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Gailey Pleased with Tech Defense

Aug. 11, 2002

Georgia Tech head coach Chan Gailey says he is pleased with the progress of the Rambling Wreck defense as his Yellow Jackets continue preseason drills.

“I think the defense is very sound and playing hard right now,” said Tech’s first-year head coach following Sunday’s workout, Tech’s final session in shorts before beginning full contact work.

“I feel solid about where we are defensively, and our execution has to improve offensively.”

With nine returning starters, the Tech defense was expected to be ahead of the offense, which is breaking in new starters at quarterback in A.J. Suggs (Powder Springs, Ga.) and tailback in Tony Hollings (Jeffersonville, Ga.).

The defense is led by all-America defensive end Greg Gathers (LaPlace, La.) and all-Atlantic Coast Conference free safety Jeremy Muyres (Stone Mountain, Ga.), a pair of four-year starters.

The Yellow Jackets will practice in pads for the first time Monday with workouts at 9:15 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. at Rose Bowl Field. Both sessions will be in full gear, although Gailey said that is primarily a precaution.

“We’re practicing early enough and late enough that the heat shouldn’t be a factor,” he said. “It’s more preventative. We’ll have live drills and then we’ll have drills that are very similar to what we had in shorts, but when they allow you to put on pads, it prevents some of those knee shots and thigh shots that you might get when you don’t have pads on.”

The Yellow Jackets, who open the season by hosting Vanderbilt on Aug. 31, have completed five practices in shorts, using those sessions primarily for installation, including work Sunday on red-zone and the two-minute drill.

“Obviously when you go into the pads, the tempo goes up another notch because you have real live tackling and real live running,” said Gailey. “Right now, every time somebody happens to be there, that doesn’t mean they’ve got him on the ground, or you think you may have somebody blocked but you don’t.

“I think we have a good feel for where everyone is right now, and I feel good about where we are now. Tomorrow we’ll found out about guys that we had question marks about coming out of spring and how much they’ve improved in the offseason and how much will they be able to help our team.”

Gailey said that, unlike spring practice, Tech’s quarterbacks will not be hit.

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