ATLANTA (August 24) — Perhaps showing some rust from two days off, Georgia Tech’s execution was sloppy in the Yellow Jackets’ final preseason scrimmage Tuesday afternoon, according to head coach George O’Leary.
The 11th-ranked Yellow Jackets open the 1999 season with a Sept. 4 contest at Navy (12 noon, Fox Sports Net).
“I told them to strap it on tight and be ready to practice tomorrow,” said the fifth-year head coach after the 90-minute scrimmage at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field. “We’re getting ready for Navy.”
“The coaches were off the field for the first time, but we still had too many mistakes–penalties, dropped balls, missed tackles,” continued O’Leary. “You can’t win that way, and that’s what I told them. There were too many guys not getting things done the way we want them done.
“There was some decent contact, but just way too many mistakes. That’s going to occur the first time the coaches aren’t on the field and you’ve got a lot of young kids playing.
“Now we’ve got things to work on. We’ve got a lot of work to do before that Navy game. We’ve just got to continue to work and make sure that we get the best kids on the field and keep the competition alive.”
Starting quarterback Joe Hamilton (Alvin, S.C.) saw limited action, completing three of six passes for 49 yards.
Backup signal caller George Godsey, a sophomore from Tampa, Fla., quarterbacked both the first and second offensive units. He hit 11 of 21 passes for 115 yards, but had several passes dropped. His final completion was a 20-yard touchdown pass to junior split end Dez White (Orange Park, Fla.).
“We only went with Joe the first couple of series,” said O’Leary. “I wanted to see how George Godsey would perform. He made some plays, but he made some mistakes, too. Too many dropped balls from our receiver corps.”
Tailback Phillip Rogers (East Point, Ga.) gained some tough yards in the red zone with touchdown runs of three and 10 yards as well as a three-yard dive on a fourth-down play.
On defense, defensive end Felipe Claybrooks (Decatur, Ga.) had a sack and batted down two passes, and cornerback Jamara Clark (Bradenton, Fla.) made an interception.
The battle for the placekicking job continues between junior Kai Cornwell (Newport News, Va.) and freshman Luke Manget (Conyers, Ga.). Cornwell was good on three extra points and made field goals of 37 and 47 yards, while Manget hit field goals of 37, 44 and 47 yards.
“We have live legs on both kickers, but the consistency has to improve,” said O’Leary.