The attention that Georgia Tech wide receiver Jeff Greene is receiving from coach Paul Johnson may not be sweet words of encouragement, but it’s complimentary in its own way.
“Jeff in particular is a guy that I’m going to get on because he’s got ability,” Johnson said Wednesday following the team’s sixth session of spring practice. “He needs to separate himself.”
Greene and Chris Jackson have been given the first opportunity to replace former wide receivers Stephen Hill and Tyler Melton in the starting lineup, as they have worked with the first string in full-team drills. Darren Waller and Jeremy Moore are with the second unit.
Greene needs to become more consistent in his effort and pass-catching, Johnson said. Greene has two notable predecessors echoing Johnson’s message. Former Tech stars Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas have been working out at Tech. During breaks between classes, Greene and quarterback Vad Lee have watched them run routes at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
“They just said, ‘Work on the little things,’ as far as, like staying after practice to throw with the quarterbacks even though you’re tired and you probably don’t want to,” Greene said.
Jackson is feeling more comfortable at wide receiver this spring. After transferring from Alabama before the 2009 season, he played A-back until getting dismissed from the team in November 2010 for violating team rules. Since returning last summer, he has been at wide receiver.
“I’m moving a lot faster, knowing the offense, knowing where I’m going, knowing where I need to be and all that,” Jackson said.
Laskey back at B-back
B-back Zach Laskey is glad to be back on offense after being switched to defensive back just before the start of last season. Laskey mostly played special teams last fall as a freshman, including a role returning punts. With B-back Richard Watson deciding to forego his final year of eligibility, Johnson returned Laskey to B-back, where he’s behind starter David Sims and Charles Perkins. Laskey welcomed the change, as he played running back at Starr’s Mill High and came to Tech intending to play B-back.
“I think he’s starting to figure it out,” Johnson said of Laskey. “He made a couple nice cuts [Wednesday]. Charles Perkins had a nice cut, too.”
This spring, Laskey is focusing on keeping his pads low when he carries the ball and on his cut blocking.
“I’ve played running back my whole life, so it wasn’t that hard an adjustment back,” he said.
Godhigh in A-back lead
A-back Robert Godhigh has performed the best at the position thus far, Johnson said. Returning starter Orwin Smith is not participating this spring as he recovers from toe surgery.
B.J. Bostic, Deon Hill, Broderick Snoddy and Tony Zenon also are in the competition at A-back. All four are either freshmen or sophomores.
“Robby’s just older, he knows where to go,” Johnson said. “He’s a little bit more physical. He’s made plays.”
A-backs coach Lamar Owens said he’s mostly looking for consistent play.
Said Owens, “When coach Johnson puts you out on the field, are you going to produce for us? Can we count on you to do your job?”
Johnson said that players “dragged a little bit” in Wednesday’s practice. He attributed it to spring practice reaching the midpoint and also to the fact that the team didn’t do live tackling. He said defensive end Anthony Williams stood out with “some really nice plays.” ... Saturday’s scrimmage, which is open to the public, will begin at 9:15 a.m. at Bobby Dodd Stadium.