After Georgia Tech’s fifth practice of the preseason Wednesday, running backs coach Tashard Choice was not quite inspired by what he saw during the morning workout.
Choice said that he was bothered “because I hate the fact that we make mistakes. We’ve got to be great. I want to win. I’m tired of losing. I’m tired of being where we’ve been at.”
One instance of the Yellow Jackets practicing below their peak happened midway through the practice during a 7-on-7 red-zone drill at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Players were called to gather around coach Geoff Collins, which normally happens only before the start of a drill. The address lasted a few minutes. To Choice, the message was to practice with a sense of urgency.
“When you go to an NFL practice and you see 7-on-7 in the red zone, it’s a real deal,” said Choice, a former Tech player who played six seasons in the NFL. “It’s guys competing because you don’t know if you’re going home that day (because you’ve been cut). So, for them to understand that and get that mindset now of how important – on Day 3 or Day 4, red zone – how important that is for when we’re in December and we’re in the red zone against Georgia, that’s going to be important.”
In the practice, players were not in pads, instead practicing in T-shirts, shorts and helmets. A number of the drills were conducted at a slower pace. The team’s first full-pads practice is scheduled for Thursday. A drop in intensity level could be understood, although evidently not tolerated.
Choice was appreciative of Collins addressing the players in the drill “because the sense of urgency that (Collins) has, to understand the talent that we have, the opportunity that we have this year to go compete, that’s all you can ask for. But how you put in the work is going to pay dividends on wins and losses in certain situations.”
At the start of the preseason, Collins praised his team for its increased maturity and focus. His words Wednesday morning were perhaps a reminder of the need to meet the higher standard.
“If you can understand the sense of urgency and have that mindset of, Hey, whenever I get on the football field, it’s got to be like a game situation – that’s how he treats it,” Choice said. “And I think that’s the only way you can.”