side was trying," Johnson said.

Injuries

One of the Jackets returning starters, wide receiver Tyler Melton will miss at least the Jacksonville State game with a sprained MCL. Melton watched the practice from the sideline on crutches.

"Tyler has a MCL injury," Johnson said. "It is just a sprain and he won't be ready to play the first game."


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