Heading into his junior season at Georgia Tech, center Jay Finch knows he is the anchor for the Jackets offensive line and after playing much of the 2011 season ill, he has been working hard to get ready for the grind of 2012. Finch's hard work is paying off since he was named to the Rimington Award watch list which is the award given to the nation's top center.
"I know the coaches want me to be the anchor for the line and I feel like I am the anchor in the middle, but everyone is accountable for their spot. As a line we all know when we mess something up and we use that to drive each other to it right. When it comes to game time you don't get a second chance, you have to get it right the first time around," Finch said.
The Jackets are deep at the offensive tackle and guard positions, but the backup center position has been a concern since Finch became the starter. Ray Beno, Nick McRae and Catlin Alford worked as the backup center in the spring and Alford is expected to be the primary number two center and Finch is trying to take Alford under his wing to prepare him to play this fall if necessary.
"I'm getting used to the term 'old head' and I don't have any gray hairs yet, I have been here and done my time. I hope I can be the mentor for Catlin that Sean Bedford was for me," Finch said. "That is all I can hope for and be maybe even better as a mentor. It is weird being the older guy now because I always felt like the young one since I played earlier. I guess they say time flies when you are having fun and now I am in my third season and I am anxious to get it started again and get through fall camp."
During the spring Finch played without either starting guard, Omoregie Uzzi (missed spring with knee and ankle issues) and Will Jackson (injured a week into spring practice), so Finch worked with Trey Braun mostly at left guard and Shaq Mason at right guard. Finch says Coach Sewak wants the offensive line to be more comfortable rotating linemen since offensive line depth will be one of the strengths for the 2012 squad. Finch probably the only locked in starter on the entire offensive line heading into fall camp.
"It was different, but it was something we have been working on, getting it where everyone has the same good chemistry. It may be like that all year and we don't know who will be starting where this fall," Finch said. "We will just do the best we can with what we got."
Chemistry is a concept brought up by a lot of the Jacket linemen and Finch says something former co-offensive line coach Todd Spencer said sticks in his mind about the 2012 line.
"Coach Spencer used to talk about the Denver Broncos Super Bowl teams and how they had these small offensive lines that came from smaller colleges but played with great chemistry. I am not comparing us to those great Bronco teams, but I think we have that type of chemistry on the offensive line," he said. "Maybe we can have the same results they did."