Coach Kelly Making Secondary Changes

Following the Orange Bowl loss to Iowa, Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson made some coaching changes on the defensive side of the ball. Bringing in Al Groh to run the defense brought about some additional coaching duties for Charles Kelly and some possible changes in the secondary.

With the advent of the 3-4 defense Coach Groh has made a few changes to the coaching assignments. The new defense will require two coaches to work with the linebackers and the secondary duties will now be the sole responsibility of Coach Kelly. Last season Kelly coached the cornerbacks. "I've picked up the safeties to go along with the corners," said Kelly.

Georgia Tech has now completed two days of practice and Kelly has been working with the secondary players on their fundamentals. "They're working hard but it's really too early to say anything."

The secondary lost a major contributor in Morgan Burnett but they return quite a few players with experience. "We have some guys that have played in games and they have some experience," said Kelly. "They ought to be able to see things a little quicker."

Spring is a time to experiment and take a look at players. The secondary is one example this spring with Kelly moving Dominique Reese from safety to cornerback and Jerrard Tarrant moving from cornerback to safety. "We're working some players at positions they haven't played in a while," said Kelly. "We're taking a look at it and seeing how they do." It's been a while since both have played at their new positions. "We'll see how they do once the lights come on and the bullets start flying."

When asked about the change Tarrant said, "They just want to try me out at safety." In some of the formations, Tarrant lined up as the centerfielder. "It's kinda fun," said Tarrant. "It reminded me of my high school days." When asked about how Coach Groh runs a practice, Tarrant commented; "It's been a fast-paced more up-tempo practice. I think it will give the defense a better chance to get ready for game speed."

The secondary also return some players that return as backups that had some good moments last season. One of those is Michael Peterson. "He's had some experience the last two years," said Kelly. "He played well two years ago against Florida State."

Another backup that they're counting on is Roderick Sweeting. "He didn't play as much as I would have liked him to but there's a big thing of playing with a lot of people in the stands and a lot on the line rather than going out there your first time." Coach Kelly thinks that experience will be good for him. Having that one year under his belt should mean a lot to Roderick.

Tech has three early enrollees that are taking part in spring practice. One of those is Isaiah Johnson. Coach Kelly is excited to get the chance to take a look at him. Johnson is one of those guys that pass the eyeball test. "He's looked really good in the drills."

The players have yet to play in pads which will tell a lot about where the secondary stands. "Right now it's hard to make an evaluation," said Kelly. "Right now the way we have things set up is by ages and it's in no particular order." The Jackets move to the next stage on Friday when they come out in pads and Coach Kelly and the rest of the defensive staff will get a better chance to evaluate their players.


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