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Ford Drives Competition in Backfield

Aug. 15, 2002

Sidney Ford is Georgia Tech’s most experienced running back, and the senior has created a good competition in the Tech backfield as the Yellow Jackets enter their second week of preseason practice.

Ford, from Lindale, Ga., was Tech’s second-leading rusher last season with 290 yards on 69 carries. But while he missed much of spring practice with a rib injury, converted safety Tony Hollings (Jeffersonville, Ga.) emerged as the frontrunner for the starting berth.

“We ended with a goal-line period, and I thought we ran hard,” said Tech head coach Chan Gailey after Thursday’s morning practice. “I thought Sidney Ford especially ran hard. He’s making a lot of progress. He’s had a great fall, so far.

“Tony has been good, but he has not exactly picked up where he left off in the spring, so it’s made that position a real battle to this point. He’s still making some mistakes that we can’t have.”

Junior Jermaine Hatch (Baton Rouge, La.) is also in the mix as he returns from a 2001 knee injury that sidelined him for the entire season.

“Jermaine Hatch has done okay, but he’s been inconsistent,” said Gailey.

Senior Gordon Clinkscale (Doraville, Ga.), a backup throughout his career, and sophomore Jimmy Dixon (Arlington, Texas), who can also play fullback, are competing for playing time as well.

The Yellow Jackets, whose final day of two-a-day practices is Friday, open the season Aug. 31 by hosting Vanderbilt at 6 p.m. at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field. With the season opener just two weeks away, Gailey joked that he is ready for an exhibition game, just like in his long career in the National Football League.

“You work out a lot of those kinks in an exhibition, but we don’t have any of those on the horizon,” he said.

The team will host its annual Fan Photo Day Saturday from 4-6 p.m. at the Griffin Track. Admission is free and Tech’s players and coaches will be available for photos and autographs.

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