Tech revives for final two-a-day

For the last of its four two-a-days of preseason camp, Georgia Tech mustered its reserves and showed more energy than in previous days.

“I thought it was the best [two-a-day] we’ve had, as far as effort and people flying around,” coach Paul Johnson said Wednesday. “It was pretty good.”

Monday’s and Tuesday’s practices did not meet Johnson’s expectations, and he said Tuesday that it would be a big concern if the team did not begin to show more effort and intensity. The Yellow Jackets conclude preseason camp Saturday morning with a scrimmage at Bobby Dodd Stadium and will begin preparing for the Sept. 1 season opener against Western Carolina on Monday.

On Wednesday, the team practiced in full pads in the morning and then helmets and shoulder pads in the afternoon, working out in the indoor practice facility for the later session.

“It was a little cooler, so they bounced around pretty good,” Johnson said.

Coaches are toying with their offensive-line options for the first two games, in which Tech will be without Phil Smith, who was suspended for breaking team rules. Ray Beno and Catlin Alford have been competing to fill in for Smith, but Johnson said, “I don’t think either guy’s won the job.”

Johnson tossed out the possibility of moving guard Will Jackson to tackle and using freshman Trey Braun at guard. Braun, who enrolled early and participated in spring practice, has held his own in camp. He worked briefly last week with the first team when Jackson was out with a shoulder injury, was a pleasant surprise in the scrimmage and looks to have won the No. 3 guard spot.

“He’s showed a sense of maturity for a kid his age,” co-offensive line coach Mike Sewak said. “He takes aggressive coaching well, and he’s done a good job of trying to respond to what you ask of him.”

No No. 9

While the roster is more than 100 players deep, no one is wearing No. 9. It is not in homage to the last bearer of the jersey, quarterback Joshua Nesbitt. It’s because Johnson doesn’t know who should wear it. Johnson said about 12 players requested it.

“I told ’em we’d get through camp and we’ll see who’s going to play, and whoever plays has the best chance to get it because there’s no way to determine all the different guys who wanted it,” Johnson said.

Equipment manager Tom Conner said it was the most requested available jersey number.

Said Johnson, “Everybody wants a single digit.”

Injury report

Johnson said he expects freshman wide receiver Corey Dennis and B-back Richard Watson (concussion) to return to practice Thursday. Wide receiver Tyler Melton is still nursing a strained calf muscle. Offensive lineman Morgan Bailey has been out since last week. Dennis’ and Bailey’s injuries are undisclosed.


Backup center Nick McRae’s willingness to practice despite a variety of bumps and bruises has earned Johnson’s respect. “I can’t say enough good things about him,” Johnson said. ... Johnson said “maybe” to a question about changes in the depth chart, but said he would make them public the week of the Western Carolina game.