Observations from Georgia Tech’s second preseason practice

Georgia Tech took the field Saturday night at Alexander Rose Bowl Field for its second practice of the preseason. The Yellow Jackets were again in helmets, soft shoulder pads and shorts as they progress through the NCAA-mandated acclimatization protocol.

Observations from the portion of the practice open to media:

1. Near the start of the practice, players were going through warm-up drills by position. The defensive backs worked on interceptions, breaking forward and trying to bring in passes thrown at them by secondary coach Travares Tillman.

A player dropped one of the passes, and Tillman lit into him, loudly emphasizing that those balls have to be caught. (For various reasons, Jackets defensive backs had one interception all of last season.)

At the end of the period, Tillman delivered a salty exhortation for the group to pick up the energy level.

Both messages could well be interpreted as the team’s emphasis on raising its attention to detail, a phrase that was repeated often in interviews during Saturday’s media day.

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2. Wide receiver Kalani Norris was a standout in passing drills, using his quickness to get himself in the clear for receptions. Against cornerback Myles Sims, a sharp cut got him open for an on-target back-shoulder throw from quarterback Jeff Sims. Norris caught eight passes last year for 134 yards, three of which went for touchdowns.

3. Jeff Sims threw well, at one point whistling a pass to receiver Nate McCollum in the seam perhaps 30 yards downfield. The pass was on target, but McCollum couldn’t bring it in cleanly, enabling safety Jaylon King to jar the ball loose. Sims also had a well-timed throw to wide receiver E.J. Jenkins on a 10-yard route (Jenkins may have gotten away with a push-off against Myles Sims), with the ball arriving as Jenkins turned back for the ball.

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4. Among the visitors to the Saturday night practice (besides a downpour that chased the team into the indoor practice facility) were Tech legend and new radio analyst Joe Hamilton and a scout from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.