ATLANTA (Oct. 5) – Seventh-ranked Georgia Tech faces a North Carolina team that has outstanding athletes, especially sophomore quarterback Ronald Curry, says Tech head coach George O’Leary.
Tech (3-1, 1-1 ACC) hosts the Tar Heels (1-3, 0-3 ACC) for Saturday’s Homecoming contest, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m. at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field and will be regionally televised by ABC-TV.
“Ronald Curry is an outstanding athlete,” said O’Leary at his weekly press conference. “I really think he’s going to be an outstanding quarterback who can do it all. Right now it amazes me, seeing some of the innovative things he does on the field. He’s just a really good athlete that makes a lot of people miss, a lot of good athletes miss. He’s just an outstanding player.”
Though plagued by 10 interceptions, Curry has passed for 689 yards and three touchdowns and is the Tar Heels’ leading rusher with 191 yards (3.4 average) and one touchdown. He averages 215.0 yards of total offense per game.
“I think it’s a typical North Carolina team that has a lot of outstanding athletes on it but has had some poor luck,” continued O’Leary. “It’s a game that I worry about from the standpoint of athletes.
“Offensively they run a lot of different formations. I think they’ve got outstanding backs. They have some big backs that can hit the inside and have some speed outside. Athletically, I think they’re a talented team.
“I think basically what’s happening is they’re young where we’re young on defense. They’re playing catch up a little bit more than they want to do. They’re probably a lot like us. The defense is young, with good athletes who are in a learning situation.”
As far as his own defense, O’Leary saw the unit make some strides in last week’s win over Maryland, particularly in holding the Terrapins to just 89 yards rushing.
“I saw improvement, and I’m as critical as anybody,” he said. “I saw guys getting to the point better and faster and reacting faster. There were some things that were mental mistakes, a lapse or lack of concentration, and that’s what concerned me. I think the defensive staff is doing a good job getting people active and knowing the position to play.
“I left the field Thursday saying, ‘Boy, the big plays,’ but when I looked at the film, the big plays were things that I thought were over-aggressiveness on some people’s part. One case was a lack of responsibility and inexperience, but that’s improved in practice. I think the way to approach it is you’ve got to keep coaching them up and hopefully they see the field and not just certain segments of the field.”
On the offensive side, O’Leary announced the move of third-string quarterback Jermaine Crenshaw (Greenville, Ala.) to wide receiver.
“He’s a very good athlete, but I just thought he had a little tougher time grasping what we were trying to get done at quarterback,” said O’Leary. “I thought that he was too good of an athlete not to utilize him this year. He wants to play. He’s a good athlete who needs to get on the field and help us win this year. At quarterback right now I didn’t see that happening. He accepted it very well. I’m really just trying to get him some playing time and get him on the field.”
O’Leary said that free safety Travares Tillman (Lyons, Ga.), back, and defensive end Felipe Claybrooks (Decatur, Ga.), ankle, are day to day with injuries. Neither will practice today but could be available tomorrow.