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Jackets Practice in Pads

Aug. 8, 2006

ATLANTA–Georgia Tech practiced in pads for the first time Tuesday, giving the Tech coaches a better opportunity to evaluate certain areas, especially the offensive line play.

Tech returns four starters on the front line in center Kevin Tuminello, guards Nate McManus and Matt Rhodes and left tackle Andrew Gardner. The lone newcomer is hardly a rookie as senior Mansfield Wrotto continues his transition from defensive tackle, where he has started the last three years, to right offensive tackle.

At 6-3 and 310 pounds, Wrotto is the Jackets’ biggest lineman. Tech head coach Chan Gailey says that his move has been smooth so far.

“He is getting more and more comfortable each day,” said Gailey. “I think he’s made very good progress, and there’s no question he’ll be ready when the first ballgame gets here.

“He knows what to do, he just hasn’t done it at game speed yet.”

Wrotto’s move from the defensive line creates an opportunity for Tech’s other defensive tackles, including sophomore Vance Walker. The Fort Mill, S.C., native lettered last fall when he saw spot duty as a true freshman, but now he is one of Tech’s top backups.

“He’s had a good fall so far, and he’s going to be a good player,” Gailey said of Walker, who stands 6-2 and 265 pounds. “I would like to have redshirted him last year. But we had to put him into action, and he responded well. He’s come a long way in a short period of time. I think he’s going to be a good player.”

Preseason drills continue Wednesday as the Jackets hold their first “two-a-day” with workouts scheduled for 9 a.m. and 5:15 p.m.

Tech open the season Sept. 2 by hosting third-ranked Notre Dame at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field (8 p.m., ABC).

PRESEASON PRACTICE SCHEDULE

Subject to Change, Open to the public and media for the first two weeks

Wednesday, Aug. 9 9 a.m., 5:15 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10 4:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11 9:30 a.m., 5:15 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12 3:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 14 9:30 a.m., 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17 9:30 a.m., 5:15 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18 4:15 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19 Fan Photo Day, 10 a.m. – 12 noon

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