September 28, 2009

Jackets get ready for the Bulldogs

The Georgia Tech football held their usual Monday practice for the first time since the week of the Jacksonville State game. The Jackets worked without pads for a little over an hour as they began preparations for their trip to Starkville, MS to face Mississippi State.

"We had our usual Monday practice. We did some correcting and some conditioning and it went okay," Jackets Head Coach Paul Johnson said.

The biggest question coming out of the North Carolina game is who will handle the kicking duties for the game this week. Scott Blair struggled with kickoffs and missed a pair of short field goals on Saturday. Head coach Johnson said no decision has been made about the kicking situation and the players will compete this week for the job.

"We will go through the week open it up and let them compete. We will see who wins the job," Johnson said.

Chris Tanner and Ty Rawlings will be two of the guys competing with Blair for the kicking job. Coach Johnson says he is unsure what the staff can do to help Blair improve his confidence and execution.

"I don't know what we can do as a staff, but we need to find it," he said. "I think Scott has ability and he kicks well at times, but he has been inconsistent. He has to quit thinking so much and let his ability take over. I think it is paralysis by analysis at times. I talked to him about it before. It is like a golfer you cannot change what you are doing on the course. He is out there in the game fidgeting and trying this or that. By the team, you get to that point you have to line it up and kick it. The time to do all that stuff is during the week."

Coach Johnson addressed the ACC-SEC showdown element of the game this week by downplaying the conference rivalry and playing up the competitiveness of Mississippi State.

"Mississippi State has a great ball team and a bunch of good athletes," Johnson said. "They are flying around and playing hard. This is a dangerous game because they got great players who are playing well. They beat LSU up and down the field. It was not a fluke and they should have won the game. They held them to 30 yards rushing and out gained them by over a hundred yards. They could have won the game very easily."

The staff will not make any changes to their routine this week and they will have a normal road week plan in place.

"This schedule has been plenty tough and we have played some good teams the last three games and it will continue. This is our second trip on the road and we did not play so well last time, so hopefully we will play a little better this time," Johnson said. "We have been doing this a long time and I do not think we will change anything. Hopefully we are a little more rested than the last road trip."

Injuries

Backup quarterback Jaybo Shaw was fully cleared for the first time this season for full contact after breaking his collarbone in fall camp. Receiver Tyler Melton was also a full go on Monday coming off a MCL injury. Starting safety Dominique Reese is still battling a shoulder injury, he has not been cleared, and fellow safety Cooper Taylor remains out with an undisclosed injury. Robert Hall is also out with a knee injury.

"Jaybo is back, Melton is back and Dominique was out there. The guy we thought will be back were back," Johnson said.



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