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Bilbo Makes Transition

Aug. 18, 2004

One of the key components of Georgia Tech’s receiving corps this fall is expected to be Damarius Bilbo, the one-time quarterback who moved to wideout last season.

After struggling at times last fall, the junior from Moss Point, Miss., began to embrace the receiver position in spring practice, and that process has continued with a strong preseason.

“Before spring practice, D-Bo visited with Coach [Buddy] Geis, and Coach Geis came to me and said, I think he’s turned the corner,” Tech head coach Chan Gailey recalled. “And then we came on the field, and it was obvious he had.”

Bilbo, who brings speed, athletic ability and a big body at 6-3 and 225 pounds, caught two touchdown passes in both of the Jackets’ preseason scrimmages. Last fall, he caught just two passes, but one of them was a 49-yard completion against Vanderbilt.

Gailey talked about the timing of last summer’s announcement that Bilbo would move from quarterback.

“I did it before school started because I wanted to give him the opportunity to make a decision [to stay or transfer],” Gailey said. “I wanted to do it before classes started to give him whatever options he wanted. I was never more pleased to see a guy decide to stay, because it’s going to work out great for him.

“He just went through withdrawal, which is understandable. But he handled it like a man. He handled it with class and dignity, and it’s paying wonderful dividends for him and for us.”

Georgia Tech, which opens the season Sept. 4 against Samford at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field, continues preseason drills with workouts Thursday and Friday at 4:15 p.m., followed by a scrimmage Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

Freshman defensive tackle Darryl Richard has begun practicing this week after missing the start of preseason drills rehabilitating an old injury.

“He shows that he has some fairly special physical tools,” said Gailey of the 6-4, 300-pounder from Destrehan, La. “I think he understands the game from the little I’ve seen so far. He’s got a little power to him.

“He shows flashes of being able to play quite a bit, but there’s a lot of work to be done before we get to that point. He has to learn to play to the speed of the game.”

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