Georgia Tech

Spring practice is like ‘another class’ for Tech offense. Here’s why they like the challenge

Our favorite photos from Georgia Tech’s 2019 spring game

Telegraph photographer Jason Vorhees' favorite images from Georgia Tech football's 2019 spring game held Friday April 26.
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Telegraph photographer Jason Vorhees' favorite images from Georgia Tech football's 2019 spring game held Friday April 26.

When Jair Hawkins-Anderson finishes his 1:30 p.m. cross cultural class at Georgia Tech, he returns to his room, pours himself a glass of water and breaks out his study material.

He spreads out the binders on the table and takes a long hard look at his notebook. But the junior from Suwanee isn’t cramming for his culture class, where he’s learning about the customs of international business travelers and how to avoid embarrassing gaffes when working abroad. He’s got plenty of time for that as the semester moves along.

On most days Hawkins-Anderson immerses himself in the new, always-expanding playbook that’s being installed during spring football practice. It’s not unusual for the Yellow Jackets to add 20-25 new plays during the morning practice and Hawkins-Anderson and the rest of the offense is required to learn them all.

“It is literally another class,” he said.

Not that he’s complaining. Hawkins-Anderson, who played three games last season, and the other receivers are going to be more involved in the new spread offense being installed this spring under coach Geoff Collins. They may likely see more passes come their way in one game than they did all season under coach Paul Johnson’s triple-option running attack.

But the transition isn’t quick or easy. The players are being asked to soak it all up in a hurry. Sometimes it can seem like drinking out of a fire hydrant.

“I don’t know how many plays,” Hawkins-Anderson said. “It could be an infinite amount. No clue.”

Which makes it important to keep up. Those who fall behind will get left behind and the receivers have waited too long for their chance to let that happen. There are currently nine receivers in the rotation and they’re all getting rep-after-rep in the new regime’s frenetic practice.

“We’ll run a few plays and a whole new group will come in,” he said. “We’ve got three groups going right now, so pretty much everybody is going to get a chance to play.”

The main thing is retaining the information and remembering where to go and what to do.

“Right now we’re keeping up and learning and staying on track,” Hawkins-Anderson said. “We’re putting in 15-20 new plays every day. Then you’ve got to remember the stuff you put in yesterday, plus the 20 we put in the first day. You’ve got to go home and study, get your binder, get your notes.”

Wide receiver Malachi Carter, who played 13 games last year and caught three passes, one for a touchdown. He’s been challenged by the transition, even though he played in a spread offense at Mountain View High School in Lawrenceville.

“We were a spread team in high school, but here it’s install after install, play after play,” Carter said. “You’ve got to remember a lot. It’s challenging, but it’s also fun. It’s fun to come out here and run different routes, see the different defensive looks. It’s exciting.”

Receivers coach Kerry Dixon complimented the receivers on their ability to pick up the new material.

“The one thing that surprised me was how fast they picked up the concepts,” Dixon said. “They picked it up pretty quickly, only making adjustments when they see certain coverages. Their mental aspects, as far as taking it from the classroom to the field and knowing where to be is something I’m extremely excited about.”

But, he said, there’s more to come.

“They only know what I tell them. Wanted to start with a clean slate, start to finish with everything new and everything we want,” Dixon said.

So it looks like Hawkins-Anderson and his pals still have a lot of cramming to do before the spring game on April 26.

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