Aug. 5, 2006
ATLANTA–As Georgia Tech continues preseason drills and much attention is focused on a secondary that graduated three starters, Pat Clark continues his transition from wide receiver to cornerback.
Clark, a junior from Jacksonville, Fla., lettered the last two years as a backup at wide receiver before moving to defense in the spring. He was Tech’s fourth-leading pass catcher last fall with 15 receptions for 95 yards, including key catches in wins over Auburn and Miami.
Now, Clark is trying to use his knowledge of offense as he now learns how to defend receivers.
`It helps tremendously,” said Clark. “After playing wide receiver, you know what they’re going to do before they do it. It helps me read the wide receiver as a defensive player and anticipate what he’s going to do.”
Clark is learning from Tech’s highly regarded defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta, who also works directly with the secondary.
“He’ll let you know when you do something bad, but he’ll also let you know when you do something good,” said Clark. “He’s a really good coach. I just try to make my mistakes, learn from them and just move on and go on to the next play.”
Head coach Chan Gailey agrees that Clark’s transition has been aided by the fact that he has played wide receiver.
“He has a much better understanding of what is going on the secondary because he has played receiver,” said Gailey. “He is a much better defensive player for having been an offensive player.”
Clark is also among the candidates to return punts. He handled that duty last season, returning 30 punts for a 6.4-yard average.
Saturday was Tech’s first workout in shoulder pads after two days in shorts and helmets.
“On the first day [in shoulder pads], nobody is using the technique that you hope they will be using by the time we get to the first game,” said Gailey. “You hope they can learn to move their feet and use their hands these first few practices.”
After taking Sunday off, Tech is scheduled to practice Monday afternoon, again in shoulder pads. The first session in full gear is scheduled for Tuesday.
The Yellow Jackets open the season four weeks from today when they host third-ranked Notre Dame at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field (8 p.m., ABC).