Time to Shine

According to Head Coach Derek Dooley, the Spring Game was more of a chance for single players to show improvement since the team was spread out over two units.

In a battle for a starting linebacker spot, Brian White showed he was ready to go. White intercepted a pass in the first half and then scored on a 71 yard return of a blocked field goal. The kick was blocked by newcomer Kwame Jordan, a defensive end who was brought in to put pressure on the quarterback. Jordan, and his high school teammate, fellow defensive end Eric Harper, teamed up to give Coach Dooley some athleticism on the outside.

Coach Dooley felt the Spring Game was a good reflection on how some of the young guys had played all spring. "Tank Calais, really the last week and a half, has played really well. He has played faster and more aggressive. Brian White showed up and Brian's had a good spring. Before the spring, we told him how important he was to out program. We were pleased to see him go out there and make some plays."

Calais is behind veterans Deon Young and Antonio Baker at safety, but he will see his share of playing time. All three players will see a lot of time on defense and on special teams. Shawn Simmons moved from receiver to safety earlier in the spring, when he and Adrian Linwood traded places on the roster. Defensive backs coach Terry Joseph had to help Simmons stay in position a few times, but he really showed a good feel for the defensive side of the ball. Linwood was injured recently and had to sit out the spring game. The second year player from Garland, Texas was having a good spring and hopefully can come back by the time Mississippi State rolls into town on August 30th.

Coach Dooley noticed a couple of other players. "Terry Carter has had a good spring. We have a corner spot that Carter and Howze are competing at." Another cornerback, Josh Victorian had an interception in the game and broke up four passes.

Dooley also talked about two key positions and the players that fill them. "I feel good about the two tackles, McGill and Harmon." In addition to Harper and Jordan,, Dooley recognized Matt Broha and Randy Grigsby as defensive ends that will be in the mix for starting positions.

At linebacker, Dooley said there were several young guys to mention. "I felt like Dominique Faust showed a lot of improvement over the spring. Jay Dudley and Dusty Rust have shown some promise. Zach Schrieber has been dinged up, hopefully he will have a good summer and camp and we will see where he is."

Mason Hitt and Ramone Randle will play a lot this year at defensive tackle. Rolando Melancon will be eligible to play this fall and will also figure into the mix.

Both young quarterbacks had good moments in the game. Ross Jenkins completed 16 of 27 passes for 148 yards and had one touchdown against two interceptions. Steven Ensminger was 12-32 for 222 yards with one interception.

Jenkins believed he was able to manage the offense pretty well in the second half and thought they moved the ball down the field. "On offense you want to get into a rythem. The best way to do it is to hand the ball off and get first downs and complete short passes. As soon as we figured that out, it worked out pretty well." Jenkins and running back William Griffin led the White Team to two late scoring drives that proved to be the winning scores.

Ensminger thought he did some good things and some bad things and that the game left him with things he needs to work on over the summer. "A big deal with me is footwork and timing. Once I get that down, I think I will be a lot better. Saturday was the first game type situation that Ensminger had been in since the 2007 spring game at Auburn.

Coach Dooley admitted some of the same familiar names stood out on offense. Philip Beck, Phillip Livas, Josh Wheeler, and Daniel Porter all had good performances. Griffin looked really strong and Dennis Morris had 47 yards on two catches. Wheeler is still trying to get back to form after struggling with injuries and Morris is working on consitency. Dustin Mitchell stood out as well, catching 5 balls for 52 yards. Wheeler, Mitchell, and Morris give offensive coordinator Frank Scelfo big options to work into the game plan.

Saturday's game showed Tech fans that there are a multitude of good players on the 2008 Bulldog roster. How they work together this summer and gel as a team remains to be seen, but talent will not be a problem.

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