ATLANTA- The weather held off on Wednesday morning as the Georgia Tech football team practiced at Bobby Dodd Stadium in preparation for the trip to Durham on Saturday to face Duke. The Jackets hope to have some of the missing pieces back on the offensive line for the game and center Mikey Minihan spoke about the process of dealing with multiple changes on the offensive line this season.
“It has been different working with different people, but that is one of the big things Coach (Brent) Key preaches a lot, it’s the next guy up when the starting guy can’t go he has to do just as good or just the same.,” Minihan said. “I think we’ve been doing a good job of preparing our second and third-string guys for playing at a high level and I think we’ve done a good job with the backups.”
Against Pitt, Minihan had two first-time starters at the guard spots with Paula Vaipulu playing his first real action on offense at left guard and Nick Pendley starting at right guard after mostly playing right tackle this season. Kenny Cooper the normal left guard was out and the Jackets have used William Lay III at left guard this year as well as four different offensive tackles as injuries have hit that group hard. Ryan Johnson was forced into action playing through his own injury at right guard on Saturday in the second half.
Minihan said despite the injuries he feels the overall offensive line operation is getting better and he has more command of the calls so he can help mitigate personnel change issues.
“I’m being more comfortable in my shoes in calming down and knowing everything that is going,” Minihan said. “Everyone who has played next to me has done a great job at hearing the calls and executing the plays that we are doing.”
Flowing the two early turnovers in the Pitt game, Minihan said he was proud of how the team and Jeff Sims settled down and got the offense going when some teams would unravel even more in that situation.
“We messed up early, we had big mistakes early and we knew we couldn’t be in the headspace where we were going to let that keep us down all game and I think we still had to go out there and play and try to win the game and I think we did a good job with kind of shrugging that off and just trying to go out there and play football.”
With the slow start in the Pitt game in the team’s mind, Minihan said he feels like the Jackets have responded this week with a good week of practice and a good game plan for the Blue Devils.
“I think we’ve responded in a big way,” Minihan said of practice this week. “The thing we have to focus on is going back to our fundamentals. I think we got to the point last week where we were just trying to kind of maybe overstep our boundaries and we have to just go back to what we are comfortable with doing and how we play football and to get too big for our britches.”
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE NOTES AND QUOTES FROM WEDNESDAY