Aug. 5, 2002
As the Georgia Tech freshmen football players continue practicing, Rambling Wreck head coach Chan Gailey looks forward to the arrival of the Tech varsity, who will report Tuesday and begin practicing Thursday.
The freshmen-only practice sessions conclude Monday, and the newcomers will undergo academic orientation all day Tuesday. The first full-squad practices are scheduled for Thursday at 9:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. at Rose Bowl Field. Tech’s first day in pads is next Monday, Aug. 12. The Yellow Jackets open the season Aug. 31, hosting Vanderbilt at 6 p.m. at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field.
“It was a little bit more ragged,” said Gailey after Monday morning’s freshman practice. “We added a little more, so it was little more ragged than Saturday’s practice.”
He has seen promise from his group of freshmen, which includes 15 scholarship athletes, but Gailey knows the rookies will be somewhat overwhelmed when the varsity players join them Thursday.
“The speed will be a shock to them,” said Gailey. “How much the varsity guys already know and the speed that they can do those assignments will be a big shock.”
Gailey, Tech’s first-year head coach, welcomes the return of 16 starters, including nine starters on a defense that is led by senior all-America defensive end Greg Gathers (LaPlace, La.). Other standouts include a group of returning all-Atlantic Coast Conference honorees in senior placekicker Luke Manget (Conyers, Ga.), senior free safety Jeremy Muyres (Stone Mountain, Ga.), senior return specialist Kelley Rhino (Smyrna, Ga.) and sophomore offensive tackle Nat Dorsey (New Orleans, La.).
Even though he has been coaching in the National Football League for the last decade, Gailey said the atmosphere of a collegiate preseason would not require much of an adjustment for him.
“Our preseason practice schedule is very similar to a two-a-day schedule you would keep anywhere, whether it’s NFL or college,” he said.
“The rule is 29 practice opportunities between now and the first game, but we won’t even use all 29. That assumes every day is a two-a-day until you start school, but I don’t believe in going three straight days of two-a-days.”
Gailey announced that offensive tackle John Bennett (Woodstock, Ga.), a former starter at right tackle who has been plagued by an injured knee, will no longer be able to play football. He will remain on scholarship as a medical hardship. However, sophomore offensive tackle Jeremy Phillips (Watkinsville, Ga.) will continue his rehabilitation from a serious knee injured suffered in the spring of 2001 and could return to the field at some point this fall.
“John was not going to be able to make it back,” said Gailey. “We’re still trying to work to get Jeremy back. He’s had his best two weeks the last two weeks, so there is hope, but he won’t practice until we get his leg strength back to where it needs to be.”
Gailey also announced that freshman running back Eddie Ivery (Tampa, Fla.), who injured his knee over the summer, is scheduled for surgery Thursday to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament.