Observations from Georgia Tech’s 10th preseason practice

Georgia Tech’s 10th preseason practice was a session heavy on contact, as the Yellow Jackets donned full pads again Wednesday.

Tech has been designated a 21-point underdog to No. 4 Clemson for both teams’ season opener Sept. 5 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (8 p.m., ESPN). The Jackets will try to break a seven-game losing streak to the Tigers, the longest in team history to Clemson.

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Observations from the portion of practice open to the media:

1. As is standard, the team devoted an early portion of the practice to special teams. On Wednesday, it was placekicking – Jude Kelley again showed a consistent leg, making all of his kicks out to 44 yards – and kickoff coverage.

As different sets of coverage teams sprinted down the field, linebacker Demetrius Knight, defensive back Rodney Shelley and cornerback Kenyatta Watson were the first to make it down the field among their units.

2. In a half-line run drill – the center along with the guard and tackle on one side of the ball with a quarterback and running back lined up against a defensive tackle, end and linebacker – offensive tackle Corey Robinson did an effective job of winning collisions against ends Kyle Kennard and Josh Robinson on successive plays, driving forward to help open space for running backs Dontae Smith and Hassan Hall.

Robinson, a transfer from Kansas who played at Roswell High, is competing with Jakiah Leftwich and Wing Green for a spot in the starting lineup opposite returning starter Jordan Williams.

Offensive line coach Brent Key said Robinson has picked up the offense quickly, “which has allowed him to then hone in on his fundamentals and his techniques and becoming a more complete offensive lineman at a young age and new to our program.”

Defensive tackle Akelo Stone had a highlight, slipping between center Weston Franklin and left guard Paula Vaipulu to blow up a handoff to freshman running back Jamie Felix. Stone is trying to earn a spot in the rotation at defensive tackle.

3. Running backs Dontae Smith, Dylan McDuffie and Hassan Hall continue to rotate their repetitions with the first-string offense, running backs coach Mike Daniels said. McDuffie (Buffalo) and Hall (Louisville) both transferred in with accomplished histories and have challenged Smith, who backed Jahmyr Gibbs and Jordan Mason last season. Daniels said he considers them all No. 1 running backs.

“It just depends on what we’re trying to do,” he said. “If you watch us, we’re in some two-back stuff where you’ve got two running backs in there. I think as far as pecking order, I think we’re still trying to figure that out. They’re all 1′s, so just depending on the situation and what’s going on and who’s hot and what we’re trying to accomplish offensively and who fits that skill set, I think that’s where we’re going.”