ATLANTA (Mar. 21) — There was little “spring” in Georgia Tech’s spring practice session Wednesday as the Yellow Jackets worked out in 40 degree temperatures and blustery, gray conditions at Rose Bowl Field, but head coach George O’Leary didn’t mind.
“This is really football weather, so it was a good day,” said O’Leary, now in his seventh spring on the Flats. “We cancelled Monday’s practice because of the rain, so we needed to get out today. It was good to fight the elements a little bit, and for the first day in pads, it was a good practice.”
Headlined by all-America candidate Kelly Campbell, Georgia Tech boasts depth and experience at wide receiver, perhaps more so than any other area on the team.
“It’s area that has a lot of experience,” said O’Leary. “They’re all back with the exception of Jon Muyres and Brett Basquin.
“That will be the strength of the offensive unit. We have a lot of people back at running back also, but I think the receiver corps is where we have big-play potential.”
Campbell, a senior from Atlanta and two-time all-ACC selection, caught 59 passes for 963 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. He is on track to become Tech’s all-time leading receiver, needing just 27 catches and 93 yards to break the school records in those categories. Also dangerous when rushing or returning kicks, he led nation with an average of 18.9 yards every time he touched the football.
Also returning are Tech’s second and third-leading receivers, in juniors Will Glover (Tampa, Fla.) and Kerry Watkins (LaPlace, La.). Glover caught 29 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns, while Watkins led the team with an 18.5-yard average per catch, totalling 26 receptions for 480 yards and six scores.
A pair of sophomores give Tech outstanding depth at the position in Nate Curry, who had 22 catches for 298 yards and two touchdowns, and Jonathan Smith, who caught seven passes for 80 yards. Both showed great progress as true freshmen.
“I think Nate Curry and Jonathan Smith had great seasons for freshmen getting on the field for the first time and making the plays they did,” said O’Leary.
“I’m really trying to get the first-team guys beat out. That’s when you know you’re getting better. That’s the goal of the spring; to have as much competition as possible.”
The Yellow Jackets continue spring drills Friday.