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Know The Coach

Feb. 19, 2008

The fifth in a series of interviews with the new members of the Georgia Tech football coaching staff. This week’s Q&A is Al “Buzz” Preston, coach of the wide receivers. The questions were asked by the Voice of the Yellow Jackets, Wes Durham:

Click “Video” to watch Wes Durham’s interview with Al “Buzz” Preston.

Q: Al “Buzz” Preston is coming from the University of New Mexico out in Albuquerque, as the wide receivers coach. Now wait a minute, everybody says ‘there’s a wide receivers coach in an option offense?’, but there is, right?
A: That’s right, there is, and I am the guy. I feel very blessed to be here and a part of the program and be back with Paul (Johnson). It has been quite a while, about 13 years or so we have been apart.

Q: It has been unique to look at some of the ties to Coach Johnson and the understanding of where he is as a coach and where you guys have crisscrossed his path in the past. I guess you are from out west?
A: Yes, we were at the University of Hawai’i when he was the offensive coach out there. We had seven years together and had a lot of fun and got things done, and ironically I left Hawai’I, which is my alma mater right before he left there. Then he took the job at Navy. Ironically, I almost end up going out there with him. We had talked briefly about it, but then I decided to stay at Washington State at that time. It has been interesting. Never thought we would be back together but here we are.

Q: Coach Preston, the one thing Paul Johnson is known for is the triple option offense and yet at the same time at the University of Hawai’i you were one of the passing leaders nationally at times.
A: Oh, yes, definitely, because at that time we had the kind of quarterback who can do both jobs. People don’t understand that ironically the last few stops, even at Georgia Southern, he threw it pretty well. But at Navy he never had that guy, that combination or receivers that could exploit all the faucets of the offense, because there is a passing aspect contrary to popular opinion that is there.

Q: You know the interesting part, is that everybody is trying to put guys in positions based on this offense. That is a dangerous thing to do. Fans can do it, but coaches have got to see the personnel.
A: What we are going to do this spring and even during conditioning is go through it, watch guys move athletically, try to get a feel for who can fit into what and then line them up accordingly.

Q: What is one thing about the passing version of the option offense that fans should know about?
A: Well, it gives you a lot of ability to go deep on people because what they have to do is they have to balance their coverage out. They have to use the secondary at times on run support. So what that allows out on the perimeter is for guys to be lined up one-on-one. Chris Roscall was a young man that I coached at Hawai’i. If I can recall right, 22 touchdowns in two years and he had an 18.4 yards per catch average, so it adds a lot of big play ability in it.

Q: Is there a challenge to this offense at this level of play in college?
A: In a way, but in Hawai’i we played the Wreckin’ Crew at A&M and we gave them all they could handle. We played Big Ten teams. I am confident it will work at this level because we have already gone against people and Paul has added a few more wrinkles to it since I have left. I am sure it will be very successful for us.

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