Georgia Tech Friday practice report

Few players were likely more ready for spring football to begin at Georgia Tech than junior safety Cooper Taylor.

Early last season, the Marist graduate was diagnosed with Wolff-White Parkinson Syndrome, which affects the ventricles to the heart and kept him on the sidelines for the final 11 games of the year.

But Wolff-White isn't a chronic condition, and Taylor was able to quickly get the help he needed and has been on the field with his team this year.

"I'm glad to be back out there playing," Taylor said, following Friday's practice. "It scared me originally but, when I figured out what it was, I was ready to get back out here. It's one of those lucky things you can fix and not have to worry about it again."

Taylor is a key part of the secondary and will be expected to help make up for the loss of Morgan Burnett, who chose to enter the NFL Draft after his junior season.

Coach Paul Johnson said getting Taylor back on the practice field has been nice.

"It's good to see him back out here running around," Johnson said. "It was scary for everybody, but I think he's 100 percent healthy now, so it's good to see him back out here."

He wasn't the only one who felt that way, as Taylor's high school coach Alan Chadwick joined several coaches at practice Friday and gave Taylor a thumbs up near the start of drills.

Roddy and the No-Names

For the past two seasons, most of the fans' attention in the Tech backfield has gone toward 2008 ACC Player of the Year Jonathan Dwyer at B-back.

With Dwyer gone to the NFL Draft, the void appears likely to be filled by a host of runners, some more experienced than others.

One of the more tenured members of that group is A-back Roddy Jones, who has logged significant playing time alongside Dwyer each of the past two seasons.

He'll be joined at A-back by Embry Peebles, Marcus Wright and Orwin Smith, while B-back should be manned by Anthony Allen, Preston Lyons, Richard Watson, Lucas Cox, Daniel Drummond and Charles Perkins.

It's a large set of backs, and Jones said he can see the benefits of significant numbers two weeks into spring practice.

"You can definitely see it; we have more depth than we've had since coach Johnson's been here," Jones said. "With the number of guys we have who have played, who have some experience and that are talented, it just really helps us."

And without an obvious ACC Player of the Year candidate in the bunch, there isn't the buzz around this backfield that was there last season with Dwyer.

But whether it's Jones or one of his teammates who makes a play, he said practicing together is teaching them that the lack of star power might foster a group approach.

"We aren't being talked about as much; you don't have one guy back there who's getting all the accolades," Jones said. "For us, it's going to be kind of a running back by committee. When we get our touches, we've got to make them pay in every phase."


Redshirt freshman A-back Robert Godhigh was carted off the practice field when he appeared to injure his right ankle while being tackled during 11-on-11 drills Friday. Johnson did not appear concerned and said he thought Godhigh just got rolled over on the tackle.