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Rain Chases Jackets Inside as FSU Preparations Continue

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech continued its preparations for Saturdays showdown with second-ranked Florida State, the Yellow Jackets moved Wednesdays workout indoors to the Georgia Dome due to the rainy weather.

Tech and the Seminoles, both sporting 1-0 records, kick off at 8 p.m. Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field in a split national telecast on ABC-TV (WSB in Atlanta).

“The forecast was for heavy rain, so we decided to move indoors,” said Tech head coach George OLeary. “I think we got the most we could get done under the situation. Its a great facility to be able to practice in. We were able to get a lot of work done. We spent some time working on short-yardage, goal line and third down. Tomorrow is pretty much a polish day.

“Were where we need to be as far as assignments. Now its execution that you look for.”

The Yellow Jackets enter the Florida State contest with an eight-game winning streak at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field. The Jackets were a perfect 6-0 at home in 1999 after defeating Wake Forest in the final home game of 1998. In fact, Tech has not lost at home since the last time FSU came to town, Oct. 24, 1998, when the Seminoles won, 34-7.

“We have to have some consistency on offense as far as moving the ball for first downs,” said OLeary. “Defensively, we cant give up a lot of sustained drives, and we have to be better on third down. Last year we got them into some third-and-long situations, but they were able to complete passes. Thats something we really have to improve on to have a chance to be successful this week.”

Seven true freshmen saw action in the season opener against UCF. Techs trio of linebackers Daryl Smith (Albany, Ga.), Hobie Holiday (Warner Robins, Ga.), and Keyaron Fox (Atlanta, Ga.) played against the Knights, along with cornerback Jonathan Cox (Chicago, Ill.) and strong safety Sterling Green (Hyattsville, Md.). On offense, wide receiver Nate Curry (Miami, Fla.) and tight end John Paul Foschi (Glen Head, N.Y.) saw action, though neither caught a pass. OLeary indicated that receiver Jonathan Smith (Argyle, Ga.) might join that list this week.

Sophomore Joe Burns (Thomasville, Ga.), who missed most of the 1999 season with a broken ankle suffered in last years Florida State game, returned to the lineup in last Saturdays win over UCF to rush for 73 yards on 22 carries. Helping pave the way for Burns was junior fullback Ross Mitchell (Grayson, Ga.), a former linebacker in his first game on offense. Mitchell moved to fullback in the preseason to complement senior Ed Wilder (Washington, Ga.), whose chronic knee injury may limit his snaps.

“We wanted to see what Ross could get done at fullback, and he did a good job,” said OLeary. “The move was made so that we have another fullback who can do the things we want to get done. We expect to get a lot of plays out of Ed, and when he was in there he did some good things.”

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