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#TGW: Springing Forward

March 20, 2014

By Matt Winkeljohn
The Good Word

– While many Georgia Tech student-athletes this week enjoy spring break either with their families or on beaches, Adam Gotsis is working on The Flats.

The junior-to-be defensive tackle is from Australia, so going home is difficult. He went back to Abbotsford, Victoria, Australia last spring break, however, so it’s doable.

With the Yellow Jackets about to begin spring football practice on Monday, Gotsis came up with a different plan: stick around the ghost town.

“I went home last year just because it’s pretty much the only time we get a whole week [during the school year],” he said. “But this week I want to stay and train and be a little more prepared for spring practice.”

A handful of Jackets are training this week, and as Gotsis is the only starting defensive linemen returning, he seems himself in an emerging role.

His sophomore season was fantastic; he started all 13 games and finished with 38.5 tackles, an interception, and was second on the squad with 14.5 tackles for lost yardage (Jeremiah Attaochu had 16) and in sacks with 5.5 (Attaochu had 12.5).

It shouldn’t be considered a surprise if Gotsis draws some preseason All-ACC mention, and then goes out and backs that up on the field.

Starters Attaochu, Euclid Cummings and Emmanuel Dieke are gone from the D-line, as are reserves Chris Crenshaw and Anthony Williams.

There is work to be done, a new pecking order to be established.

“[Defensive linemen] Pat Gamble, Shawn Green, Tyler Stargell – those guys have been working so hard, and it’s exciting to see them in pads and getting some exposure,” Gotsis said. “I feel there are a lot of positions on the defense that are up for grabs. There’s going to be a lot of competition.

“I have no doubt in my mind that they’re going to come along and contribute tremendously. Those spots are there for the taking. I feel like it might be a little bit different because I might be a little more of a leader, keep guys accountable.”

Gotsis won’t place a high priority on keeping tabs on the quarterback competition as Tim Byerly, Justin Thomas and Ty Griffin, among others. They’re seeking to replace Vad Lee, who transferred.

“The quarterback position is one everybody pays attention to … for someone to play that position, they have to be a natural leader,” the big guy said. “Everybody has to think about it at one point or another. You watch and say to yourself: either this guy is doing really well, or he needs to step up.

“Justin had an awesome spring last year and so did Vad, and now Vad has moved on. It’s about who steps up.”

Gotsis, who has been feeding himself as campus cafeterias are closed this week, believes Green and Gamble have the best chances to fill the tackle spot behind him, saying, “You can kind of tell just by the work ethic of guys in the weight room, and in mat drills what you’re going to get once the pads come on.”

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