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T-DAY NOTEBOOK: Ex-Deerfield star Zenon turns heads in Ga. Tech's spring game

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ATLANTA -- Tony Zenon is officially in the building.

And Saturday, during Georgia Tech's annual T-Day spring game, the former Deerfield-Windsor star running back and 2009 Albany Herald John Reynolds Player of the Year made his presence felt.

When Tech coach Paul Johnson was asked about some of the more unsung players that had caught his eye Saturday, one name quickly reeled off was Zenon, the Yellow Jackets' redshirt freshman A-Back.

"I think Tony Zenon can make some things happen," Johnson said. "He's a guy we've got to try to find a way to use some."

Zenon saw limited action Saturday, running for 22 yards on two carries.

However, the amount of time he spent on the field -- including fielding several punts, even though there were no returns under the rules of the scrimmage -- suggest Johnson may eventually find a way to thrust Zenon into the action if he continues his progression into the fall.

"I just try to play hard," Zenon said after the game. "Every time I go out there, I try to play full speed and try to do my assignment. I think that's the main thing I have to work on -- my blocking. Even though I didn't get too many touches, I got a chance to work on my blocking. So, I'm glad I got a chance to do that."

Zenon, an architectural engineering major at Tech, finished his senior season at DWS with 244 carries for 2,264 yards -- an average of 9.28 yards per carry -- and had 27 rushing touchdowns. For his career, Zenon had 5,684 rushing yards on 650 carries and 65 TDs.

Zenon led Deerfield to the GISA Class AAA State Championship in 2008 and a runner-up finish in 2009, his final season. He also had offers from Georgia Southern and Marshall out of high school.

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DOES DAYS GAIN UPPER HAND IN TECH'S QB QUANDARY?

Synjyn Days or Tevin Washington? That is the question.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Days, of Powder Springs, took the early lead in the QB battle for Georgia Tech on Saturday when he rushed for 112 yards -- on 24 carries -- and accounted for two touchdowns, leading the Gold past the White. Days was 2-of-7 passing for 46 yards.

Days gave the Gold a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when he connected with sophomore B.J. Bostic on an 11-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. He also scored the only touchdown of the second half, a one-yard TD plunge in the third quarter.

The White pulled to within 14-7 in the second quarter when junior quarterback Washington, who directed the first-team offense, scored on a 15-yard run.

Five turnovers -- three interceptions thrown by Washington, a Wetumpka, Ala, native, and two lost fumbles -- were costly for the White.

The Gold team beat the White team, 21-7.

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GEORGIA TECH'S OFFENSIVE LINE STRUGGLES IN SPRING GAME: While most eyes were understandably on the battles for starting jobs at quarterback and B-Back this spring, a bigger concern for Johnson and the offensive coaches was the play of the offensive line.

Those concerns remain after Saturday's T-Day game, especially with only three starters -- Omoregie Uzzi, Will Jackson and Phil Smith -- returning from a unit that led the nation in rushing offense last season.

But it was the pass protection that remains No. 1 on list of concerns, especially after quarterbacks Washington, Days and Darryl Dickey were sacked a total five times Saturday, and faced persistent pressure every time they dropped back to pass.

"I don't know. We'll find out when we play somebody else," Johnson said when asked about the offensive line. "I'm concerned about the offensive line. That would be an understatement."

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GETTING HIS KICKS?:

With the graduation of three-year starter Scott lair, the race for Tech's starting placekicking job is wide open heading into the fall.

That means the opportunity for redshirt junior walk-on Chris Tanner is as good as any.

"Oh, definitely," Tanner said Saturday after the T-Day game. "Right now, we don't really have a lineup, per se, of who's first, second, third or whatever. There going to put the guy out there they think is the most consistent. Right now, that's may only goal -- to be consistent."

The Norcross grad is competing with sophomore Justin Malone and several other walk-ons for the job, an important one considering Blair with Tech's highest single-season and career field goal percentage and as the Jackets' fifth all-time leading scorer with 239 points.

"I've been working really hard," said Tanner, who is perfect on 14 PAT attempts in his career. "The main thing is, when you get an opportunity to go out there, that you make your kicks. Right now, my goal is to work hard from now until we get to fall camp ... and make the most of my opportunity."

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GREEN MISSES T-DAY GAME:

Collins Hill's Charles Perkins was the highest-profile Gwinnett grad at Georgia Tech's spring practice over the last month due to his competition for the open spot as the starting B-Back.

But Grayson grad Shawn Green had also begun to raise his profile with his play on an increasingly deep defensive line.

However, the 6-foot, 270-pound redshirt freshman was dealt a setback when he suffered a fracture to a bone in his lower leg during a practice session earlier in the week, forcing him to miss Saturday's T-Day spring game at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Still, Yellow Jackets head coach Paul Johnson was pleased with the progress Green had been making, and is confident he will be able to pick up where he left off and challenge for playing time behind upperclassmen like Logan Walls and T.J. Barnes when preseason begins in August.

"He should be all right for fall camp," Johnson said of Green. "He's should be OK in August."

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Information from ramblinwreck.cstv.com was used in this report