Not sure why I’m even typing this right now. We’re 20 minutes from the Spring Game kickoff and it looks like most of you folks who care about Tech football are ... here.
Parking around Lane Stadium was a nightmare. Tailgating is in full force. I eventually just jumped a sidewalk, drove up a grassy hill and made my own parking space about 30 feet from the stadium’s front doors.
So I’m here now in the press box, looking down on several thousand people. I’m guessing once the tailgaters get in here, the crowd could reach 30,000. Very impressive.
As is the weather. This is a perfect day for a football game (or a pretend football game). So enjoy, and I guess you guys will read this afterward (if you’re in any state to read).
Here’s some more from the two young guns battling Rashad Carmichael for the starting field corner spot. Check back tonight for more from the spring game ...
CB EDDIE WHITLEY
ON WHETHER HE’S GUNNING FOR THE STARTING FIELD CORNER JOB: “I’m coming for it, but everybody is still looking equal. We all have different types of games, but I feel like we’ll be productive with any one of us (him, Cris Hill or Rashad Carmichael) in there at any time.”
ON WHO HE’D GUESS WILL WIN THE JOB: “Right now, he still might pick Rock (Carmichael) because of more experience. He’s been in the game, knows his keys. We’ll just have to see. But I’m anxious to know.”
ON HOW BIG THE SPRING GAME IS THEN: “This is real big, not only for the spot, but just to let all the fans know that: OK, Macho’s gone, but we’ve still got young playmakers behind him that are going to do the same things he did. We want to give people the idea that we’re still here. There’s not going to be any drop-off. We’re still going to fight, be ruthless, be animals like we are.”
ON HOW MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE HE IS THIS YEAR: “Much more. I know the defense now. This year, it’s not so much thinking. It’s just playing. I’m in my element, comfortable, playing the ball.”
ON WHETHER HE GOT BIGGER IN THE WEIGHT ROOM SINCE HIS FRESHMAN SEASON: “Yes, sir. I gained about 12 pounds. On a good day, I’m at 190. Usually I’m around 187.”
ON THE THREE-MAN RACE: “We are neck and neck. But when it’s that close, there’s no drop-off. So whoever gets the job, there will be no drop-off. We’re all family, and we’ll encourage whoever gets the spot.”
ON WHAT DB COACH TORRIAN GRAY IS LOOKING FOR: “He wants us to attack, play downhill, play sound in technique and play consistent.”
ON HIS OWN STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS AT THIS POINT: “My strength is coming up and laying the boom. I feel more comfortable hitting this year. My weaknesses is probably just getting out of my breaks. I feel like I still don’t have the burst like I did. But it’s going to come in time. I’ve got this summer to work on it. There’s a competition now, but there’s going to be another competition this summer. If we push each other, we all get better. When the season starts, we’ll all be playing like animals, playing wild.”
ON MACHO HARRIS TAKING HIM TO DINNER LAST SEASON: “Yeah, he took me to MacAdoos for 29-cent wings. He was little cheap, but I took the meal. (laughing) He just told me to keep my head up, that he sees a lot of potential in me. Hearing that from him, an All-American, that gives me confidence. Now I’m even more hungry. Last year, I had to learn everything, and with the playmakers we had I knew I wasn’t going to move up. But this year, I know the defense and we’re all even right now. So I’m ready.”
CB CRIS HILL
ON THE TIGHT FIELD CORNER RACE: “It’s a pretty tight race. It’s very close, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we go into fall camp still battling for the position. My mindset is just trying to stay consistent. That’s the big thing with Coach Gray, because at our position, one play can cost us the game.”
ON HE AND WHITLEY TAKING ADVANTAGE OF CARMICHAEL’S MISSED TIME THIS SPRING: “I think it gives us an advantage. Rashad had more experience last year, so this gives us more reps to figure it out.”
ON WHETHER HIS PATH TO PLAYING TIME HAS TAKEN LONGER THAN HE THOUGHT IT WOULD: “If I’d gone to another school, I probably would’ve gotten more playing time. But it’s an advantage, because here you have to be technically sound with everything you do. So it might take some time, but in the long run I think it’ll pay off. It hasn’t been hard for me. Last year, I didn’t really have an experience. Going into spring, I would blank out on a play, let one of my guys go. But now I feel more comfortable and it’s coming more natural to me now.”
ON WHETHER HE PLAYED MORE ON RAW TALENT IN HIGH SCHOOL: “Coach Gray, he wants everything to be perfect. Coming out of high school, I was basically just an athlete. Now it’s more mental. With every rep, I’m gaining confidence and just trying to take that next step. There have been some moments that I felt like, ‘Yeah, I’ve really got it now.’ So I’m just trying to keep the ball rolling.”
ON WHETHER THERE WERE TIMES LAST SEASON WHERE HE’D HAVE BEEN NERVOUS IF THEY STUCK HIM IN AT A CRITICAL MOMENT: “Back then, I was afraid to make a mistake. I was too worried about trying to be perfect, rather than just doing my assignments.”
ON WHETHER THE CORNERS HAVE EXTRA MOTIVATION WITH STAR WR JULIO JONES WAITING IN GAME 1: “Yeah, I’m really excited. It should be a great challenge. I’ve thought about it ever since I found out we were playing Alabama. I saw some of their spring game. I think (Jones) is very physical. It’s a great challenge.”
ON GETTING ADVICE FROM MACHO HARRIS, HIS FORMER HIGHLAND SPRINGS TEAMMATE AND TECH ALL-AMERICAN: “He said this is a great program, so just wait for your time. You can’t always just go in and play right away. He told me to wait my turn and it would be worth it.”