Observations from Georgia Tech’s 12th preseason practice

Georgia Tech reached the penultimate day of the camp portion of the preseason Friday morning, as the Yellow Jackets went through a light practice at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Saturday’s closed scrimmage will bring the camp to an end, after which players and coaches will begin preparing specifically for No. 4 Clemson, Tech’s opponent in the Sept. 5 season opener at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (8 p.m., ESPN).

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Observations from the portion of the practice open to media.

1. As was the case with Thursday’s practice, the practice was a rehearsal for Friday practices once the season begins. A light day by design, players were outfitted in soft shoulder pads and shorts and went through some of the workout without helmets. A key part of the Friday schedule is a period dedicated to going over plays to be used in the game, during which the offense and defense split up. With coaches, backups and staff serving as members of the opposing team, players ran a series of plays for roughly 20 minutes.

The day’s simulation was to extend even to a Friday-night stay at the team hotel before the Jackets’ scrimmage Saturday.

2. Coach Geoff Collins led a short period for special teams to simulate game situations, going so far as having the entire team congregate on the home sideline. From there, he summoned the kickoff team onto the field and then, after the 11 players lined up at their spots, he called out specific players as “down,” or unavailable, a preparation to make sure the backups for the starters were paying attention.

The sub for that player then sprinted from the sideline onto the field, calling out the starter’s name as the starter sprinted off yelling by name for the sub. The exercise was repeated for the punt and kickoff return teams.

3. Walk-on offensive lineman Joe Fusile appears to remain in the mix at guard. Offensive-line coach Brent Key has continued to shuffle players in his fivesomes as he tries to settle on a starting group. Fusile, a redshirt freshman from Richmond Hill High, did not play last season in his first year on the team. Key said that Fusile, listed at 6-foot-6 and 316 pounds, had asserted himself in the preseason.

“On offensive line, you want big, strong guys, and he’s that,” Key said. “You want tough guys, he’s that. You want smart guys, and he’s smart. He’s extremely smart. He doesn’t make mistakes. He’s a strong, strong kid, and he’s worked himself into that position to compete for a starting job.”

Other possibilities at guard include returnee Paula Vaipulu and transfers Paul Tchio (Clemson) and Pierce Quick (Alabama).