Observations from Georgia Tech’s first preseason practice

August 5, 2022 Atlanta - Georgia Tech's quarterback Taisun Phommachanh (17) throws a ball during the first football practice of the season at Rose Bowl Field on Georgia Tech Campus in Atlanta on Friday, August 5, 2022. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

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August 5, 2022 Atlanta - Georgia Tech's quarterback Taisun Phommachanh (17) throws a ball during the first football practice of the season at Rose Bowl Field on Georgia Tech Campus in Atlanta on Friday, August 5, 2022. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

On a pleasant August night, Georgia Tech ushered in the preseason of its 130th season on Friday. Geared in helmets, soft shoulder pads and shorts, the Yellow Jackets began preparations for the season opener, to be played exactly a month from Friday against Clemson in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

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Observations from the periods which media were permitted to observe:

1. One of several players making his debut on the practice field, wide receiver E.J. Jenkins was a physically impressive figure. Jenkins, a transfer from South Carolina, is listed at 6-foot-7 and 243 pounds, and looked every bit of it.

In a one-on-one drill, he was unable to bring in two passes, but on his third repetition, he drove downfield against tight coverage from cornerback Kenan Johnson before breaking to the sideline, where he was able to use his size and height to bring in a pinpoint pass from another newcomer, quarterback Taisun Phommachanh, previously of Clemson.

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2. In the same drill, freshman receiver D.J. Moore made a quick maneuver at the line to get past cornerback Ahmari Harvey to get open downfield. On the defensive side, safety Jalen Huff effectively covered receiver Jamal Haynes on a route to prevent a completion.

3. Freed of his position-coaching responsibilities, defensive coordinator Andrew Thacker led a drill for the safeties while secondary coach Travares Tillman worked with the cornerbacks.

While coach Geoff Collins made the change to relieve Thacker of his duties coaching the linebackers in order to devote his energies to game planning and overseeing the defense, being able to help Tillman coach the secondary would seem something of a benefit, as Tillman’s position group is much larger than those that other assistants supervise. Tillman also has help from Collins, who often runs drills with the defensive backs, and new graduate assistant Kenny Lucky.

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Georgia Tech’s head coach Geoff Collins instructs during the first football practice of the season at Rose Bowl Field on Georgia Tech Campus in Atlanta on Friday, August 5, 2022. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Georgia Tech’s head coach Geoff Collins instructs during the first football practice of the season at Rose Bowl Field on Georgia Tech Campus in Atlanta on Friday, August 5, 2022. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Combined ShapeCaption
Georgia Tech’s head coach Geoff Collins instructs during the first football practice of the season at Rose Bowl Field on Georgia Tech Campus in Atlanta on Friday, August 5, 2022. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC