Here are several observations from Tech’s practice on Monday:
• Watched a lot of the defense on Monday in the aftermath of Saturday’s scrimmage performance and thought the day was a good one for those guys. But the thing that stood out was that, for the first time since practice started, the Hokies’ defense started preparing for Georgia Tech’s offense, and the challenge for the Hokies’ staff going forward is to get the scout team to play with the same pace that the Yellow Jackets play. Tech’s staff kept constantly getting on the scout team to pick up the pace.
T.J. Shaw, a walk-on from Rocky Mount, Va., has been moved to free safety, but served as the scout team’s quarterback Monday and is being tasked with imitating GT quarterback Tevin Washington’s moves. Shaw did a great job of doing this last year because of his high school experiences in a similar offense.
• Defensive line coach Charley Wiles said that he wasn’t going to move J.R. Collins to tackle for the Georgia Tech game, as he did last year. Wiles felt confident with his tackles and for good reason. He returns the Hopkins brothers and Luther Maddy, and Zack McCray continues to have a great camp, thus giving Wiles four capable guys inside to bottle things up.
• Collins was in a blue jersey on Monday, and to be honest, we didn’t get the reason why. But his absence allowed Matt Roth, a redshirt freshman, to get some reps with the second-string unit, and Wiles spoke highly of Roth, saying he had gotten better. Roth may make the dress squad.
Wiles also like freshman Dewayne Alford, who made a nice play in the middle drill, coming off a block and bringing down the ball carrier. Alford is going to redshirt, but could help the Hokies down the road.
• Tech’s offense and defense worked on red-zone situations, and you’ll probably see more of that in Wednesday’s scrimmage. In the pass skeleton drill – the red-zone version – Willie Byrn made a nice catch for a touchdown over Kyshoen Jarrett. Byrn has been quiet so far this August, but made the nice play Monday. Jarrett almost knocked the ball away on the play, but took a poor angle, allowing Byrn to make the catch.
Also, Marcus Davis made an incredible one-handed snag over Kyle Fuller in the same drill. Not sure he was in bounds, but the catch itself was incredible, especially considering Fuller’s coverage was excellent.
• Speaking of Fuller, you rarely hear the coaches yell at him or Jack Tyler or Jeron Gouveia-Winslow. These three guys are just so instinctive. They know where to be, how to get lined up and how to position themselves to make plays. They may get beat on occasion, but it’s not because they’re not in the right position.
• It looks like the punting battle is coming down to a couple of freshmen in A.J. Hughes and Hunter Windmuller. Hughes stood alone on the top spot on the depth chart, but that changes quite frequently.
It appears that Michael Branthover is not in the mix, though he remains the top option as the kickoff guy. Branthover, who punted for a spell last year, did not punt in the scrimmage and did not punt during Monday’s special teams period.
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