Embry Peeples returns for his junior season to lead a deep and experienced group of A Backs. While Coach Johnson likes to rotate his A Backs, Peeples will like open the season as one of the starters along with redshirt Junior Roddy Jones.
Despite having starter Anthony Allen moved to the B Back position this season Peeples doesn't think that the A Backs will miss a beat with the talent that remains at the A Back position. "We have a lot of different looks and we have a lot of different running styles," said Peeples. "We have speedy, shifty runners, and we can catch now so this should be a real good season for us."
Peeples sees having a few years in the option offense as a definite advantage going into his junior season. "Knowing the offense helps because now I know what the person to my left and my right is going to do and I can take advantage of that."
One thing that all the A Backs know is that they must be able to block if they want to get their reps in the option offense. "You have to be able to make plays when they call on you and you have to be able to block to make big plays happen."
Tech fans can look forward to seeing a similar rotation at the A Back position that they saw last season minus Anthony Allen. "We'll probably have two groups," said Peeples. "Me and Roddy are probably the starters and then you can throw in Marcus or Orwin (Smith) any time in the game or you can have Marcus and Orwin start and me and Roddy come in but either way we will be good."
Embry is seeing a lot of good competition from the younger A Backs. "They're showing a lot of good effort and they want to be on the field so they're going to keep playing fast every down no matter what," said Embry. "Tony (Zenon) is small but shifty, Deon (Hill) is a good power runner, Charles is a power runner, and BJ is a fast dude who can catch the ball."
B.J. Bostic is a new to this offense, but when the conversation comes up about which freshmen have a chance of playing this season one of the first names that is mentioned is B.J.'s. His versatility, ability to return punts and kicks and his early enrollment are all factors in his having a chance to play as a freshman.
Bostic gave his verbal commitment to Georgia Tech in June of 2009. At that time he knew that enrolling early would give him the edge that he needed to play as a freshman. "The plays are real difficult so I think I had an advantage playing in the spring and coming in and learning the play book," said Bostic. "The first couple of days in preseason camp I was already ahead of the other guys."
Learning the playbook and having the chance to execute the plays on the field in the spring has also allowed BJ better use of his athletic ability this preseason. "When I first started learning, I was kind of slow and playing timid and now I'm playing fast so everything is going down for me."
Bostic's ability to make other contributions besides playing A Back will also be an advantage for BJ in his quest to see the field this season. "They're looking at me for kick return, punt return, and some gunner on the punt team."
BJ arrived on campus weighing only 154. He took advantage of his early enrollment to get in the weight room with the strength coaches to get bigger and stronger. "I've gotten stronger," said Bostic. "When I first came in I weighed 154 and now I weigh 172 and feel a lot better."
Going into the preseason was a lot of talk about the A Backs improving their ability to catch the ball. Bostic has noticed an emphasis on that phase of the game in the preseason. "Every day Coach (Lamar Owens) is challenging us to go out and catch the ball," said Bostic. "After every dropped pass we have to do something extra so I think there has been an extra emphasis on catching the ball and getting the A Backs into the passing game."
In addition to learning the position from Coach Owens, Bostic has relied on some of the veteran A Backs to help him improve. "Roddy (Jones), Embry (Peeples), and Marcus (Wright) have been here a couple of years and have experience with the offense so any time I have a question they're there to help me on the field."
After being recruited to play at Georgia Tech, Bostic has found it to be everything that he thought it would be. "It's what I expected," said BJ. "I knew when I first came in that everyone on the field is good so I was going to have to play my best every day."