Wide receiver Stephen Hill apologized to Georgia Tech's fans on Monday after he dropped two passes in Saturday's 24-20 win at Wake Forest. Hill leads the team with eight receptions, but has had his share of butterfingers through the season's first five games.
"It feels like I've let myself down, the fans down," Hill, a sophomore, said. Tech will host Virginia, featuring preseason All-American cornerback Ras-I Dowling, at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Tech coach Paul Johnson said that he was going to talk to Hill on Monday and tell him to stop worrying about being the next Demaryius Thomas, the former Tech great who was the first wide receiver selected in the NFL draft earlier this season, and instead focus on fulfilling his potential. They didn't get a chance to meet on Monday, but Hill agreed with what Johnson said.
"I'm not saying I'm trying to be like him, but I want to get to what his capability was," Hill said. Thomas caught 46 passes for 1,154 yards and eight touchdowns last season.
Sure-handed in limited appearances last season, Hill said his issues this season stem from trying to catch the ball with his body, instead of attacking it and catching it with his hands. When a receiver tries to let a ball come into his body, it can ricochet off the shoulder pads.
Hill said he's been showing up early at practice and staying late to improve his technique with his hands so that he will increase his reception total.
Kicker Scott Blair was honored as the ACC's specialist of the week on Monday, the second time this season he has been selected. He is the only player to win the specialist award twice.
Blair kicked field goals of 47, 45 and 42 yards in Saturday's 24-20 win at Wake Forest. He's seven-for-seven this season, including four kicks longer than 40 yards. He was 5-for-7 in that range last season. He also kicked his 56th consecutive point-after attempt.
Blair, a senior, is now eighth on Tech's all-time scoring list with 193 points.
After the win against North Carolina, in which he kicked three field goals to earn specialist of the week, Blair said he is trying not to think as much while doing his job. He said he reached a point of paralysis by analysis last season. He hit just 14 of his 20 attempts last season, saying that he had become to mechanical with his efforts.
Guard Will Jackson missed Monday's practice after he sustained an ankle injury in Saturday's win. Johnson said that Jay Finch, who is normally a center, is working out at guard. ... Georgia Tech's home game against Middle Tennessee State on Oct. 16 will kick off at 3:30 p.m., the ACC announced on Monday. It will be on ESPN3.com. ... Johnson had a speaking engagement at 7 p.m. Monday in Macon. Because practice ended at 5:30 p.m., Johnson had already arranged for a helicopter to pick him up and ferry him to the event. The helicopter was arriving at Rose Bowl Field as the players were walking to the locker room.
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