Sept. 6, 2006
ATLANTA–After making a successful debut in his first game on defense, Georgia Tech cornerback Pat Clark hopes to build on that experience as the Yellow Jackets host Samford Saturday.
Tech and the Bulldogs kick off at 3:30 p.m. in the non-televised game at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field. Radio coverage is available on Georgia Tech flagship WQXI-Am 790 the Zone.
Clark, the junior from Jacksonville, Fla., moved to cornerback last spring after two seasons at wide receiver. The move went so well that he earned a starting berth in the secondary, meaning that he faced the No. 2 team in the nation and its high-powered offense in his very first game, Tech’s 14-10 loss to Notre Dame.
And how did Clark fare? “Not bad,” said Tech head coach Chan Gailey.
“He missed a couple of tackles and he’s got to work on that. But he has quick feet and he has very good instincts. He’s got some toughness to him. That was his first game that he has ever played at defensive back, and he went out there against a very good football team with two great receivers. It was a big challenge for him, and I thought that he withstood the challenge very well. But he can get better.”
Clark made eight tackles in the game, including one for a two-yard loss. He said the biggest challenge was “the physical attributes of the game as far as tackling, taking on blocks and doing things defensively that are required of a defensive back. That was definitely the most challenging part. I expected it, but once it hits you right in the face you are surprised but you just have to take it and move on with it.”
But he certainly enjoyed the experience.
“Sometimes I miss playing offense, but playing for Coach [Jon] Tenuta is always fun. We’re aggressive on that side of the ball and anytime you get a chance to stop what many people call the best offense in the nation, it’s always fun.”
Clark played defense in high school, so he’s not entirely new to the position, but Tech’s more experienced defenders have helped him learn the ropes.
“They help me tremendously,” says Clark. “We had two other new starters playing at the safety positions [Djay Jones, Jamal Lewis], but they have been in the system as defensive players the last two years so they knew the system. They try and help me as far as knowledge of the defense, and that’s been tremendous. I thank them everyday. They help me when I am out on the field and when I am not on the field on learning the system and being where I am supposed to be.”
Clark says that this week’s game against Samford will present a good test for the Tech secondary.
“They like to run three or four multiple wide receiver sets and they will come out and try and attack us. We are expecting that from every team we play, considering everyone thinks we have an inexperienced secondary, so that’s not going to do anything but get us better and prepare us for the teams down the road in the ACC.”