Aug. 10, 2013
THE FLATS – The offense jumped out to a quick start, the defense tightened in the second half and a few individual players stood out in Georgia Tech’s first scrimmage of #GTCAMP13, a 90-minute session in front of season-ticket holders Saturday morning in Bobby Dodd Stadium.
The offense scored touchdowns on three of sophomore quarterback Vad Lee’s first four possessions under center, including an impressive 70-yard TD drive that included completions to Darren Waller (15 yards) and Micheal Summers (21 yards). The drive culminated in a five-yard touchdown run by senior B-back David Sims.
“For the first scrimmage there were some positives, and some negatives as well,” said head coach Paul Johnson. “The offense did really well early on, and the defense probably did a little better towards the end. There’s a lot to work to do on both sides of the ball. I saw a few individual guys make some plays – I thought DeAndre Smelter had a good day – make some plays – and that was great to see.”
Smelter, who could be an immediate help to an inexperienced group of Tech receivers, made perhaps the two best catches of the day on Saturday. Smelter reeled in a pair of long passes from Tim Byerly – one for 25 yards and another for 36 yards with a sliding, one-handed grab.
Smelter, a junior who played three years of baseball for Georgia Tech before throwing on the pads for the first time since high school, has impressed Johnson in the preseason.
“Speed of the game is the biggest adjustment for me,” said Smelter on his transition from baseball. “During my training in the summer, I’ve just tried to work on my footwork and get better at making my cuts.”
Sims has also enjoyed a good camp, and his work was on display Saturday as he followed his early score with a pair of long yard runs that set up touchdowns. On Tech’s third drive with Lee under center, Sims’ 32-yard jaunt was followed by a 10-yarder from Zach Laskey to put the ball at the 2. Lee finished it off with a TD plunge.
“He needed to come out and re-establish,” Johnson said of Sims. “He’s in a fight for his job.”
The fourth possession, with Justin Thomas under center, resulted in a 32-yard David Scully field goal. Tech was set-up after an impressive 19-yard pass down the left sideline from Thomas to Jamie Alvarez and a 20-yard run from Austin McClellan.
Sims broke free at the line and bounced off tacklers for a 31-yard run carry on the fifth possession, and Lee hit Synjyn Days for a 16-yard TD on a screen pass.
As the game evolved, the defense began to turn the tide under the hot and humid conditions on Historic Grant Field.
Dominque Noble turned in one of the early defensive highlights for coordinator Ted Roof, as the sophomore defensive back stepped in front of a Thomas pass on the goal line during the second possession for an interception that he returned 25 yards.
The defense held on the sixth possession, which ended in a missed 54-yard field goal attempt from freshman Harrison Butker. Sacks from Nick Menocal and Jimmie Kitchen thwarted Tech drives later in the scrimmage, and linebacker Corey Alford pounced on a loose ball for a fumble recovery on the final play of the afternoon.