Quarterback Tevin Washington and the rest of the Yellow Jackets have two weeks of preseason practice left before their Sept. 3 opener at Virginia Tech.
ATLANTA — The mantra has been “9/3” throughout the two weeks of preseason practice as Georgia Tech targets the season-opening date of Sept. 3 at Virginia Tech. Training Camp officially ended Saturday morning with the team’s second scrimmage, and now preparations for the Hokies can begin next week.
“The guys are ready to play someone else,” said senior QB Tevin Washington following the approximately 90-play scrimmage at Bobby Dodd Stadium. “We’ve been hitting each other for two weeks and all summer doing drills against each other. Guys are just ready to go and get some new faces in front of us.”
The scrimmage’s first series saw redshirt freshman LB Jabari Hunt-Days make a stop on third-and-five to halt the drive, but Broderick Snoddy, put the offense on the board quickly on the second series by breaking off a 70-yard touchdown run.
Redshirt freshman QB Vad Lee and sophomore running back B.J. Bostic had a pair of hook-ups Saturday, with Lee hitting Bostic for an 11-yard touchdown on third-and-three and later finding a leaping Bostic for 28 yards over the middle to set up another touchdown.
Lee enjoyed a solid morning both on the ground and through the air for the Jackets. He busted loose down the right sideline for a 38-yard gain to get a drive started. Snoddy picked up seven on a key third-and-five, and Lee capped the series with a 10-yard score up the middle.
“I felt like I could have thrown the ball better; it wasn’t my best performance throwing the ball,” Lee said. “I’m just ready to get back to the grind of practice next week and get with those receivers and work hard and keep throwing it.”
Sophomore Synjyn Days and freshman Justin Thomas also took snaps at quarterback, and each led scoring drives. Days ran 16 yards to begin a series, picked up eight on a third-and-three and finished the drive with a one-yard score.
Thomas connected with sophomore WR Jeff Greene for 41 yards down the left sideline, but the defense came up with a stand on third down with Coray Carlson and Chris Crenshaw flushing Thomas from the pocket to force an incomplete pass. Junior Justin Moore then booted a 29-yard field goal.
Backup kicker David Scully, however, converted a 31-yard field goal earlier in the scrimmage, and the junior was good on all five of his extra-point attempts.
Sophomore RB Matt Connors and freshman RB Dennis Andrews each had short touchdown runs late in the scrimmage.
Another highlight defensively was a Nick Menocal interception of Thomas, and the sophomore linebacker nearly brought the turnover back for a touchdown. On the very next series, redshirt freshman DL Jimmie Kitchen recovered a fumble. Sophomore DL Anthony Williams was in on two sacks, and junior DB Jemea Thomas of Fitzgerald snuffed out a screen pass on third-and-long, tackling WR Darren Waller for no gain to halt another early drive.
“Overall everything has been good,” Washington said. “We’ve been pushing each other. The seniors are the core group of the team and we’re trying to lead and push those younger guys and trying to get them ready mentally for what’s coming. We still have some steps to take to get ready mentally for game speed. But we’re ready to go.”
The Yellow Jackets have today off, and resume practice Monday — the first day of classes in the fall semester at Tech.
TECH GETS VOTES IN AP POLL, BUT NOT RANKED: Georgia Tech was recognized in another preseason poll Saturday, with the Associated Press’ release of its first Top 25 of the 2012 season. The Jackets were sixth among “others receiving votes,” trailing Notre Dame, Washington, Auburn, North Carolina and Utah. Tech also received votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll that was released earlier in August.
In this week’s Sports Illustrated, the publication had the Jackets tabbed No. 20.
UGA PRACTICES IN FULL PADS, THEN TAKES PART IN “FAN DAY”: Before the annual Fans Picture Days Saturday, sixth-ranked Georgia held a 90-minute workout in full pads.
Afterward, Bulldog head coach Mark Richt said he has been pleased with the recent practice sessions after being concerned about how the team looked last week in a scrimmage. Saturday marked the 18th out of 29 preseason practices for the Bulldogs.
“The last two days, they have responded; I shortened practice a bit (Saturday) as we’ve got picture day,” Richt said. “We had a lot of family members out there so that probably helped how they practiced. With people watching, practice is usually better. It’s a great day for the Bulldog Nation with picture day, the fans get to meet not just football players but all the sports are involved — and (our mascot) Russ too.”
The Associated Press Top 25 was released Saturday, and like the USA Today coaches poll, which was released Aug. 2, the Bulldogs debuted at No. 6. USC starts off at No. 1 followed by Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma and Oregon in the AP preseason top five.
“It’s good that people feel that way about us but we’ve got a long way to go and a lot to prove,” Richt said. “The reality of college football is that there’s a vote who decides who goes where so it’s important.”
Cross-training at different positions continues at practice as the Bulldogs aim to develop depth. For example, on the offensive line Saturday, junior guard Mark Beard got some work at tackle, while junior tackle Austin Long saw action at guard.
“It’s something that coach (Will) Friend wanted to take a look at; he wanted to see Beard on the edge because he’s athletic and then give Long a chance to see what he could do inside,” Richt said. “From what I saw, Mark showed the ability to handle it, and we’ll check the film and evaluate how they did.”
Georgia will play host to Buffalo in the season opener Sept. 1 at 12:21 p.m., and the game will be televised live by the SEC Network.