Georgia Tech safety Lawrence Austin (20) intercepts a pass in the endzone in front of Virginia Tech receiver Travon McMillian (34) during the first half of an NCAA football game in Blacksburg, Va., Saturday, Nov. 12 2016. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)

5 things to know from the Georgia Tech secondary in spring practice

Details gleaned from Monday’s post-practice media availability from Georgia Tech spring practice. The Yellow Jackets are 13 practices with just two remaining, including the spring game Friday.

Trust in the secondary

Having experience in the secondary, where all five starters return (cornerbacks Step Durham and Lance Austin, nickel Lawrence Austin, safeties A.J. Gray and Corey Griffin), enables players to trust in one another more. That’s a primary benefit, as defensive coordinator Ted Roof sees it. Their knowledge of the defensive schemes and of each other allows them to play with an understanding of what the other might do.

They can “know when you can take a chance, know when you can’t, so you’re playing team defense, and that way to know when you can roll the dice a little bit,” Roof said.

Versatile backup

Lamont Simmons is working at both the field and boundary cornerback positions, backing up Durham (boundary) and Austin (field).

“It’s fun, I don’t have to just stick to the boundary, I can also go to the field, so I’ve just been having fun with it,” Simmons said.

Positioning himself to play

Redshirt freshman Ajani Kerr is the No. 4 corner behind Lawrence Austin, Durham and Simmons.

“Ajani’s coming along nicely, continues to compete hard,” cornerbacks coach Joe Speed said. “He’ll stick his nose in there.”

Simmons complimented him for the progress he’s made thus far.

“He redshirted last year but this spring he’s been working pretty hard,” Simmons said. “I can see the growth. It’s shocking to me, but I like it.”

Early-enrollee report

Speed said that early-enrollee freshman cornerback Jaytlin Askew is making mistakes but giving full effort.

“I’m pleased from that standpoint, but everybody’s going to make mistakes,” Speed said. “What are you going to do after the mistake? One, are you going to run full speed, and two, are you not going to give up? He’s shown that he takes a lot of pride in his craft, and when a ball’s completed on him or thrown at him, he wants to compete and do well.”

Taking more turns in spring

One advantage particularly for the two early enrollees, Gentry Bonds and Askew, is that there isn’t as much competition for reps. Cornerbacks Dorian Walker and Meiko Dotson both transferred, leaving the depth chart thinner. Bonds and Askew will be joined in the fall by signees Dameon Williams and Tre Swilling.

“The reps they’re getting in the spring, they’re going to be more spread out come the fall, and we’ll see the guys that show up how fast they can pick it up,” Speed said.

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