Georgia Tech quarterbacks and B-backs coach Craig Candeto wants to see more consistency from B-back Dedrick Mills.
Photo: Danny Karnik/GTAA
Photo: Danny Karnik/GTAA

Q&A: Quarterbacks/B-backs coach Craig Candeto

Georgia Tech quarterbacks and B-backs coach Craig Candeto met with reporters Monday after practice, providing updates on players at his two positions.

On working with six quarterbacks (Matthew Jordan, walk-on Chase Martenson, TaQuon Marshall, Lucas Johnson, Jay Jones and Tobias Oliver):

A: It’s tough. It’s probably the biggest line of individuals that I’ve ever had as a coach. So, trying to get eyes on all those guys when we do drills at the same time, trying to work a lot of reps at one time. But I’ve got (graduate assistant) Tevin (Washington). He’s there to watch the B-backs, too, but, yeah, it’s a challenge, especially, when you go into team setting, trying to get everybody reps, and i think we’ve done a pretty good job of it so far in the first few days.

On bringing along freshman B-backs Jordan Ponchez-Mason and Jerry Howard:

A: They’ve been getting a lot of reps in there with that second group. The great thing about B-back is that you can roll ’em in and roll ’em out just because of the nature of the position. The young guys have a long way to go.

I think it’s a little bit fast for them from an assignment standpoint, from a vision standpoint. But, yeah, very comfortable with those three three guys (ahead of Howard and Ponchez-Mason – Dedrick Mills, KirVonte Benson and Quaide Weimerskirch). I think they did a lot of good work in the spring. I think all three of those guys will be ready to go, and we’ll see if those young guys can catch up.

On the freshmen having the physical attributes for the position:

A: I think so. As far as strength, they’re big – big bodies. Jerry Howard’s a strong kid, Jordan is, as well. Great high-school players. Obviously, this is another level and sometimes your mind’s got to catch up with the body, and we’re just not to that point yet.

On Matthew Jordan’s returning from foot surgery:

A: I think he’s there. Matthew is such a hard worker that nothing’s going to stop him. I really admire that about him. He’s a tough kid. His footwork is right where it needs to be.

We’re still working on some of the things that he’s got to get better at in the passing game, but as far as his knowledge and the technical aspect of playing quarterback in this offense, he’s back where he needs to be.

On what he’s looking for from the quarterbacks in determining the depth chart:

A: Well, it’s always hard in shorts and then in shells. I think taking care of the football. We had some issues with that in the spring. I think we did a better job of that today. And then just overall command from a quarterback position, of getting us checked to the right plays, just going off what you see from the defense and getting the direction going.

And that’s half the battle at quarterback, is getting the offense in a good play and getting it to where we need it to go. So just staying cool under pressure. Especially for some of those guys that, spring, it’s a little more relaxing. Now, it’s go time and there is a little bit more pressure and urgency as far as the first game coming up soon, and it’ll be on us quick. So those guys know that it’s go time.

On Jordan’s ability to make decisions in the option:

A: Matthew’s a guy that you guys have seen – he’s played in games. And he’s really the only guy that we can say has done that in that position. He’s proven himself to be able to step into a game and take it over.

I think the Virginia Tech game was a good example of that. We had a lot of help. The defense played well. We got turnovers, but Matthew did a nice job on the offensive side. Certainly, he could have played better in areas, like anybody, but he has proven himself in the sense that he’s taken snaps and faced a live defense.

On goals for Mills:

A: He said it to me before practice today – consistency. Dedrick is as talented as anybody out there, but we just need for him to be more consistent in every phase of the game. Again, he’s a guy that wants that. As he’s grown up and kind of been around a little bit now, I think he’s staring to see the bigger picture of kind of where he fits and how he can lead, and just continuing to work on that consistency.

On Mills’ maturation since Candeto became position coach in January:

A: It’s never been an issue of wanting to do it. It’s just growing up. You come in as a 17-, 18-year-old. If any of us are honest, we remember those days, and it just takes time to kind of catch up and start processing things. But he wants to be a great, and I’m going to push him to be great.

On where Jordan needs to improve with his throwing mechanics:

A: The biggest thing is probably balance on a lot of things. It all starts with your feet at quarterback, and getting yourself in a good position. Whether there’s a rush coming off the edge, and you have to step away to clear a lane.

Matthew’s not 6-4, 6-5, so he’s got to sometimes create those throwing lanes by looking through and being mobile and just continuing to keep his eyes downfield and not look at the rush and then being on balance when he does move in the pocket. If he can keep his footwork, and keep his balance, then everything’s going to follow after that.

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