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Jackets Stress Special Teams in Spring Drills

March 31, 2006

ATLANTA–With the Georgia Tech football team completing day two of spring practice, one of the points of emphasis for Yellow Jackets this spring is special teams.

Tech has a new special teams coordinator in Charles Kelly, who joined head coach Chan Gailey’s staff from Nicholls State, where he served as defensive coordinator.

“We’re working more this spring on special teams, with a new special teams coach implementing some new schemes and concepts,” said Gailey.

Two-year starting punter Ben Arndt has graduated, and taking over the reins in junior Durant Brooks, who transferred to Tech from Georgia Military Academy and sat out last fall. The Macon, Ga., native has displayed a very strong leg in practice.

Durant Brooks could be a tremendous weapon. I’m anxious to see how he responds with the pressure on,” said Gailey.

Placekicker Travis Bell returns but the two-year starter must rebound from a disappointing sophomore season in which he made just 11 of 21 field goals. The Roswell, Ga., native looks to return to the form of his freshman year, when he hit 15 of 17 three-pointers and earned second-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference honors.

Bell will be working with his third long-snapper and third holder in three years, one reason to spend extra time on that operation this spring.

Backup quarterback Kyle Manley was the holder last fall and returns but is likely to give way to Brooks in that role. Sophomore Bret White takes over for Gavin Tarquinio as the long-snapper.

“With a new snapper, a new punter and a new holder this year, we’re going to spend a lot of time on special teams this spring,” said Gailey. “And we need to get Travis Bell back on track.”

In addition to Bell and Brooks, Tech has a versatile performer in Mohamed Yahiaoui, who can punt, kick off or handle placements. The sophomore is up to 215 pounds after playing at 200 last fall.

Spring practice contines with Tech’s third workout scheduled for Saturday morning at 11 a.m.

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