Tech’s Bryan Cook drilling down on fundamentals

Georgia Tech quarterbacks and B-backs coach Bryan Cook joined the team in the middle of spring practice after four years as the co-offensive coordinator at Division II Cal-Poly. Among other things, he was given the task of developing quarterbacks Vad Lee and Justin Thomas, two of the more promising players on the roster.

On Thursday, following Tech’s first practice of preseason camp, Cook spoke with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the first day, the month ahead and his new job. Questions and answers were edited for clarity and brevity.

Q: Who looked improved from when you saw them last in the spring?

A: I thought the B-backs looked like they're in pretty good condition. They move around pretty good right now. I was kind of impressed with those guys. In general offensively, I think that group of A-backs, there's some guys that look like they got some things done over the summer. It's too early to say (about) young guys jumping out at you. That's kind of 10 days in sometimes. But I think in general the upperclassmen — (B-backs) David Sims, Zach Laskey, those guys look like they're ready to play football.

Q: Who had the throw of the day?

A: There probably was only one throw of the day, and I don't know who made it. It was nice to see (wide receiver) Darren Waller stride out on a post route. I think it was Vad that might have tossed that one up there. But Justin made some good ones on time.

Q: How was the day for you? I imagine you must have felt more settled.

A: First practice anywhere you are, regardless of how long you've been there, it's always a treat because there's so much coaching to do. I'll tell you this — it's easier than whenever it was I got here, practice 9 of spring ball. There's no question. The only flipside is it's everybody else's first day, too. There's probably a tradeoff.

Q: At what point do you start working on wrinkles and tweaks in the offense?

A: Right now we're just trying to get the fundamentals down and the base of what we do, and start at the core and work our way out. For us, that's always going to start with the triple option, and there's enough coaching and attention to detail there right now that we could do nothing but that and have a productive day, to be honest with you.

Q: What kind of plan is there for Vad to focus on in the preseason?

A: He has some things to work on. He came and told me what his goals are for himself and for the team and for the offense, and so he's got some things each day that he needs to get better. We talked a little about those specifics earlier. Each day we take the field and he ought to know each day, one or two things in particular, what his focal point should be. Today, heck, it was just the cadence.

Q: From what I’ve observed, I would think some of it is just becoming better at the option.

A: His is less learning right now than it is repetition. There's probably a difference for a guy that's been here three years. Right now, he needs to improve on just the reactive timing and efficiency, probably, in reads, too.

Q: And Justin, the same things?

A: He's still kind of at a different stage a little bit with some footwork things, not that Vad is great with his feet right now, but you can tell there's a difference of a year there fundamentally. Justin's just so darned quick with everything that he does. He can make up for inefficient footwork sometimes because of how quick he is.

Q: Do you get the sense that Vad is more comfortable in the shotgun than under center?

A: I don't know. For us, he's got to be pretty darned comfortable under center for us to go win football games. For us, that's where we're going to start. I'm sure, just like every quarterback in America, he probably likes being back there (in the shotgun). Right now, that doesn't mean a whole lot to us or even him. I bet you if you ask him, he really doesn't give two darns about that right now, either. He just wants to get ready to go win Aug. 31.

Q: Now that you’ve lived in Atlanta a few months, have you found things you’ve liked to do?

A: My wife and I lived here 10 years ago (when Cook was a grad assistant at Tech); we're pretty comfortable with it. We've kind of found our routine of fun things to do. There's so much to do for families here during the summertime. It's been nice. July, we didn't travel much, we just settled in. It's been nice to enjoy Atlanta again as a family. We did that new Ferris wheel they've got there (in downtown Atlanta). My kids were heckling my wife about two stories in the air. We've done a lot of fun stuff. It was a good summer.