Georgia Tech’s summertime workouts are in the final stages this week, as the Yellow Jackets begin preparations for the start of preseason practices Aug. 3. Before those practices begin, Telegraph Georgia Tech reporter Coley Harvey caught up with starting quarterback Josh Nesbitt to talk about the upcoming year. Here is Nesbitt, in his own words:
QUESTION: Just briefly, Josh, how have the offseason workouts been going for you guys?
ANSWER: It’s going good, everybody has a better attitude about everything that’s going on and everything is going good.
QUESTION: Is the attitude a lot different from last year?
ANSWER: Yeah. It’s better than what it’s been in the past, and not just the players. But the coaches and the people around the school are a lot different, too.
QUESTION: What are some of the things people are saying to you about their expectations this year?
ANSWER: Everybody has high expectations for the team, but I think as the quarterback of the team, I really want the team expectations to be very high. Don’t just limit ourselves to one thing. I’m telling the guys to aim high for everything.
QUESTION: One of the things you guys have been working on this summer is more passing in 7-on-7 drills. How do you feel the passing has gone for yourself and backups Jaybo Shaw and Tevin Washington?
ANSWER: It’s coming along good. It’s (the option rush and run-n-shoot pass) different than any other offense that’s going around now. As long as we just keep at it and just keep doing the 7-on-7s, and as a quarterback, as long as I get the receivers and A-backs out and throw a little bit and get familiar with each other, it’ll come along even better.
QUESTION: Are there any particular guys — like some of the underclassmen or backups — who have been stepping up in the 7-on-7s?
ANSWER: Pretty much everybody. I don’t like to call people out and say they’re doing so much better than everybody else, but guys like Embry Peeples, Marcus Wright and of course Demaryius Thomas and Tyler Melton, all of them have stepped up and are making some good catches.
QUESTION: Obviously the media has been talking about seeing much more passing from you guys this year. What do you think the balance of run and pass will be this year?
ANSWER: I feel like, as long as I’ve known Coach (Paul) Johnson, he’s going to do what works. If we can run on a team, he’s not going to say, ‘Hey, let’s try throwing on them.’ If we can run on you, we’re going to run on you. And if we’re running good enough, then we can still mix some pass in, as well.
QUESTION: How has it been passing against your secondary this offseason?
ANSWER: (Laughs) Tiring.
QUESTION: Safety Morgan Burnett tied for the national lead with seven interceptions last year, I guess that’s a pretty loaded defensive group?
ANSWER: It’s good work because they have some great guys over there, and even though it’s tough every time, we manage.
QUESTION: How is it tough? Does it just seem like they’re always all over the field?
ANSWER: Going against them two days a week for this long (in the summer), I mean, I have a good feeling for what they’re doing and how they’re doing it, but sometimes, they catch you off guard.
QUESTION: Have you noticed a particular player who’s able to keep you on your toes?
ANSWER: I would say the whole secondary, really, and Morgan Burnett especially. He picked me off the other day, and he fooled me. But I’ve got to get him back next time (laughs).
QUESTION: What did he do?
ANSWER: I thought he was in a Cover-3, and he rolled over to the middle of the field. Then, somehow, he got back over the top into a Cover-2, and he just picked the ball right out of the air. I know I put too much air under it.
QUESTION: What is it like to face a guy every day who gets the kind of All-America, all-conference attention Burnett is receiving?
ANSWER: He’s also my roommate. So we’re always around each other and we don’t always talk about all the hype and attention that’s going on and all the talk that he’s getting or anyone else. We’re just ourselves; it’s normal. And I think he makes everybody around him just by being himself.
QUESTION: What about the on-field side of all that. Does facing players like him on a consistent basis make you even better in adapting to certain things on the field?
ANSWER: It helps me out. It just lets me know that I have to be on point every time I drop back, and make sure that I make the right reads.
QUESTION: Burnett was talking recently about the leadership role both you and he have felt compelled to take this season. Talk about the importance of this pair becoming two of the team’s biggest leaders.
ANSWER: It’s a very big role, but me personally, I always felt that I lead by example. Instead of me saying, ‘I’m going to do something’ or ‘We need to do this and need to do that,’ instead of all that, I just like to go out there and do it. Even though teams need that (vocal inspiration) sometimes, I just feel like in order to be a better leader, you just need to go out there and do it not just talk about it.
QUESTION: You’ve said your family has helped encourage you to be a better leader. What is some of the advice you’ve received?
ANSWER: Just to stay humble, and to never forget where I come from. And to always remember that there’s somebody out there better than you.
QUESTION: Wow, that sounds a lot like a life lesson and a football lesson. Thinking of football in those terms, how are you able to keep the “good” (like beating Georgia last year) and “bad” (like losing to LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl last year) moments in perspective?
ANSWER: It just shows we can do anything we feel like we want to do. And the Georgia game, I feel like everyone always wants that game so bad, and that day, we just laid everything out on the line. In the LSU game, I felt we were a little too complacent with just beating Georgia. I’m not saying everybody didn’t want to play, but it was like, ‘All right, we beat Georgia, season’s over with.’ But right now, we have to have a better mind-set, keep some of those losses in mind, and just go out and play every game for four quarters.