October 21, 2017 Atlanta - Georgia Tech running back KirVonte Benson (30) runs with the ball in the first half of an NCAA college football game at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday, October 21, 2017. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC/AJC
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC/AJC

6 notes from Georgia Tech spring practice

Georgia Tech had its first full-pads scrimmage Saturday morning at Bobby Dodd Stadium, its fourth practice of the spring. Six notes from coach Paul Johnson’s media availability following the practice.

1. Johnson’s opening remarks: “We played around a little bit. It wasn’t just a scrimmage; we got in some situational stuff and did some things. It’s a typical first day in pads. There was some positives and some negatives. It’s good teaching stuff. There were a lot of young guys playing for the first time, so there was some good and some bad that we can correct.”

9 updates from Georgia Tech’s spring practice

2. On the pace of teaching the offensive and defensive schemes: “Offensively, it’s probably a little easier because you’ve got nine or 10 starters that have played. But you can’t go too fast because then you lose the young kids. Defensively, they’re all starting over, and what I think (defensive coordinator Nate Woody) and his staff want to do is they want to make sure that we get in the basics. I don’t want to run 40 defenses. I want to get good at a few that we do and execute and play fast.

Paul Johnson assures new Georgia Tech defense will be simpler

3. Johnson declined to identify any players who stood out.

“Both sides had good plays,” he said. “I don’t know that I’d single anybody out. The quarterbacks ran the ball pretty good. They were in gold (non-contact jerseys); we didn’t tackle them, but they had some good plays. Defensively, we had a couple third-down stops, we made some plays.”

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4. While players on defense have been shifting around to find a fit in the new scheme, linebacker Victor Alexander has evidently found a home at outside linebacker.

“I think that’s natural – get him out of the box,” Johnson said. “It’s still an evaluation that’s ongoing, but I think that’ll be a better spot for him.”

In Woody’s 3-4 defense, that position is often used to blitz in pass rush. Alexander, a senior, led the team last season with 60 tackles, including two sacks.

“Vic’s a good athlete,” Johnson said. “He’s strong and fast. There’s not all the traffic and all the reads and stuff. He can just play fast.”

Paul Johnson assures new defense will be simpler

5. Johnson shared some philosophy on scrimmaging.

“Nobody wins the scrimmage,” he said. “I asked ’em (Friday) when we got together who won, and of course, the first day, they’ll all yell ‘Offense’ or ‘Defense.’ And I go, ‘Really? What was the score?’ And they look at me, and I’m like, when you play each other, nobody wins. You’re trying to get better. So one day, one side will get the best and the next day, the other side will get the best. We don’t worry about that.”

6. Placement kicks were not very good, Johnson said. He went on to relieve kicker Brenton King of some of the responsibility, saying that there had not been any time spent in practice with the field-goal unit.

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