October 2, 2009

Jackets' o-line improving each week

The Georgia Tech offensive line coaches Todd Spencer and Mike Sewak have had their work cut out for them since arriving in Atlanta last season. The Jackets suffered through injuries and a lack of depth in 2008 and this season inconsistency and inexperience have hampered the offensive lines development. After a few lackluster weeks, the Tech line played well last week against North Carolina and Coach Spencer is hoping for more of the same on the road this week against Mississippi State.

"It was a great team victory and our guys played hard I thought. The thing we are always striving for is to improve our technique," Spencer said. "The number one killer of success if compliancy. I thought we were successful, but we need to keep working on improving our technique, our pad level, our scoop routes, our trap routes and just keep driving those fundamentals every day."

The two offensive line coaches are trying to build on the positive rather than focusing on every negative from each game in an attempt to build confidence in the line.

"Our theme for the week is to keep those arrows going forward and not digressing. Everybody is going to keep raising the bar and keep moving up as far as technique and fundamentals," he said.

Depth has been a major concern this season with only two experienced backups, Nick Claytor at tackle and Dan Voss at center or guard. Claytor and Voss have not seen as many snaps as two of the redshirt freshmen, Phil Smith and Omoregie Uzzi are slowly increasing their snap counts each week.

"We are accruing some depth at the center and guard positions," Spencer said. "Dan Voss came in last week and played. Phil Smith played 20 plays and Uzzi probably played 20 plays, so we got some of those young guys in."

Spencer has been pleased with the improved performance from the reserves. Over the next few weeks, the Jackets have their most important stretch of games of the season and they will need depth because they do not have an off week until November 21.

"Those guys in the secondary roles are getting some reps and that is good," Spencer said. "Last week we had a 17 play drive and we had probably 85 plays in the game. That is a lot of plays. North Carolina was running their front in and out of there and playing nine or ten guys upfront."

Spencer says the approach to a road game especially at night involved the offensive linemen focusing more on every play call and before each snap so they do not get false start penalties. The Mississippi State crowd adds to the noise factor with their cowbells banging on every opposition play.

"We have to have a real sense of urgency to get in and make your calls," Spencer said. "If there is so noise I have seen a lot of teams jump offsides. We have to overcome any noise and be diligently disciplined."

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