July 19, 2013
Jon Cooper, Sting Daily –
Vad Lee believes that good things come to those who wait.
For the better part of two seasons he’s done just that, waiting to show what he can do as the full-time starting quarterback for Georgia Tech.
Lee gave Jackets fans a taste of what he could do in 2012, showing a powerful arm, with which he completed just below 50 percent of this passes (27-for-56) for 596 yards (22.1 yards per completion), with four touchdowns vs. three interceptions. His 150.47 pass efficiency rating would have been ranked him for fourth in the ACC, mere percentage points behind North Carolina’s Bryn Renner. Lee also showed he could run, gaining 544 yards on 96 carries (5.7 yards per carry) and hitting pay dirt nine times — tied with Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas for sixth in the conference. His 54 points tied him for ninth in the conference, while his 7.5 yards per play ranked him fifth.
Overall it was a pretty good season, considering the redshirt freshman was learning on the job while switching off with fifth-year senior Tevin Washington.
Having processed everything Lee is looking forward as the favorite to start under center heading into summer practice. That’s a nice feeling.
“It feels good just being in the leadership position,” said the Durham, N.C., native. “It’s something that I’ve always kind of been in but now is more of a focus and everybody knows who to come to when they have questions. The young guys coming in, the freshmen, showing them a lot of things. I’m showing the young quarterback how we do things and stuff like that. It’s pretty cool.”
Lee didn’t need to wait until August 1, the official start of practice to start taking the initiative.
“I definitely feel I can do more now,” he said. “We had a big summer, a lot of events and stuff that I kind of planned, that everybody’s been coming to. It’s probably something that I couldn’t have done my freshman year. That’s really exciting, just trying to get everybody on board so we can do big things.”
The Yellow Jackets are looking forward to building on last year’s offense that was fourth in the ACC in scoring (33.6 ppg), and total offense (441.1 ypg) and third in touchdowns (63), but was last in the ACC in passing, gaining only 129.9 yards per game. Of course, Tech only threw 194 times, as it boasted the nation’s second-leading rushing attack (311.2 ypg).
Lee is confident of the potential to expand the passing game and is looking forward to working closely with the team’s new quarterbacks/B-Backs coach Bryan Cook to do just that. Cook was hired by Head Coach Paul Johnson on April 10th to replace Brian Bohannon, who left to take over at Kennesaw State. Cook had been co-Offensive Coordinator for the last four seasons at Cal Poly, and ran an offense similar to Johnson’s Spread Option.
“Coach Cook is a young, energetic coach. I’m looking forward to building more of a relationship with him,” said Lee. “It was kind of a bummer when Coach Bohannon left because we were just starting to peak with our relationship but I think Coach Johnson did a great job in hiring Coach Cook. Coach Cook will bring a lot of different stuff to the table, which I’m interested in. So I’m excited to see what we can do.”
If the preseason is any indication, Lee and Co. will be doing a lot. The QB raved about his potential stable of receivers based on informal 7-on-7s. Amongst those that have impressed are redshirt freshman A-Back Dennis Andrews, junior DeAndre Smelter, who will challenge for a spot at wide receiver after playing baseball his first two years, and sophomore Broderick Snoddy, who showed his blazing speed last year and during the spring set the school record for the 60 meters three different times, and competed in the NCAA Championships.
Just getting started and playing some real 11-on-11 has Lee jazzed.
“Really, I’m just ready to get there,” he said. “All the summer workouts and stuff are kind of getting old. Coach Sisk (the team’s director of player development) has done a great job with us in the summer but I’m ready to get camp going just so it can be football season finally.”
Getting back into practice will keep Lee from looking ahead to the schedule, which features a season-opener against Elon at Bobby Dodd, then a personal homecoming at Duke, and then another home game against North Carolina. That Tar Heel State trifecta, has Lee licking his chops.
“The first three games are against North Carolina teams. I’m going to enjoy that,” he said. “Going home, back to Durham, the Bull city, that’s where I’m from so I know I’ll have a lot of people there and it’s important. It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be different from when I was a redshirt.”
Who could blame Lee for wanting a full game against Carolina. Last year, splitting time he gained 112 rushing yards on 23 carries, with two touchdowns, while completing 6 of 10 passes for 169 yards, with a long of 63 yards, and a touchdown. He had a more modest day against Duke (13 yards rushing with a touchdown and 17 yards passing on 2-of-4 completions).
That stretch is followed by a rugged gauntlet of revenge game against Virginia Tech, at Miami and at BYU.
“That’s a tough stretch of games. I was playing that on NCAA ’14 last night and I got tired on those game,” he said, with a laugh. “All of those games are games that we’re looking forward to. You don’t get revenge but I’m definitely looking forward to playing BYU again, Miami, we haven’t beaten them in a while, so that’s something that we’re looking forward to. That’s a tough stretch but it’s tough to win the ACC, it’s tough to win a National Championship. So that’s what it’s going to take for us to win those games.”
Lee’s ready to take that challenge head-on and prove that his time to shine was worth the wait.
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