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Sharing the Good Times

Oct. 28, 2011

Gameday Central

By Matt Winkeljohn
Sting Daily

It wouldn’t come as a surprise if, when the Yellow Jackets gather today for their pre-game screening, they watch quite a few highlights of Tevin Washington.

The Georgia Tech football team stays in a hotel the night before home games, and before leaving on game day, they watch video splices of the Jackets at their best.

“We get some positive reinforcement … on Saturdays, the coaches put on clips of our positive plays that we’ve had this year,” Washington said. “They just show guys on the same page. It could be [guard] Omoregie Uzzi getting up on a linebacker or something like that.”

Bet Washington stars in today’s show prior to this evening’s game against No. 6 Clemson. He needs to be reminded of the good times, convinced that he can again play so well as to elevate not only himself but Tech’s entire offense. He did that early in the season. Lately, not so much.

Johnson and assistant Brian Bohannon have spoken of fine-tuning Washington’s mechanics in practice, and they’ve even said that if backup quarterback Synjyn Days can hang onto the football he’s going to play. That’s not exactly positive reinforcement for Washington, but it’s real.

That’s a separate problem; Days can’t shake the habit when he takes off running of flapping his arms like wings (more like pistons, really) — even the arm with which he’s carrying the ball.

Back to Washington: He claimed the other day that he’s been playing with the same bravado lately that he did early in the season, but that’s a sketchy concept. What did you expect him to say? “I’m playing with the same confidence,” he said. “I’ve made some turnovers and stuff, but you’ve got to let them go.”

When you’re playing well, and your team is winning, it’s a whole lot easier to let go of the bad and dwell on the good.

All of this operates in inverse, too; it’s human nature. Confidence can roll downhill. When times are tough, it’s not so easy to shake the doldrums. Typically, the Jackets review tape of their mistakes and make corrections early in the week and that’s the end of that.

Washington admitted the other day that he’s hung onto a few lesser memories that he’d like to forget.

“I’m a competitor so … I let it go, but over the week I’m still thinking about the game before because I use it as motivation,” he said.

Hopefully, today’s pre-game screening will help wipe the ugly images and replace them with better thoughts. Then, perhaps, Washington will star for real tonight. That’d be nice, huh?

“If everybody executes our offense, me included, we’ll move the ball like we should,” the quarterback said. “That’s the goal.”

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