October 13, 2009

Reid moves back to corner

On the second day of preparations for Virginia Tech, defense was the hot topic after Georgia Tech's Tuesday football practice. Head Coach Paul Johnson requested a simplification of the defensive schemes and personnel groups including moving Rashaad Reid back to cornerback after he spent the last few weeks working at free safety.

Injuries to Cooper Taylor and Dominique Reese forced defensive coordinator Dave Wommack to move Reid from corner to safety further depleting the secondary's overall depth. Johnson says regardless of injuries that they need to play guys at their primary position instead of shuffling multiple players to adjust for one or two injuries.

"Coop is a good player and certainly he would help us. He would give us some more depth at that position as we have had to move some guys around," he said. "The bottom line is we need to get guys back where they go. You are asking Rashaad Reid to play safety when he is a corner and he is not going to play as well there as he will at corner. When you lose pieces, it does not hurt, but we have to put people in the positions they are comfortable in. If Cooper plays Saturday, it will be in a limited role."

Reid is comfortable and happy to be back at cornerback where he feels he can help the team the most.

"It took all my reps at cornerback today and I think I am back at cornerback for good," Reid said. "I feel like I read routes well and sometimes I gamble. I don't know if I will start because I am working with the twos right now, but we see what happens in the game."

Without the benefit of spring practice or fall camp, Reid did the best he could at free safety in the last three games.

"I had to learn everything real fast and take in a lot of mental reps," Reid said. "I had to pay attention and couldn't afford to mess up."

Overall coach Johnson says he feels like the team needs to play faster and stop holding back.

"There's no doubt about it, we have to get better. In my mind, when you play the way we played on Saturday, everyone is accountable," Johnson said. "The coaches, the players and I am accountable because I'm the ultimate guy. I see guys not playing fast and not flying to the ball. I do not think it is because they do not want to, I think there is something holding them back to some degree. We have too many things for them to think about, so we have to just simplify what we are doing and just let them play. But, you are going to be in games like that. I told the guys at halftime on defense, it is usually never as bad or as good as you think it is. You have to do the little things right."

Even with Taylor, Robert Hall and Kyle Jackson suffering major injuries in the two-deep and only 80 scholarship players on the roster, Johnson will not settle for excuses for poor defensive play.

"They have impacted us just like anything else," Johnson said of the injuries. "Guys are usually starters for a reason; they are better than they guys who are backing them up. So, when you lose starters, it hurts. We are probably at a little bit of disadvantage from a numbers standpoint because we had to give out 80 scholarships compared to 85, which is something we had to do to balance out the class. Trust me, I would love to have five more scholarship guys, but in the broad view of the program, something had to be done to get some balance. But, that is no excuse, we have to play better. I would be more upset if our guys were being run over, but we were using the right technique. If you are doing all the right things and still getting steamrolled, there is nothing you can do. But, that is not the case. There are a lot of things that come into it. Some things we can fix others we probably can't."

Injuries

Defensive end Anthony Egbuniwe and A-back Anthony Allen were the only starters expected to play this week that were in red non-contact jerseys on Tuesday. Robert Hall was back in full uniform in red working out on the sidelines with the team trainers.


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