March 31, 2007
ATLANTA–Quarterback Taylor Bennett continued to assert himself as Georgia Tech’s starting quarterback with a strong performance in the Yellow Jackets’ second spring scrimmage Saturday morning at Bobby Dodd Stadium, and a pair of young receivers also performed well for the Jackets.
Working with the first team offense, primarily against the second defense, Bennett completed 14 of 27 passes for 260 yards and four touchdowns.
“To me there is no question that he has built on what he had already done in the years that he’s been here,” Tech head coach Chan Gailey said of Bennett following the scrimmage.
“He has really solidified himself as the number one guy, and I think he has a chance to be very good quarterback before it’s overwith. There’s no substitute for experience, so he’s got to go play, but I see the makings of a very good quarterback.
“I’ve seen better vision that I knew was there, and he’s got a great understanding of what we’re trying to get done. There are a lot of decisions to be made at quarterback. He has shown that he can handle that with the speed of thought that is necessary to play that position.
With Bennett firmly entrenched, junior transfer Calvin Booker and true freshman Steven Threet, a 2007 signee, are sharing time with the second team. Booker hit three of six passes for 61 yards, and Threet was 6-for-9 for 40 yards with one touchdown. Redshirt freshman Byron Ingram was 3-for-6 for 21 yards and a touchdown.
On Booker’s play this spring, Gailey said, “He’s done a good job thus far. That’s a very fluid situation right now. Today here was there [number two behind Bennett], and we’ll see how it goes and who will be there next week.
“I think he understands what we’re trying to do, but he hadn’t played in so long that I think he’s very rusty in how fast the mechanics have to take place.”
Gailey also had good things to say about Threet.
“He did a better job today. I was impressed with some of things Steven did today. He made two or three really nice throws. I think he’s made a big jump in the last few practices.”
Redshirt freshmen Demaryius Thomas and Correy Earls led the Tech receiving corps, which must replace superstar Calvin Johnson. With top returnee James Johnson sidelined by a minor injury, Thomas, Earls and sophomore Greg Smith got the bulk of the work. Thomas caught five passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns, Earls had six catches for 100 yards and a touchdown, and Smith added two catches for 41 yards.
“It was great to see Bay-Bay Thomas and Correy Earls have big days catching the football,” said Gailey.
Tech’s defense collected nine sacks, many of which came against the second-team offensive line. Cornerback Jahi Word-Daniels had the only interception.
“There were some good things on both sides,” said Gailey. “I thought our [first-team] defense was dominant until the end. The offense started a little slow and then picked it up as the day went on. There were some good individual things.
“I think we’ve got some work to do with some backup players. We’re really struggling right now with some depth. We’ve got a chance to build with some younger guys, but we’ve only got four more practices to get that done this spring.”
The Jackets didn’t do a lot of work on the running game today, but sophomore Jamal Evans scored three touchdowns on just seven carries, including the goal-line segment.
Tech continues spring practice with a workout scheduled for Sunday at 5:30 p.m. at Bobby Dodd Stadium.