ATLANTA--- Georgia Tech hit the practice field for the first time this fall as the Jackets look to rebound from a disappointing 2010 season and even more painful offseason. Head Coach Paul Johnson led his team out on to the practice fields in 100-degree heat in the city as fall camp began.
Coach Johnson harkening back to his first season at Tech has the team together sharing rooms in a nearby hotel to help control the atmosphere for camp.
"It's just hard to get them all together on campus," Johnson said. "I think it's important in camp and we have done that before. Last year, we didn't do it because we had them all in the same dorm but we couldn't do that this year. I think it's important in camp to have them all together."
Last night was the team's first night in that hotel and the opened the morning with a conditioning test before a short afternoon practice session that last around 90 minutes.
After practice coach Johnson revealed that Denzel McCoy the former four-star Northview defensive lineman was a medical exception. McCoy will work as a student-assistant helping Player Personnel Director Liam Klein and unless something changes with his condition he will not be able to play college football again.
"He is going to be on a medical scholarship and won't be able to play. It's disappointing for Denzel but we have to look out for his well-being and health and it's just not worth the risk. He'll help us in the offices as a student assistant but unless something drastically changes his football career is over," Johnson said. "He will still be part of the team. You don't separate him. He's such a great kid and has a great attitude. You just tell him there are bigger things than football. He came here to get a degree from Tech and he's going to hopefully do that. He has his whole life to live, but it's just not in the cards right now for him to play college football. Our team doctors and training staff does a real thorough physical and they detected it early so he was never put in any danger."
McCoy's scholarship status wasn't the only scholarship topic after practice. Reinstated wide receiver Chris Jackson has been working towards regaining his scholarship after getting kicked off the team following the 2010 season. Jackson is just waiting on his final grades before he is eligible to rejoin the squad according to coach Johnson.
"Yes I got to watch [Chris] today. I'm encouraged by the way he's handled himself off the field and we'll see if that translates into on the field," he said. "He's worked extremely hard and done everything we've asked him to do to try and get himself back in a spot where he can contribute to the team. We are just waiting on his final grades to see if he will be put back on scholarship."
Another current walk-on Tyler Kidney could be next in line behind Jackson to get a scholarship this fall.
"If things go the way we expect Tyler will go on scholarship this fall if he is the starting offensive tackle," Johnson said. "We have some scholarships available, but we may hold them for incoming players."
One of the current verbal commitments, Marcus Allen is looking to enroll early.
The team went through special teams drills before breaking into offensive and defensive units for the rest of practice. Georgia Tech will have three more acclimation practices before going full pads for Sunday's kicking scrimmage. Georgia Tech will hold Fan Photo Day in Bobby Dodd Stadium at 4 p.m. with all current players in attendance along with the coaching staff.