2011 Season Preview: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets QB Competition Update
Fall camp at Georgia Tech has gone into week two, and after a solid week of practice, the competition for the starting quarterback job is the hot topic among media members and fans. Though it is still too early to judge, first impressions have been made upon the coaching staff and it's time to keep a closer eye on how things develop.
The Leading Candidate to Start
Tevin Washington returns to camp fully recovered from his MCL injury that hampered him throughout the spring. Tevin injured that knee on the last play of the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl, but was able to resiliently fight through the pain to compete for the starting job all spring.
After starting the last four games of the season, Tevin brings experience to the position if he keeps his job. And after an offseason leading the team in activities, such as coordinating 7 on 7 drills with other schools, Tevin has already impressed the coaching staff with his confidence and decision making. Word is that he has done a good job of making the right reads in practice and is playing more on his instincts.
This is welcomed news for Jacket fans, and they can look forward to better results out of Washington this year, should he be named the starter at the end of fall camp.
The Returning Competitor
Synjyn Days is the only returning competition for Washington, and going into fall practice, Days was looking to start in stride as he competes for the starting role. He performed well in the spring game, despite struggling with turnovers the rest of the spring. Days showed Tech fans exciting flashes of the athleticism he brings to the table.
After a week of practice, Brian Bohannon, the QB coach for the Yellow Jackets, mentioned that Synjyn needs to focus more consistently. He and head coach Paul Johnson have noticed that Synjyn has mental lapses at points in practice, and needs to improve on this in order to eliminate the negative plays from his game.
Until Synjyn tightens up his play, he will have a tough time showing the staff that he deserves to start over Washington, who has done well being careful with the football. By no means is he out of the competition to start however, and he remains the top athlete in this position battle.
The Freshman Phenom
Entering Georgia Tech after an impressive senior season in high school, Vad Lee is one of the hottest topics being talked about at the Jacket practices. Lee worked all summer with his teammates at Tech to learn the offense and start to fit in with the team.
After a week of official practices, Vad has made quite the impression on the coaching staff, and they haven't been afraid to admit it. Coach Paul Johnson said that Lee is "actually light years ahead of where I thought he’d be, in four days (of practicing a new offense)". This is a high praise of Vad and his ability to absorb all the advice the coaches give him.
Quarterback coach Brian Bohannon has admired the work ethic Lee has shown and loves both the attitude and "great composure" that Vad has demonstrated thus far. With praise like that, the possibility this freshman may be pushing the upperclassmen is no longer speculation.
Although the ruling is still out on whether Vad may redshirt this upcoming season, leaving fellow freshman Demond Smith to be third in line at QB, Lee is certainly making this competition interesting and he'll be the wild card fans will be interested to see play.
Moving Forward This Week...
The team has a scrimmage set for this upcoming Saturday, so more should be known about where the position battle is heading after that.
Although football is a team sport and the Yellow Jackets have other competitions going on at many other positions, the quarterback in this offense is a critical role. Whomever may start is expected to be the leader and distributor of this offense, and will have games that rest upon his shoulders.
Fall practices are far from over, but it's clear that anticipation for the conclusion of this starting QB job battle is only rising, and it won't reach a conclusion until Coach Johnson sends his quarterback into the huddle on September 1st with the first play of the season.