March 7, 2007
ATLANTA – With spring practice less than a week old, the big question is who will step up and fill the huge void left by the departure of all-everything Calvin Johnson. Though you can’t “replace” Johnson, many seem to think redshirt freshman Demaryius Thomas will at least soften the blow.
“I think we knew he had a chance to be a good player,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “He has only been practicing a few days but so far he has been doing some good things.”
With a season of watching and learning, Bay-Bay Thomas has had an opportunity to familiarize himself with the system and plays. With his excellent size (6-3, 220) and skills he looks to make a big impact.
“I have had a chance to learn the plays and get used to the momentum of the game coming out of high school,” said Thomas. “It is going to take a little more time but I have to do what I have to do.”
Thomas leads a group of capable young receivers including Greg Smith, who caught seven passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns in limited action, Andrew Smith, who was used primarily as a punt returner and Corey Earls.
The Jackets also return talented junior James Johnson, who had 39 catches for 608 yards and seven touchdowns last fall in a starting role. Johnson will be asked to lead the young and gifted wide receiving unit.
“There is an awful lot of confidence in him right now because we know what he can do,” said Gailey of Johnson.
Spring practice continues with workouts scheduled for Friday at 3:45 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m. Saturday’s practice will be at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Fans should enter Gate 9 off Techwood Drive and be seated in the East stands and remain off the field.