March 12, 2005
ATLANTA – Chris Reis is on the move again.
The Georgia Tech senior, known for his aggressive play, moves this spring from outside linebacker, where he earned all-conference honors in his only season there, to safety. Reis and his Tech teammates held their second session of spring practice Saturday.
“I want to do what’s best for the team, and this is the best move,” said Reis, who received honorable mention all-Atlantic Coast Conference recognition in 2004. “We have some great linebackers coming up, so any way I can help the team is what I’ll do.
“Moving positions is all about mindset. The coaches wouldn’t have moved you if didn’t have the ability to play there. So it’s whether you want to play there. You have to keep an open mind.”
Actually, Reis is returning to his former position. He was a backup safety his first two years at Tech, then moved late last spring to outside linebacker. That switch proved to be very fruitful for the Tech defense as Reis led the Jackets with eight sacks. He was Tech’s fourth-leading tackler with 70 while collecting 15 tackles for loss and a team-high six pass breakups.
“I’m not really learning a new position, but going back and re-learning,” said Reis, a two-time Academic All-ACC selection. “I have to re-learn different keys, different reads.
“The biggest thing is going to be re-learning a different mindset, where I can’t be quite so aggressive. I’m still going to be aggressive, but I’ll just have to be a little more patient. It’s going to take a little time, but I think it’s going to be fun. It’s my original position.”
Reis is one of 10 returning starters from a Tech defense that ranked 12th in the nation last fall at 297.9 yards per game, the best figure by a Rambling Wreck defense since 1991. He welcomes the opportunity to work on technique and schemes during spring practice.
“This spring is going to help a lot,” he said. “Last spring I moved to linebacker the second-to-last practice, which was tough. Now I’m back at safety for the whole spring, and I know the whole system a lot better. I know where everyone else is going to be, especially on the front end.”
One worry that the 6-1, 215-pound Reis no longer has is weight.
“I was probably way too light for linebacker,” said the Roswell, Ga., native. “I got up to about 220, but it was really hard for me to put on that weight. Now I’m five or six pounds lighter, and it just feels more like me. Weight’s really not an issue. I went from being an undersized linebacker to being a bigger safety.”
And an aggressive one.