Aug. 24, 2002
Expected to be one of the team’s strengths, Georgia Tech’s kicking game has drawn praise from head coach Chan Gailey as the Yellow Jackets continue preseason drills with the season opener just one week away.
Tech kicks off the 2002 season Aug. 31 by hosting Vanderbilt at 6 p.m. at newly renovated and expanded Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field on the Tech campus. On Sunday, the Jackets will have a weight-lifting session and a very light workout in the evening and then take Monday off before returning to work Tuesday.
Tech returns a pair of talented and experienced kickers in two-time all-Atlantic Coast Conference placekicker Luke Manget (Conyers, Ga.) and three-time Verizon Academic All-America punter Dan Dyke (Winter Springs, Fla.)
“Obviously our punter and our placekicker are really good,” said Gailey following Saturday’s morning workout. “I really like where we are there. I think we’re very sound. Coach [Tommy] Raye does a good job with the process of the kicking game, and we have very good skill people there.
A preseason all-America by Lindy’s magazine, Manget has made an ACC-record 131 consecutive extra points, placing him within reach of the NCAA record of 161 in a row by former Tennessee kicker John Becksvoort. He enters his senior campaign with the highest career field goal percentage in school history at .700 (42-60), and his career total of 257 points ranks third in tech annals. Manget, whose backup is junior Dan Burnett (Lilburn, Ga.), set a Tech season record with 97 points last season, hitting 19-of-28 field goals and 40-of-40 extra points.
Dyke enters his final season with a career punting average of 42.3 yards per kick, which is nearly a full yard better than the current school record of 41.42 yards, set by current New York Giants punter Rodney Williams. Last fall, Dyke averaged 41.2 yards.
Tech is blessed with a very capable backup punter in senior Chris Morehouse (Vernon, Conn.), who has punted 28 times over the last two seasons for a 42.8 yard average.
Gailey’s emphasis on special team is evident because he has dedicated assistant coach Tommy Raye exclusively to that unit.
“My history in having been a special teams coach makes you realize how important it is,” said Gailey.