ATLANTA--- Mother Nature didn't wait long to give Georgia Tech Head Coach Paul Johnson a reason to go inside their new indoor practice facility. On the second day of fall camp, the Jackets were forced indoors for over half of practice due to lightning in the area.
"We sure did [test the indoor facility]," Johnson said. "When it was lightning and the rain was coming down hard we walked 30 yards and were inside. It is a great facility and building and it has everything we need. We had tons of room and it was a big plus for us. Half of our practice we were in and half we were out. It was good and we can transition between periods."
For the last few months and the first few days of camp, Coach Johnson has praised the attitude and team chemistry the 2011 team has shown so far.
"I have been really encouraged by the way they have practiced the attitude, the enthusiasm and all that. We will see when we start playing the games. That is when it really counts," Johnson said. "As I told them after practice, I am really encouraged with what I have seen."
Unity and team are the two concepts Coach Johnson has really pushed on the 2011 team and he has seen what he is looking for through the first few practices and during summer workouts.
"I think this team genuinely likes each other and wants to get better," he said. "They seem to get along, have a great attitude and they are working hard. That is all you can ask as a coach."
Compared to 2010, the team chemistry seems better, but Coach Johnson is trying to be cautious by how excited he gets about it.
"We had good kids last year, but the chemistry just wasn't there," he said. "We will see how it goes here. You can still not play well, but right now there is a good togetherness, there is focus and the guys are hungry to play. We have guys who want to play."
The A-back position is probably the deepest position on the team heading into the 2011 season with three seniors, Roddy Jones, Embry Peeples and Marcus Wright, one junior Orwin Smith, one sophomore B.J. Bostic and two redshirt freshmen Deon Hill and Tony Zenon as well as true freshman Broderick Snoddy all vying for playing time this fall. .Add the mix talented walk-on Robbie Godhigh and Coach Johnson has a wealth of options at A-back.
"The only new guy at A-back is Broderick Snoddy, the rest of the guys were there in the spring. Tong Zenon, Deon Hill, B.J. Bostic and all those guys are pushing the guys who has played a lot so you have great competition," Johnson said. "I think the competition will continue at that position regardless of injuries. We have enough numbers there."
Coach Johnson lauded the incoming freshmen class that just arrived this past June for their level of talent and competitiveness.
"At most positions the competition will be pretty good. We have more depth at most than we have had. There are a few spots that are still thin, but we have a lot of good competition and a lot of the young guys are going to push. The freshman class is pretty talented," he said.
The three freshmen wide receivers, Corey Dennis, Darren Waller and Jeff Greene are all getting a taste of playing time out of the gate according to Coach Johnson.
"We are working all three freshmen wide receivers with the first and second groups and we will evaluate them when we put the pads on," he said. "We are encouraged by what we have seen."
Through two days of practice, freshman linebacker Tremayne McNair (ankle) remains the only Yellow Jacket sidelined by injuries.