Originally created 03/16/05

Drills continue without Gailey



ATLANTA - Reggie Ball didn't notice coach Chan Gailey's absence from Georgia Tech's football practice Tuesday.

"Gailey doesn't talk much anyway," the Yellow Jacket quarterback said, "unless you mess something up."

Spring practice continued without the head coach Tuesday. Gailey suffered a heart attack Monday morning while playing racquetball and underwent an angioplasty to clear an artery hours later at Piedmont Hospital.

He was moved from the intensive care unit to a private room Tuesday afternoon and will spend the next few days in the hospital for observation.

Gailey's return to practice has yet to be determined.

"He would have been out here today, I believe, if his wife wouldn't have been standing at the door," said offensive coordinator Patrick Nix, who ran Tuesday's practice along with defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta and assistant head coach Buddy Geis. "Coach is a competitor. He'll be looking forward to seeing the practice."

Nix admitted Gailey might never see the tape of Tuesday's workout, which marked the team's first time in full pads since the 2004 season ended at the Champs Sports Bowl.

Sloppy play permeated the two-hour workout. Geis, who stood in for Gailey as head coach, joked that the Jackets practiced so poorly it might have brought on another heart attack for Gailey.

"After we fumbled the first two snaps, I knew that would have brought on No. 2," Geis said.

Both players and coaches said the miscues had nothing to do with their missing leader. The practice had a "different vibe" without the coach, linebacker Gerris Wilkinson said.

The rust was due to going full contact after opening drills with two days of light workouts last weekend. That had more to do with the fumbles, incomplete passes and missed tackles than no Gailey.

"If you come out here and have pillow fights for two days and then you suddenly put pads on, you're going to be sloppy," Tenuta said. "Until they get used to running around with the pads on again, it's going to be different."

Georgia Tech considered postponing its spring drills until after Gailey recovered. Georgia Tech received permission from the NCAA to reschedule this week's practice for the week of April 18.

Gailey decided to stick to the schedule and allow his assistants to oversee drills.

The staff had planned the first week of practice well ahead of time, which made it easy to conduct practice.

Reach Adam Van Brimmer at (404) 589-8424 or adam.vanbrimmer@morris.com.