ATLANTA (August 19) – Georgia Tech head coach George O’Leary is pleased with the competition for starting jobs at placekicker and punter as Yellow Jackets continue preseason drills in preparation for their Sept. 4 season opener at Navy.
Freshman Luke Manget (Conyers, Ga.), a Parade magazine prep all-America, is battling junior Kai Cornwell (Newport News, Va.) for the placekicking job held last season by Brad Chambers, who booted the last-second, game-winning field goal in Tech’s victory over Georgia.
O’Leary ended Thursday’s practice with a friendly competition.
“I gave the freshman, Luke Manget, a 47-yarder, and if he missed, the whole team had to run, and if he makes it, they don’t run,” said O’Leary.
“That wasn’t too smart of the defense to block the first one. But they were competing, so I gave him another opportunity. Then he hit one that would have been good from 55, 60 yards. He hit that one pretty good.
“I’m just trying to keep those kids under a little pressure.”
Manget, from Rockdale County High School, was limited by injury to seven field goals as a senior, but he nailed kicks of 53, 55 and 58 yards as a junior. Cornwell, a former second-team prep all-America by USA Today, was good on his only field goal attempt last fall, a 33-yarder against Duke.
At punter, where Tech must replace all-America Rodney Williams, true freshman Philip Newman (Marietta, Ga.) is competing with sophomore walk-on Dan Dyke (Oviedo, Fla.).
O’Leary indicated that competition for both jobs would continue at least through next Tuesday’s final scrimmage.
“I thought we got a lot of work done this afternoon,” continued O’Leary, whose squad will go through its final day of two-a-day practices on Friday with workouts at 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
“We don’t have too much to install. Now are far as perfecting that, we’re still a good distance from where we need to be, but I do think we’re getting better every day.”
REMINDER: Georgia Tech’s annual Fan Photo Day is Saturday, Aug. 21. Beginning at 3 p.m., fans are invited to Bobby Dodd Stadium to “Pick Your Seat” as all remaining season ticket locations will be marked and available for sale. At 4 p.m., Tech players and coaches will be available for photos and autographs in the Richards Festival concourse area under the West Stands. Admission is free. For more information, contact Georgia Tech Sports Marketing at 404-894-4400.