Aug. 16, 2015
By Matt Winkeljohn | The Good Word
Georgia Tech’s football team took its first day off since beginning camp two weeks earlier, and Sunday came at a doubly good time.
Players had the freedom to move out of the midtown hotel where they’ve been staying, and into dorms, apartments and houses. And everybody had reason to feel better because Saturday’s scrimmage, the second of the month, was finally enough to prompt head coach Paul Johnson to rise out of his often-dour mood.
The offense, which is incorporating well over half a dozen running backs and wide receivers into new roles, scored touchdowns on its first three possessions – a decided improvement over many previous practice and scrimmage results.
Skov rushed eight times for 86 yards and two touchdowns, and caught a 24-yard pass from backup quarterback Tim Byerly.
“Patrick Skov really played well. Marcus Marshall was with the [starters]. He and Patrick rotated,” Johnson said. “It was [Skov’s] best performance to date. It was good to see Patrick be physical. He’s still got a lot to learn.
“The first team offense was pretty good. The defense got a little better as the scrimmage went on.”
Starting quarterback Justin Thomas guided the offense on the first and third possessions, and he said camp closed with signs of progress among backs and receivers in a scrimmage that was closed to the public and media.
“We started off well. I like what I’ve seen throughout the whole camp so far,” Thomas reported. “We were executing and staying consistent; not getting behind the chains. The blocking, especially on the perimeter, [is improving].”
Senior defensive tackle Adam Gotsis saw what the offense did, and did not like it so much. The defense rallied through the scrimmage, as senior safety Jamal Golden intercepted a Byerly pass and Step Durham recovered a fumbled pitch.
“It’s about how you handle adversity,” Gotsis said. “We were a bit rattled at the start because we went from pretty much dominating [the offense] in camp so far and they scored on their first three drives. It was pretty good to see how the guys responded to that.”
There was good news at the still-open right guard spot vacated by Shaq Mason.
“Shamire Devine did much better,” Johnson said. “He got some really nice blocks the first two or three drives . . . some nice drives.”
“We found out who’s really about playing, and we had some movement in the depth chart,” the big fella said. “I think we’ve got a pretty good team, good chemistry, and we’ve got a lot of work to do . . . I’m not looking to rest during games. I’m looking to be out there the whole time.”
Practice will take on a new tenor Monday, the first day of classes. The season opener will be two weeks from Thursday night, Sept. 3 against Alcorn State.
“We’ll set the depth chart,” Johnson said. “I think we got some things done [in camp]. You’re never where you’d like to be.”