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Yellow Jackets Go Full Contact

Aug. 7, 2003

Georgia Tech held its first full-contact practice of the summer Thursday evening, and the Yellow Jackets immediately participated in a live, scrimmage session, complete with officials.

Freshman quarterback Reggie Ball drew some oohs and aahs from the crowd with a pair of big plays – a 24-yard touchdown pass to a diving Nate Curry and then a 25-yard scramble for a touchdown.

“He was one of the more exciting players on the field for the offense,” said Tech head coach Chan Gailey of the 5-11, 192-pound Ball. “He made two big plays–two touchdowns–and was close to two other plays that were going to be big. I was pleased with what he did on the field.”

The quarterback job continues to be a battle between sophomore Damarius Bilbo, senior A.J. Suggs, and two freshmen, Ball and Patrick Carter.

Overall, Gailey characterized the play of the offense as sloppy but attributed that to lack of continuity.

“We put the ball on the ground too much and made too many mistakes, but that’s what happens in the first scrimmage,” he said. “You’re trying to look at everybody so you’re mixing and matching personnel. Offense is like a machine; it has to work together and be in sync.”

The Tech defense continues to play well.

“The defense flew around and played well,” said Gailey. “They did give up a couple of big plays, so that was the only negative. We can’t do that. We’ve got to make people go the long hard way. But we got some turnovers, which is good, and we’re going to have to continue to do that.”

Gailey has been very pleased with the progress of safeties James Butler and Dawan Landry, both of whom earned starting roles in spring practice following the graduation of last year’s starters, Jeremy Muyres and Cory Collins. Butler is a 6-3, 210-pound junior from Bainbridge, Ga., while Landry, a former quarterback, is 6-2, 215-pound sophomore from Ama, La.

“They’ve made great progress,” said Gailey. “Not just average progress; they have made great progress from the first day of spring practice to today. They are big, strong guys, and they both have excellent knowledge of the game.

“We have a luxury in that they can play deep, and they can come up to support the run. A lot of guys can do one or the other, but these can do both of those things, which is a big plus for our defense.”

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