March 26, 2013
By Jon Cooper
When Georgia Tech finished off Southern California in last year’s Hyundai Sun Bowl, thoughts immediately turned to spring, 2013. Hope was that the team could recapture the same atmosphere in late March in Atlanta that they had that day in late December in El Paso, Texas.
On Monday afternoon, their first day of spring practice, the Yellow Jackets came a lot closer to doing so than even they could have imagined.
Temperatures on Alexander-Rose Bowl Field sat in the low 40s with a stiff breeze, same as at Sun Bowl Stadium.
As important, at the end of the day, spirits were sky high and head coach Paul Johnson had a smile on his face.
“It was good. I thought the energy level was good. It was a nice spring day,” he said, with a laugh. “We bounced around. It was good to get back out there.”
No one was happier to get back out on the field than A-Back Robert Godhigh.
“It was good getting back out here and practicing,” said the redshirt senior. “We were all flying around trying to get everything down the first day…and to keep warm. It was freezing.”
Cooling off Godhigh was something few teams were able to do last season.
His 7.9 yards per rush last season (429 yards on 54 carries) was second only to Orwin Smith’s 8.6 yards per rush and is the highest among returning players. His eight touchdowns and 50 points were the most of any non-quarterback, and his four receiving touchdowns were the most of anyone on the team. Godhigh is the leading returning receiver (227 yards on 15 catches (15.1 yards per catch), and his 429 rushing yards are third to B-Back Zach Laskey (697), and quarterback Vad Lee (544).
Though his being listed at 5-7, 188, makes him the smallest back on the roster, he has shown a knack for making big plays.
“I try to look past their stature. Robbie has a big heart and he plays the game with passion and he wants to be great at the details,” said A-Backs Coach Lamar Owens. “All those things combined help him to be a consistent player for us, with the ball in his hand and without the ball in his hand. He did a very good job of being that lead blocker for us and being the key blocker to set the edge and help us make plays on the perimeter. That’s a very valuable asset. What I’m looking for Robbie to bring to the table this year would be consistency again and also to be a leader.”
Godhigh is on the same page as Owens when it comes to goals.
“If I had to pick one thing I would say consistency,” he said. “At the A-Back position we have a lot of responsibility so just being consistent with all the various tasks that we have to do would be probably my biggest thing.”
Godhigh also is aware he’ll be looked upon as the leader, being the only senior of the pool of talented A-Backs that includes juniors Synjyn Days, Tony Zenon, B.J. Bostic and Deon Hill, redshirt freshman Dennis Andrews and true freshman Donovan Wilson.
“It’s a big responsibility because I’m the senior,” he said. “Just trying to make sure everybody knows what to do, stuff like that. But I accept that and I”m looking forward to helping everybody get better.”
Owens is counting on Godhigh’s example being contagious to the youngsters.
“He’s a young man that loves to win and likes to see his teammates succeed and he doesn’t mind working hard to achieve those goals,” he said. “So hopefully for Robbie and for all the A-Backs, they’ll have a chip on their shoulder to prove that we can make plays on the perimeter and do more than what we did last year. That’s our goal.
“We all have things that we can improve on, the guy that started 14 games and the guy that didn’t start at all,” he added. “Our goal for this spring is to find out what are those elements of our game that we can improve and to start improving on those before we get to the fall.”
Complacency isn’t an issue with Godhigh, be it in the classroom, where he earned a place on the Dean’s List, or on the field, where he earned a place as the starting A-Back.
“I’m always looking to get better,” he said. “My work ethic is always to keep that chip on my shoulder and work as hard as I can. I think I can catch and run pretty well but I’m never satisfied. The off-season we would go and work with the quarterbacks, doing routs, just to keep our timing down and to work on catching and stuff like that. So I’m always working to get better on everything.”