ATLANTA – Georgia Tech concludes preseason camp and begins preparations for its Aug. 27 opener at 10th-ranked Virginia Tech, head coach George OLeary announced two position changes. Ross Mitchell moves from linebacker to fullback to add depth behind starter Ed Wilder (Washington, Ga.), while former fullback Gary Johnson (LaGrange, Ga.) switches to defensive tackle.
Mitchell, a junior from Grayson, Ga., started the final six games of the 1999 season at middle linebacker, collecting 53 tackles with four tackles for loss and one interception on the season. He had been slotted second at middle linebacker, behind starter Matt Miller (Alpharetta, Ga.), who was injured in 1999. Mitchells move opens up the backup position for highly-touted freshman Hobie Holiday (Warner Robins, Ga.).
“I wasnt happy with our push on offense as far as short-yardage and goal line,” said OLeary. “We have some linebackers who can help us over there, and Ross had played fullback in high school. Hes been a good player and I want to make sure he has an opportunity to get on the field.” Johnson, who has good size at 6-1 and 265 pounds, came to Tech as a linebacker but moved to fullback midway through last season and was used as a blocker.
“Both were really happy to make the change to help the football team, and thats what I mean by good chemistry on this team,” said OLeary. “The players are going to do what they have to do to be better. Thats something the kids should be proud of.”
OLeary also announced that defensive tackle Guenter Kryszon (Clark, N.J.), who suffered a neck injury last week, will miss the Virginia Tech game and then be re-evaluated.
George Godsey (Tampa, Fla.) has strengthened his grip on the starting quarterback job, but OLeary said backup Andy Hall (Cheraw, S.C) has progressed well, as have sophomore Jermaine Crenshaw (Greenville, Ala.) and redshirt Brian Camp (Dublin, Ohio).
“Its Georges job, and hes done a good job this preseason, but I think Andy Hall is maturing as we get him more snaps,” said OLeary. “Brian Camp played well in the scrimmage.
“You want competition at that position, just like any other position. But George is the quarterback, and hes done nothing to not be the quarterback. He controls the offense, hes a great leader in the huddle and he knows what to do with the ball when he has it in his hand.”
REMINDER: Georgia Tech will hold its annual Fan Photo Day on Saturday, Aug. 19, beginning at 4 p.m. in the Richards Festival West Concourse of Bobby Dodd Stadium. All of Techs players and coaches will be available for photos and autographs. Admission is free.