March 10, 2007
ATLANTA–With eight returning starters from last year’s nationally-ranked unit, Georgia Tech’s defense looked strong in the Yellow Jackets’ first spring scrimmage Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field.
The Tech defense collected 10 sacks, led by all-Atlantic Coast Conference linebacker Philip Wheeler with three and defensive tackle Elris Anyaibe with two. The defense also had an interception return for a touchdown by linebacker Shane Bowen and a fumble return for a score by true freshman defensive end Derrick Morgan. Morgan, linebackers Gary Guyton, Matt Braman and Anthony Barnes and defensive tackle Darryl Richard also collected sacks.
“We were ragged offensively with a lot of the new stuff we’re trying to implement, but the first team defense was very strong today,” said Tech head coach Chan Gailey. “We’ve got a lot of returning starters on that side, and they’re certainly ahead at this point.”
Gailey’s squad is installing some new things on offense, particularly in the passing game, under new coordinator John Bond.
“It’s hard, but at the same time, if you can do it against this defense, you can do it against anyone,” said Gailey of his offense working against Tech’s pressure defense. “You won’t see all of this from anybody, ,but you’ll see parts of it from everybody. It’s a good teaching environment for our young players on offense.”
Starting quarterback Taylor Bennett completed 11 of 23 passes for 96 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. The highlight was a perfectly thrown fade pass to redshirt freshman Demaryius Thomas in the corner of the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown. Bennett also tossed a 10-yard scoring pass to fullback Matt Kamp.
Freshman quarterback Steven Threet, working with the second unit, struggled at times against Tech’s first defense but threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to redshirt freshman Correy Earls, who took the short pass in the flat, eluded a defender and raced for the end zone.
Starting tailback Tashard Choice carried the ball just four times but gained 53 yards.