August 27, 2009

Jackets will be without a starter for Jax State

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football team avoided rain during Thursday afternoon's practice. Head coach Paul Johnson will have the team scrimmage on Friday and then the team will take a week off which will help on of their star players who is hoping to heal quickly enough to contribute in the first few games.

"I think we got something done and it has been picking up," Johnson said of Thursday's practice. "I am encouraged because they have fought through it pretty well. We have a game type scrimmage tomorrow and then we have the weekend off and come back Monday with guns blazing."

The player hoping to get back onto the field at full strength is starting A-back Roddy Jones. Jones had the pins removed from his wrist on Monday and is now in a smaller cast, which he can play with.

"I will be in the cast for another week or so and I am just ready to get out of," Jones said. "I am excited to get done with it. I have been sitting out for a couple of days because of the stitches they had to put in, but I am back out there and I will be full speed on Monday."

Jones' new cast allows for more movement in his hands, which will allow him to do a little more with the football.

"They gave me a little more movement with the thumb and fingers and they cut it down so it is lighter. It feels great to me right now after coming down from a bigger cast," Jones said.

After he is done with the cast, Jones will use a splint for a few weeks and then he should be able to play without any protection for his wrist.

"The cast will take some getting used to particularly playing in it and after that so will the splint I will be in," Jones said. "Hopefully it is more of a mental thing that I will be able to overcome."

Jones goal is to return for the Clemson game if everything goes according to plan.

"That is the goal," Jones said of the Clemson target date. "If Jacksonville State was a National Championship game, I could maybe play in it, but with it being the first game of the season, you have to look at the long haul. I will sit out and guys like Anthony Allen will do a great job."

A-backs coach Jeff Monken says there is plenty of depth behind Jones at A-back to fill in until he is ready to return from the wrist injury.

"I think Anthony and Embry Peeples would probably start," Monken said. "Embry has been running with the first team most of camp. I would also expect to see Marcus Wright, Orwin Smith and Lucas Cox. It will be those five guys without Roddy. We will add Roddy into the mix when he is healthy and we may possibly use Robbie Godhigh, but we will have to wait and see with him."

Coach Johnson hopes the offense is ready for the first game regardless of who starts at A-back.

"I hope that we can execute better and I am sure Jacksonville State will be better too. They have a lot of guys back. I just want our guys to go out there and play like they are capable of playing and I want them to know where to go and when to do it. We played fairly well on offense against them last year."

The team and coach Johnson are focused on 2009 and they are done talking about 2008.

"We are not talking about last year, this is a new year. You get one chance to make a first impression and we will do that next Saturday," Johnson said. "I would be disappointed if we were not excited to play."

Cone stepping up

Junior receiver Kevin Cone is currently one of the Jackets starting receivers heading into the first game of the season against Jacksonville State. Cone is sharing reps with last year's starter Tyler Melton and he has taken advantage of Melton's groin injury impressing the coaches enough to earn a promotion in the middle of fall camp. Cone says the competition is making each of them a better receiver.

"It is a great competition and we are playing the hardest we ever have," Cone said. "We are trying to help each other out and it is just a fun competition."

Cone hopes to become the Jackets top target this season and not just the second starter on the opposite of the field from Demaryius Thomas.

"It is great and I am happy," Cone said of his promotion. "I just want to keep working so I can stay where I am at and hopefully move higher."

After sitting out last season following his transfer from Shorter College, Cone feels like he got a solid grasp on the offense by simply watching and absorbing the action in practice, games and in the film room.

"I got a chance to mature a lot last year and I went against the number one defense every day in practice and that definitely helped me out when I was playing scout team," he said. "Those guys pushed me everyday to get better. I think I really understand the offense a lot better and I think we have matured a lot as a team."

Melton left practice on Thursday with an undisclosed injury and his status is uncertain at the moment.

"Tyler Melton got hurt today, but until I find out, I don't know what it is," Johnson said after practice.

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