Aug. 17, 2004
Senior tackle Kyle Wallace, the veteran of the Georgia Tech offensive line, has returned to the right tackle slot after working at left tackle since last spring.
Tech opens the season Sept. 4 against Samford at 1 p.m. at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field.
Wallace, from Lawrenceville, Ga., is a two-year starter at right tackle and a preseason all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection. He moved to the left side in spring practice as coaches sought the best combination and hoped to better protect the quarterback’s blind side.
But the emergence this preseason of senior Leon Robinson at left tackle has enabled Wallace, 6-6, 295, to move back to the right side, where he is more comfortable. Robinson is healthy and in shape after battling injuries last spring and fall.
“Kyle’s much more comfortable at right tackle,” said Tech head coach Chan Gailey. “He was playing left tackle for the team.”
Gailey said the differences between left tackle and right tackle are significant.
“It’s sets, it’s calls, it’s angles. It’s a lot more complicated than it looks,” said Gailey. “That’s why you see guys in the NFL being left tackles or right tackles.”
Also working with the first unit on the offensive line are senior center Andy Tidwell-Neal and junior right guard Brad Honeycutt, both returning starters, along with junior Salih Besirevic, who has been working at left guard. Tidwell-Neal could return to left guard when redshirt freshman center Kevin Tuminello returns to health.
Another starter who is sidelined by a minor injury is junior strong safety Dawan Landry. Gailey says that he expects to have Landry back within a few days, but in his absence, senior Nathan Burton has performed well.
“Nathan is a great `glue’ player,” said Gailey of the former walk-on who has earned a scholarship. “He can glue a lot of things together for us on defense by playing a lot of spots. He’s a very versatile guy. He’s done an excellent job, and it’s been a good experience for him to get all experience in case something were to happen.”
Burton, from Lilburn, Ga., backs up at both safety positions and is a key member of several special teams units. The 6-2, 205-pounder even worked at cornerback in the spring.
Last fall, he scored Tech’s first touchdown of the season when he recovered a blocked punt against Brigham Young. Then he made another big special teams play against Vanderbilt with a fumble recovery on kickoff coverage. He was credited with nine tackles on the season.