June 2, 2009

Yellow Jackets offense improved for '09

Georgia Tech quarterbacks and b-backs coach Brian Bohannon was a lot happier at the conclusion of spring practices than he was in 2008. The quarterback play of Josh Nesbitt, Jaybo Shaw and Tevin Washington was a drastic improvement over the sessions held during the bowl week. Overall, Bohannon says the players are buying into his fundamentals first approach to the offense.

"Each time we go out there these guys are trying to get better," he said. "There are things we talk about every morning when we meet. I tell them on Saturday mornings, let us take care of the ball and play with great effort. They need to get better at the things I talk to each of them about individually to get better. There have been days where I wrote each of their numbers on the board and wrote one or two things by it that they have to get accomplished to get better at. We need to get better at the fundamentals of the game and play the game the way we want to play it."

Spring practice and the first weeks of fall camp are fundamental heavy because once the season begins there is not enough time to prepare for both an opponent and to teach or practice all of the base fundamentals of head coach Paul Johnson's offense.

"Once you get into the season you hone in on your next opponent so we worked on getting some of those fundamental things solidified," Bohannon said. "We made a lot of progress in both the quarterback and B-back positions this spring. The question is whether it will carry over into the summer when they are working on their own. If they can make the same progress over the summer that they did this spring we will be in good shape going into the fall."

With a pair of recruiting classes under their belts, the Georgia Tech coaching staff finally has some depth and quality players to rotate onto the field. Systematically in fall camp, the coaches will decide how and when they are going to rotate some of their talented players into the game.

"We have a system and you try to get all eleven guys on offense on the same page. You would hope to get to a point where the guys know enough to step in and execute the offense. That is really what I talk to the quarterbacks about. You are not trying to make a play every time you touch the ball it is about executing the offense. Your plays will come if you execute within the offense. I think we have gotten better at that."

The fumbles and miscommunication errors that plagued the offense last year should also be a thing of the past. The goal the coaches have for the players is that they are able to execute the offense without thinking. The quarterbacks' reads should be automatic and fluid rather than somewhat deliberate like they were at times last year.

"I think the kids have a better level of understanding what we are trying to do and the speed of what we are trying to do," he said. "I think you see guys out there playing faster and more the speed we want because they are not thinking about every little thing, especially the guys who played last year. The big thing is that they understand our expectations and the speed at which we practice. Last spring it was a total change of mentality. That was the biggest part for us more than X's and O's. That was the toughest part and that has been huge."

Overall heading into the fall, Bohannon feels that the mental battle is finally being won. Team speed has increased on the field and that should translate to more victories on the football field in the fall.

"What we pride ourselves on is that we do some many repetitions of the same thing that those guys get good at what they do and they can play fast," Bohannon said. "That is one thing we talk about a lot, playing fast. There is no question that last spring, fall camp and part of the year we thinking a lot. The thing goes on a lot faster than in the afternoon than it does sometimes during practice. Things move faster, so I think we have grown a bunch and made a lot of improvements. We are not home yet, but we have made a lot of improvements and I am encouraged by the improvement we have. We just have to continue on that path."

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