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Jackets Put on Pads

April 1, 2006

ATLANTA–After two days of non-contact drills, the Georgia Tech football team held its first full-pads workout of the spring Saturday at Rose Bowl Field, and head coach Chan Gailey was pleased with the intensity.

“The intensity was good,” said Gailey, entering his fifth season with the Jackets. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, but the intensity was there, and that’s what you’re looking for on the first day (in pads). You’d like perfect execution, but you’ll take intensity on the first day.”

Practice ended with a third-down drill in which sophomore defensive end Michael Johnson made perhaps the most impressive individual effort of the day on the final play, leaping high and using his 6-7 frame to bat down a ball at the line of scrimmage.

Senior Mansfield Wrotto continues to make a smooth adjustment to the offensive line as he works at right tackle after starting at defensive tackle the last three years. Tech’s biggest lineman at 6-3 and 310 pounds, he joins a unit that returns the other four starters in left tackle Andrew Gardner, guards Nate McManus and Matt Rhodes and center Kevin Tuminello. But Wrotto is the only senior in that quintet, and although he is playing a new position, he has more career starts than any Yellow Jacket except quarterback Reggie Ball.

“I think he’s adjusting very well,” said Gailey. “I know he’s had two solid practices, and I think today was the third solid practice. I think that’s been a good move for our football team, and it will be a good move for him. It was probably good that we practiced him there some during the bowl practices. That’s helped him make the adjustment.”

The other significant position change of the spring has junior Pat Clark moving from wide receiver to cornerback. Clark was Tech’s fourth-leading receiver last fall 15 receptions for 95 yards, including six catches in the Jackets’ win at Auburn. Working behind junior Jamal Lewis, he looks to bolster a secondary that returns only one starter in senior cornerback Kenny Scott.

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