5 updates from Georgia Tech spring practice

Lamont Simmons celebrates with Ajani Kerr after returning an onside kick for a touchdown to open the second half of Saturday's Georgia Tech-Miami game. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Georgia Tech will be 80 percent of the way through spring practice Saturday with its scheduled spring scrimmage. The Yellow Jackets will conclude their spring workouts with the annual spring game at 7 p.m. next Friday.

As of Friday afternoon, the Weather Channel forecast for next Friday is zero percent chance of precipitation, a projection that presumably is errant.

Four notes from the team’s media availability Wednesday.

1. Ajani Kerr is in favor of the new defense

Add cornerback Ajani Kerr to the list of defensive players who like what they’re seeing with new defensive coordinator Nate Woody’s scheme. He used the same word – “simple” – that others often have.

“We’re playing fast – see ball, get ball,” Kerr said. “We’re getting after it. That’s pretty much how the defense is run, simple, just read your keys and go get it. That’s pretty much how it is.”

Cornerbacks coach Joe Speed is the only defensive coach in the same role as last year. Defensive line coach Mike Pelton was not retained and replaced by Jerome Riase, safeties coach Andy McCollum was moved to inside linebackers, Shiel Wood was hired to coach the safeties, and Woody is coaching outside linebackers. (Former defensive coordinator Ted Roof coached the linebackers.)

Having the same coach has been a help, Kerr said.

“He kind of translates it, like, this defense, this is how the old defense was similar,” Kerr said. “So he kind of translates it into words we understand and things we already know.”

2. Camp vs. Kerr

The wide receiver who challenges Kerr the most? Jalen Camp.

“We’ve pretty much been going at it, back and forth, iron sharpening iron,” Kerr said. “That’s pretty much how that’s going on right now.”

The two jaw at each other, Kerr said, a conversation that continues off the practice field. The two also are roommates.

“So it’s pretty much 24/7 trash talk all day,” Kerr said.

3. Making a home at nose tackle

Nose tackle Chris Martin is finding his new position a good fit.

“I’m definitely a more agile and explosive type, but it’s also bringing a lot out of my game because I’ve been having to use more power also at nose, having to deal with double teams,” Martin said. “I’ll have to deal with bigger centers, so just working on that and using my quickness and agility has allowed me to make some plays. Just trying to get better every day so I can make some more.”

After recovering from a leg injury suffered in the preseason, Martin played two games last season as a redshirt freshman. Multiple players have praised Martin for his work at nose tackle.

4. Spring-game format

Johnson said the spring-game format likely will follow the same one it has previously: First-string offense and second-string defense on one team and second-string offense and first-string defense on the other.

5. Depth-chart matter

Walk-on Chet Lagod is backing up Kenny Cooper at center. Were Andrew Marshall healthy for spring practice, it might be him.

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