Gary Crowton and his assistants are less than eight days away from their Georgia Tech opener, but are undoubtedly quite familiar with the Yellow Jackets. "> Gary Crowton and his assistants are less than eight days away from their Georgia Tech opener, but are undoubtedly quite familiar with the Yellow Jackets. ">

Crowton Eyes Georgia Tech; the Game is Afoot

Turning their attention from "us" to "them," BYU head coach <b>Gary Crowton</b> and his assistants are less than eight days away from their Georgia Tech opener, but are undoubtedly quite familiar with the Yellow Jackets.

No one on the BYU sideline is more knowledgeable about the Yellow Jackets than Crowton himself. In 1994, he was hired as the co-offensive coordinator at Georgia Tech, where his offense led the Yellow Jackets to a No. 21 national ranking in his first and only season in Atlanta.

In what has to be the understatement of the day, Crowton said, "well you know, I've watched some Georgia Tech tape."

In fact, he said, "we went through the short yardage and goal line offensively – and defensively we're looking at some other things in our blitz package. I feel like the coaches are starting to prepare a little bit for that, but we are still trying to establish who's there from our own team; what they can do; how much we can use him; who's healthy; and those kinds of things. But we're getting into Georgia Tech real quick."

After Wednesday's practice, BYU coaches will be fully engaged in preparing for what they feel will be the offensive and defensive looks they may see from Georgia Tech.

"We really only have one more practice that will not be Georgia Tech (specific)," said Crowton. "Tomorrow, we will introduce our scout team. We won't do too much, but after Wednesday night everything is Georgia Tech and I'm excited that we are getting after that."

In the final week of fall practice, coaches will be studying, evaluating and devising their respective chess match moves to prepare for and counter possible tactics, plays and players Georgia Tech will throw at them.

"When you go into the first part of the season, you don't really know your opponent very well, especially because you're not in the same league as Georgia Tech. We played them last year, but we don't really know them very well. They've made some changes offensively in their coaches. Defensively, I've heard they're doing some different things than they did last year and they're a bit more aggressive.

"So we're going into the game kind of guessing a little bit, trying to be sound. By the same token, Bronco's (Mendenhall) new and coach (Todd) Bradford's new so we're a little different on both sides of the ball. The feel of the game is a little bit different for us, but you know it's exciting."

Crowton added "we have a little more depth this year, especially on the offensive line. After our injuries last year to Ben Archibald and Ryan Keele, we were beat up going into the season and didn't have much depth or experience because those two guys didn't play very much.

"This year we have more depth… still not a lot of experience other than Scott Young and Quinn Christensen's played a little bit. Those are the only two guys coming back that really played a whole bunch last year. Brandon Stephens has started two games. I feel like behind those guys we're deeper. We can practice better. We don't have guys switching positions and hopefully we'll have less mistakes and that'll be good," Crowton said.

With academic loses and injuries to some of Georgia Tech's talented athletes, some media pundits have written Georgia Tech off for the season. Not Crowton.

"I think originally they thought they had 10, but I don't think it ended up being that. I'm not sure, but I think it's about six or seven that might end up not being able to play.

However, the Yellow Jackets are looking to do the same thing to BYU this year as they did last year. Crowton isn't buying the hype that Georgia Tech will have a "down year."

"They have a receiver that was out all of last year, No. 5 (Nate Curry); he is really good," Crowton added. "He missed the season last year with an ACL and now he's healthy. They're going to be a lot better than the buzz I hear going around that they're going to be down."

Crowton noted that despite the youthfulness of Georgia Tech's team, they still possess enough veteran firepower to be successful in 2003.

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