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Georgia Tech Football: 2015 Media Day

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After the first scrimmage for the 2015 Georgia Tech football team, eight players and Paul Johnson met with media to answer questions about the upcoming season and how things have looked so far for the Jackets.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Trey Braun

Full Audio: TreyBraun.0.aif

Highlights:

Trey Braun was a fantastic interview as always. He's very vocal and descriptive and is definitely a guy that's going to step up this season as one of the leaders of the locker room.

  • Braun said the biggest challenge of the first scrimmage and early practices is everyone getting into football shape. He said it's the biggest indicator early of how the team is working
  • When asked about last year's success, Braun was quick to note that last year means nothing this year.
  • Braun said the offensive line as a whole has a goal to lead the nation in rushing and third down efficiency. He said he doesn't have personal goals, but only goals with the entire offensive line.
  • Braun said it does hurt to lose Mason, but they can't focus on what they lost with him, but have to focus on picking it up and working as a unit. He thinks there are some capable guys to fill in at right guard. He tells them they don't have to fill in Shaq's shoes at right guard - just do their job and the unit will work.
  • As a leader of the team now, Braun talked about reaching out to the young guys and trying to motivate them in practice even if they aren't getting the reps they may want.
  • When asked about how he felt with 18 seconds left in the UGA game, Braun said he and the team felt supremely confident they would get the job done and that he felt bad for fans in the stands that had to watch instead of being on the field.

Tyler Marcordes

Full Audio: TylerMarcordes.0.aif

Highlights:

  • Marcordes stated that he'd be in the same role at middle linebacker he was in last year behind Quayshawn Nealy, except he'll be taking over that starting role this season.
  • He said the phrase the defense is using so far this year is "fast, physical, together."
  • When asked about the turnovers forced last year, Marcordes said that's absolutely something they work on every day in practice and preach repeatedly.
  • Freshman B-Backs have surprised him so far.
  • Marcordes said that the freshman class seems less scared than most he has seen, and that they're flying around the field making plays.

Errin Joe

Full Audio: ErrinJoe.0.aif

Highlights:

Much like Braun, Joe displays a large amount of leadership and vocal confidence in the team and himself. With the loss of Shaq Mason, it's important to have veteran lineman to pick up the load he left.

  • Joe said he thought it was the best first scrimmage he's seen since he was at Tech.
  • When talking about the scrimmage, Joe said he thought the line played well, but was one block/assignment/etc. away from making a big play. He said they have to play as 5 and not as 1. If one guy doesn't do their job, it makes the whole line look bad. He was impressed by Will Bryan.
  • Coach Ray gave the offensive line the goal to lead the nation in rushing. He put the old plaque of leading the nation in rushing on top of the door in the O-Line room.

Adam Gotsis

Full Audio: AdamGotsis.0.aif

Highlights:

  • Gotsis said the scrimmage was a fun. He thinks the defensive line is really coming along and that they are 8 or 9 deep unlike last year.
  • Talking about Jabari Hunt-Days, Gotsis said he believes he still has a lot of learning to do but has a ton of talent. He said he has a huge motor and is always going to be there to make the big play.
  • Gotsis said Francis Kallon had originally struggled to learn new concepts and was overweight early in his career. He now said he's dropped over 30 pounds and is working hard with 2-a-days and focusing on the little things - has come a long way.
  • He praised Coach Pelton for putting in a lot of hours over the summer to watch film and learn new techniques.

Jamal Golden

Full Audio: JamalGolden.0.aif

Highlights:

  • Golden said he felt like the old man now. He looks and sees Coach Sylvester - a guy he used to play with - and know he's old.
  • Golden talked about all of his roles with the team, but he said any play he can make to help Georgia Tech get the win, that's the play that satisfies him.
  • He noted Marcus Marshall and Mikell Lands-Davis as guys that he's been very impressed with.
  • Golden said he's seeing the most competition on the offensive side of the ball that he's ever seen at Tech. He hasn't noticed any difference in the ability of the offense despite all of the new players.
  • When asked about the return game struggles last season, Golden said they're working hard to get the fundamentals back down. He credited the blockers for getting all the credit when he's able to make a nice return. "They make my job easy."
  • Golden was another defensive player to mention turnovers and how much the defense emphasizes it in practice. He said it's something they talk about every single day.
  • Golden said the defense is much more experiences and the game is going to move a little slower for them. Despite the experience, he said they still work as hard as if everything were new to them.
  • When asked about looking forward to the Georgia game, Golden completely dismissed it and said they're only looking at Alcorn State. He said they'll get their time for Georgia eventually.

Broderick Snoddy

Full Audio: BroderickSnoddy.0.aif

Highlights:

  • Snoddy said he's feeling good physically.
  • When asked about the young backs, he said they're looking good and playing hard.
  • Snody mentioned that he's working hard to try to become a leader. He also said he's worked hard on running routes and trying to always be in the right spot at the right time.
  • When asked about blocking, Snoddy said he believes blocking as a back or a receiver is more of a mental challenge than physical.
  • Snoddy said that cutting had been a challenge early in his rehab, but that he thinks it's come back to him completely now. He said he felt better after he got those first few hits over with.
  • D.J. White

    Full Audio: D.J.White.0.aif

    Highlights:

    • The first question to White was, of course, about the pick. White said all the replays were flattering and he takes no offense to it, but it does come up a lot.
    • White said the team goal on defense was just getting off of the field on third down. He said they're aiming for 50% or better in practice.
    • White once again mentioned how important turnovers were to the defense. He - like the others - said that the defense starts practice every day with takeaway drills at different stations to practice ways to take away the ball. He said he thinks it's twofold, because the defense have a lot of guys who really like to take away the ball and it fits them.
    • He praised Step Durham and how much talent he has. He said if he can get down a few more mental aspects of cornerback that he will be a force for years to come.
    • White also praised the freshman class much like Marcordes.
    • White said he thought Justin Thomas looked even better and is working through his progressions better.
    • Him and Chris Milton are aiming to be the best cornerback duo out there.
    • White talked about how excited he was about going to Notre Dame and how big of a game that was.

