Aug. 11, 2004
ATLANTA– – Junior wide receiver Damarius Bilbo caught two touchdown passes to highlight Georgia Tech’s first preseason scrimmage Wednesday at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field.
Bilbo, the former quarterback from Moss Point, Miss., caught five passes on the afternoon, including the two circus-like touchdown catches, both on balls that were tipped.
“I’m just trying to learn my role with each practice, and show the coaches I can catch the ball, run nice routes and get open and make plays in the red zone,” said Bilbo. “You’ve only four or five years in college. You either make it a sob story or you turn it around for the better. I didn’t want to be one of those coulda been-shoulda beens.
“I feel a lot more comfortable,” continued Bilbo on his adjustment to wide receiver. “I’ve embraced the position. Looking at guys like Nate Curry, Calvin Johnson, Levon Thomas . . . it’s exciting playing beside those guys because they open up a lot of things for you.”
Johnson, the freshman from Tyrone, Ga., had three catches for 44 yards with one touchdown, while Thomas added two receptions for 22 yards and one touchdown. Freshman Pat Clark also had a touchdown catch.
“We can make it pretty tough on people in the red zone with a couple of our receivers,” said Tech head coach Chan Gailey.
“Overall the effort was good,” continued Gailey. “Offensively, we came out to work more on the passing game than the running game. I thought we ran the ball decent, and we could have run it more, but we came out to work more on some passing areas.
“The offensive line, overall, played better than they had been practicing, which is a positive. But we really missed some of the injured players on defense today, Joe Anoai inside in particular. That’s what allowed some of the runs to get through there.”
Starting quarterback Reggie Ball completed 11 of 20 passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns. Backups Patrick Carter and Taylor Bennett both saw extensive action, with Carter hitting six of 12 passes for 40 yards and one touchdown and Bennett going 9-for-20 for 68 yards and two scores.
“We planned to Taylor and Patrick a lot of plays today,” said Gailey. “We’re just trying to see where those guys are. And that’s a tough situation. We’re trying to get Reggie ready, and yet we want to give those other guys as many reps as possible because if something happens, one of them is going to have to go in.”
All-ACC tailback P.J. Daniels carried the ball just 12 times but gained 82 yards and scored twice. Backup Chris Woods had 83 yards on 21 carries with one touchdown. A pair of true freshman also got a look as Drew Gause rushed for 101 yards on 19 carries, and fullback Michael Cox scored three touchdowns in short-yardage situations.
“We know what P.J. can do, so everybody else is going to get some looks to see what they can do,” said Gailey.
“One of the more impressive things of the day was Travis Bell kicking the ball,” Gailey said of the redshirt freshman from Roswell, Ga., who hit field goals of 49, 36 and 37 yards.