ATLANTA (August 12) — The start of two-a-day football practices coincided with perhaps the hottest day of the summer, but Georgia Tech head coach George O’Leary had no complaints after watching his Yellow Jackets practice for the first time, 23 days before Tech’s Sept. 4 season opener at Navy.
“It was typical of a first practice,” said O’Leary, whose Yellow Jackets are ranked 11th in the preseason. “There was a lot of enthusiasm, and we tried to get a lot of reps and a lot of installation.
But overall I was very pleased with the conditioning. It was very hot today. We kept two fields working, so we’re getting reps for a lot of people.”
The presence of 105 players in camp helps spread the repetitions.
“This morning was hot and it’s supposed to be hotter this afternoon, but you have to be prepared to play in that,” said O’Leary, entering his fifth full season at the helm of the Rambling Wreck program.
“One thing you can’t control is weather. You take precautions and make sure you have plenty of water out there. But with the number of players getting reps, no one is overdoing it.”
The biggest adjustment for Tech’s freshmen now that the veterans have joined them in camp is the intensity of practice.
“They found out the speed of the game is a little bit different than it was when they were in camp by themselves,” said O’Leary. “But for the first day, most of the freshmen were able to keep the pace. They’ll continue to adjust as they learn more and understand the tempo.”
In these first few days of practice, which are in shorts and shoulder pads, O’Leary is trying to work and evaluate as many players as possible. During team drills, the first and fourth units worked on one field, with seconds and thirds working simultaneously on the other field.
“We were playing with 44 people at a time,” said O’Leary, who has said that a few of the freshmen may be able contribute right away at the skill positions.
“We’re tying to keep a lot of people working and give them a chance to make the two-deep. Once contact begins, I’ll pretty much limit it to one field, but for these first few days I want to work as many people as possible. I’ll watch the film very closely on what’s being installed and see if they can learn it.”