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Defense Looks Strong in Tech Scrimmage

Aug. 12, 2006

ATLANTA–As expected just a week into preseason drills, Georgia Tech’s defense is ahead of the offense as evidenced in the Yellow Jackets first preseason scrimmage, held Saturday in a slight drizzle at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field.

Still, head coach Chan Gailey said that while he was pleased with the defense, he expected better from the offense.

“Our defense was way ahead today, moreso than I had anticipated,” said Gailey. “They played well. They got after it and dominated in every phase. Obviously we had some guys out on offense, but I was disappointed in the how the offense performed. We’ve got to better our execution to get where we need to be.

“We got some things on film in the kicking game that we hadn’t had an opportunity to do live yet, so that was good. I thought Durant Brooks punted the ball well, and Travis Bell kicked well.”

Defensive ends Darrell Robertson and Adamm Oliver made big plays, and Tech’s rebuilt secondary performed well. Freshman Laurence Marius had an interception.

“I was impressed with the way they played,” Gailey said of the secondary. “I think our tackling was okay, but that first group defended the pass really well. If Pat [Clark] catches the ball instead of tipping it up, he makes another big play, and he’s made quite a few.

“If [Kenny Scott] keeps working and doing things right, he can be a very good corner.”

Sacks were contributed by Oliver, Robertson, Vance Walker, Taalib Tucker, Sam Williams. Robertson and Oliver also knocked down passes at the line of scrimmage.

Gailey would not attribute the inconsistency on offense entirely to injuries.

“It’s probably a combination of things,” he said. “Obviously there are some guys banged up, but that could happen in games. You’ve got to be ready to execute no matter who’s in the game.

“We limited what they could do, somewhat, on offense today. By controlling the quarterbacks, you limit our offense. It all goes into it, but that still doesn’t negate the fact that we’ve got to get better than that.”

With Calvin Johnson held out as he recovers from a minor injury, Chris Dunlap and Greg Smith, among others, stepped up at wide receiver. Dunlap had four receptions, including a 13-yard touchdown from Reggie Ball, while Smith caught a 40-yard touchdown from Taylor Bennett. Tight end Colin Peek took a short pass from Bennett and eluded tacklers down the sideline for a 40-yard scoring play. Walk-on Tyler Davis also had a touchdown catch.

“Sometimes when you have more confidence and you know what you’re doing, you just play faster,” Gailey said of Smith, a redshirt freshman from Atlanta. “I think he’s playing faster. He is stronger and quicker.”

Johnson, the junior all-America, participated in individual drills before the scrimmage and is expected to practice Monday. Also missing the scrimmage were starting fullback Mike Cox and starting right guard Nathan McManus.

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