Originally created 08/27/99

Jackets in need of big plays from speediest receiver



ATLANTA -- When you are the "go-to" man and an All-America candidate, people know it. Dez White is all of those, and his opponents know it.

That makes him something else: A marked man -- the certain target of defensive double-teams.

The way Georgia Tech can break the double-team on White is to have so many big-play receivers that a defensive concentration is no longer beneficial. Yellow Jackets coach George O'Leary is, therefore, counting on a team of a half-dozen talented receivers to aid his star.

One of those expected to make big plays is Kelly Campbell, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound sophomore speedster.

Campbell is listed in the Tech media guide as the team's fastest player -- a title the modest Atlanta native is hesitant to accept.

"I don't know," said Campbell when asked whether the statement is true. "I can't say right now. Dez is pretty fast, and we haven't had a run-off. They say it, so I guess it must be so, but I don't know."

O'Leary has no doubt about Campbell's talents.

"I think anytime you've been clocked at 10.3 (seconds in the) 100 meters, you can run," said O'Leary.

While Campbell will not confirm his speed, his high school accomplishments will. Campbell competed in the 200- and 400-yard runs, the 400 and 1,600 relays, and the triple jump. He captured state titles in the 400, 1,600, and the triple jump. And he was second in the 200, even though the state meet was only the second time he had run that distance.

But Campbell's role for the Yellow Jackets is more than speed. He needs to make big plays to relieve the defensive pressures on White.

"When the season starts, the opponents are going to be double-teaming on Dez," said Campbell. "Right now, we are trying to get to where I can open up the offense. Then when they double-team Dez, the ball can be thrown to me."

Campbell's other assets are a pair of sure hands and a knack for getting open. As a freshman, the Mays High graduate pulled in 11 passes for 131 yards, including a 55-yard touchdown strike against Georgia.

"Scoring against (Georgia) as a freshman was really exciting," said Campbell. "After all, they are the cross-state rival."

His freshman experiences aside, Campbell has to expand his talents. His success in practice has been almost exclusively on long pass plays. O'Leary wants to see more.

"I think what Kelly has to learn to do is that he can't just run (long sideline routes) all day," said O'Leary. "You've got to be able to run the inside routes, and that's where we have to work more with him. I think those (routes) can be as big as the (side routes)."

To meet that objective, Campbell has been spending time in the weight room. Much to the delight of O'Leary, he is showing marked results.

"He's improved his strength so much," said O'Leary. "He's only 165-170 (pounds), but he benches 345. So he's done a great job as far as strength. It's a matter of continuing to work with him on consistency and competing on every play."

Campbell should get plenty of opportunities to both improve and shine for Tech this season.