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Freshmen Beginning to Separate Themselves

Aug. 9, 2001

ATLANTA– – Georgia Tech head football coach George O’Leary says the true test will come during full contact practices, but through the first seven workouts in shorts, he has been impressed with several members of Tech’s freshman class.

“They’re starting to separate themselves now as far as some of the young players who can possibly help us and others who just need a little bit more maturity,” said O’Leary after Thursday’s morning workout.

Tech, which opens the season Aug. 26 against Syracuse in the Kickoff Classic, will practice in full gear for the first time Thursday evening.

“We’ll start to have some live segments tonight, but we’ll do more Friday than today because I like to scrimmage more on the one-a-days than the two-a-days.”

Beginning Thursday, Tech will be on an alternating two-a-day schedule, practicing twice one day and then once the next, and so on, through Aug. 18.

“I’m trying to give everybody reps, which is difficult,” said O’Leary. “We’ll have to start cutting back soon. They’re all getting a chance to be productive, but we have to start getting ready for the season.”

O’Leary noted that offensive tackle Nat Dorsey (New Orleans, La.) and quarterback Damarius Bilbo (Moss Point, Miss.) have caught his eye, as well as defensive backs Reuben Houston (Peachtree City, Ga.), and Dennis Davis (Atco, N.J.).

“Nat Dorsey has been impressive, and I want to see him with everything flying around. I think Bilbo continues to get better in certain areas, and I’m anxious to see some of these guys in the secondary.”

O’Leary has been particularly high on Dorsey, a 6-6, 320-pounder who has been working on the second team.

“Dorsey has really caught my eye,” he said. “He’s a young freshman, just 17. He has a great natural tuck for pass protection, which a lot of freshmen don’t have. And he has good feet for a young kid, with great quickness and good foot speed.

“I’ve been impressed with him. I think he has everything you’re looking for in a pass protector, he just has to learn who and how.”

Two other freshmen linemen, Andy Tidwell-Neal (Plymouth, Minn.) and Kyle Wallace (Lawrenceville, Ga.), have also seen some work with the second team.

“With those freshmen linemen, the thing that gets them is pass protection,” said O’Leary. “As far as run-blocking, they’ll continue to get better, but coming out of high school, very few of them have thrown the ball enough to have [pass blocking] down.

“You have to be able to pass protect in college, but that’s the thing they struggle with the most. That and all the terminology and the installation that we’re putting in. But there are some good players in the group. Whether they are ready this year or not, we’ll find out.”



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