Originally created 09/01/01

Jackets likely to work on passing game against The Citadel



ATLANTA -- George Godsey showed against Syracuse that he could take a hit coming off knee surgery after last year's Peach Bowl game.

But in that game, coach George O'Leary limited what Godsey did against the Orangemen.

Apparently all systems are go this Saturday when the 11th-ranked Yellow Jackets take on The Citadel, a Division I-AA team struggling to regain its role as a power in the Southern Conference.

"We were looking to protect George Godsey," O'Leary said of the game plan in the 13-7 season-opening victory over Syracuse. "It's more important to keep him healthy the whole game. We lose more momentum with him going down. He took a couple of good hits on sacks."

Godsey took off on a run on his surgically repaired left knee early in the game and was stung by a defender, but bounced back up and continued to play as if nothing had happened.

Another reason the Jackets are expected to open up the passing game is to get a look at some inexperienced receivers who will have to play because of injuries.

Jonathan Smith, a sophomore, had one outstanding catch when he took the ball away from a Syracuse defender. Smith had two catches for 16 yards. O'Leary also wants to get a good look at freshman Levon Thomas.

Godsey completed 15 of 26 passes for 224 yards against the Orangemen, most of the work on the other end being handled by Kelly Campbell, who had 10 catches for 193 yards.

The Jackets lost receiver Will Glover with a pulled right calf muscle on the third offensive play. He isn't expected to play against the Bulldogs on Saturday.

"The passing game is always the last thing to come," O'Leary said.

Campbell wasn't too concerned about the offense looking rusty against Syracuse.

"It was the first game and there were a lot of things we should have done that didn't happen," Campbell said.

After facing the Bulldogs, Tech has a trip to Navy before heading to Florida State on Sept. 15 for an Atlantic Coast Conference showdown with the Seminoles. FSU, which has won every ACC crown since it entered the league, Clemson and Tech are regarded as the powers in the conference this year.

Tech has won 15 of its last 17 games at Grant Field, with both losses coming at the hands of FSU. Overall, Tech has won eight of its last nine games and is heavily favored to take care of The Citadel on Saturday night.

"The Citadel has been a strong program in I-AA. but we don't know very much about this team," O'Leary said. "I'm a guy that likes to see things on film, but we don't have that opportunity. It's the first game for a new head coach in Ellis Johnson, so there are a lot of unknowns going into this game."

Johnson took over at his alma mater last December, after having served as defensive coordinator at Alabama.

"It feels good to be back," Johnson said. "It was just something I wanted to do. It was the right place at the right time."

The Bulldogs may use a quarterback tandem against the Yellow Jackets, with Joe Call the likely starter and Alvin "Scooter" Johnson the backup. Running back Maurice Murphy ran for 854 yards last year.

The offense returns 13 players who started at least one game last season.