With so much uncertainty surrounding the offense with a competition at quarterback and a replacement needed for dismissed B-back Dedrick Mills, perhaps center Kenny Cooper is as vital as anyone in the Georgia Tech lineup. A sophomore following in Freddie Burden’s footsteps, he could be a difference maker for the Yellow Jackets.
Coach Paul Johnson has considerable hope for his potential, saying that he “can be a tremendous player. He has a chance to be as good as anybody we’ve had here at that position if he’ll commit to keep his weight down and work hard. He’s a talented young man.”
Cooper can do his part by getting a surge on run plays to open up B-back dives up the middle, a staple of the offense. It’s particularly important given the inexperience that Tech will have at the B-back spot after Mills’ departure. One sure way to blow up an option play is for defenses to shove back the interior of the offensive line, which throws off the quarterback’s path down the line of scrimmage and disrupts timing and spacing. The more Cooper does his job and throws effective blocks, the easier he can make it for the quarterback and the running backs.
He’s also important because of the lack of experience on the line. His likely backup is Andrew Marshall, who is normally a starting offensive tackle, but will miss the season opener with an injury. An injury to Cooper would likely bring Marshall to center and cause shuffling across the line. For an offense that can use a playmaker now that the B-back position is a question mark, Cooper can be a solution.