    Justin Thomas

    Full Audio: JustinThomas.0.aif

    Highlights:

    • Thomas said the scrimmage had some ups and downs and that first scrimmages have always been the way they were today.
    • He said he thinks all the backs are doing fine, they just have to adjust to each other and everyone has to work on getting their assignments done.
    • Thomas said he feels confident in the offensive line and feels protected. He thinks Shaq's replacement will fill in fine.
    • When asked about going from the hunter to the hunted, Thomas said they won't change anything at all. They will play within themselves, control the ball on offense, and make stops on defense.
    • Thomas said he thinks Michael Summers and Ricky Jeune have stepped up a lot and are playing with confidence. He said they're gonna be the go-to guys. He mentioned other guys are stepping up behind them too including Antonio Messick and Brad Stewart.
    • Thomas said he knows where the guys should be at and when they'll be there. He thinks he can sit in the pocket a little longer and feel confident before he goes and does what he does.
    • Thomas said when things aren't going their way, they need to find somebody who will step up and make something happen, that's who they're looking for in camp and scrimmages right now.
    • When asked about leadership, Thomas said he leads by example on the field. If he sees something that needs to be corrected, he talks to them 1-on-1 and asks them what they see. He said that's what he's done so far, and it's been working.

    Paul Johnson

    Full Audio: PaulJohnson.0.aif

    Highlights:

    • Johnson said the first scrimmage looked like a first scrimmage - some good, some bad. They ran 109 plays, everyone played, and they only had one turnover. He said it went about how you'd think, but he was disappointed with veteran offensive line who had five penalties in six series.
    • Johnson made a funny comment saying "nobody hit anyone hard enough to injure anyone in scrimmage."
    • When talking about injuries, Johnson said Nathan Cottrell had a serious injury but he could not comment on the details. *Note - I saw Cottrell at fan day with a brace on his right knee.*
    • Johnson said he thought Marcus Marshall did some good things in the scrimmage and has caught his eye in camp.
    • Johnson confirmed that Matthew Jordan has moved from quarterback to A-Back. He said he'll get the chance to see the field there instead of never seeing the field at quarterback.
    • Continuing to show displeasure with the OL, Johnson said he needs to see more leadership from the OL group, they've played a lot and need to show it more than they have been.
    • Johnson said the freshman class has some really great athletes in it. Some are lost, but it's expected. He said some of these guys have a chance to play, especially at skill positions.
    • Johnson praised Brad Stewart saying he really adjusts to the ball great. He's excited about him and is everything he thought he was, but he needs to get a bit more physical.
    • When asked about other guys commenting on the defensive line looking really good, Johnson said he didn't see anything special in DL in the scrimmage. "Gotsis is a good player, makes plays. JHD is quick, but did some things that'll get him killed against better players."
    • Talking about the defense, Johnson said they won the Orange Bowl by 2 TD's, but also set a record for most passing yards against and total yards against. "We can't live like that forever, guys have to make plays."
    • Johnson said he thinks Justin Thomas got better every game. He started like the team, just okay. He's fast, quick, competitive, and as he got comfortable, he made more plays and as he got healthy. He said he did have a lot of experience around him last year. He probably didn't play particularly well this morning, but his particularly well is a lot better than most. He's very critical of himself.
    • Johnson said Marcus Allen tries to do things the right way, and he works hard. He said he's in a battle.
    • Johnson said Patrick Skov has done some nice things. He's a big physical guy who looks better in 11 on 11. Freshman may look better in shorts with footwork and quickness, but he will look better once in the game.
    • Johnson said Qua Searcy has done some things well. He's very athletic, quick with the ball, good receiver. He will definitely play a bunch and will be in the AB rotation.
    • Johnson looked displeased and said the right guard position is a work in progress. "Kind way to say it."

    A note from watching: Paul Johnson and Justin Thomas did not seem very pleased with how the scrimmage went. They both seemed disappointed.

    Fan Day:

    Fan Day had a huge turnout. I only planned on walking in and looking at the turnout, but an interesting story started to develop there. Christian Campbell's family surprised him at the event, along with Christian's younger brother, Donavaughn Campbell. Donavaughn is 6'4", 350 lbs. and is the #3 ranked offensive guard in the nation and is currently committed to LSU. Georgia Tech had worked hard to get him, and some people seem to think there's a good chance Donavaughn could flip his commitment to play with his brother since LSU didn't offer Christian. Donavaughn did meet with coaches and his brother was present before fan day. Donavaughn was walking around fan day with some friends and was wearing a Georgia Tech Football Camp t-shirt. Nothing is confirmed yet, but Donavaughn switching to Tech would easily be the biggest signing in the Jackets in quite some time.