When: noon today
Where: Bobby Dodd Stadium
Admission: No charge
Web site: www.ramblinwreck.com
Jaybo Shaw is constantly studying.
Georgia Tech’s sophomore quarterback has a healthy appetite for learning the team’s offensive game plan and watching film to see how to become a more efficient leader of the Yellow Jackets’ offense.
"I can’t study the playbook enough," the Flowery Branch High grad said.
Shaw is constantly grinding to stay ahead of the curve as the Yellow Jackets’ backup quarterback. That translates into endless hours of quarterback meetings, film room study and hours drilling the playbook into his head, in addition to time on the practice field three times a week during spring ball.
Then on Saturdays, the Yellow Jackets hit the practice field for three intrasquad scrimmages, leading up to the final evaluation of the spring with the T-Day Game at noon today at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Shaw likely will lead the first-team offense as starter Josh Nesbitt still feels the effects of a shoulder injury suffered last Saturday in the first series of a scrimmage.
Shaw clearly wants to finish spring football by making a good impression at T-Day.
"I think the T-Day game is important," Shaw said. "I just have to focus on leading the offense I’m on and not try and do anything special."
Shaw isn’t the only local athlete is battling for playing time in the upcoming season with the Yellow Jackets.
Gainesville High grad Nick Claytor is competing for a starting job at offensive tackle after starting the final five games of the 2008 season.
Logan Walls from Dawson County is listed at No. 3 on the depth chart at defensive tackle.
Walls saw action against Miami, Mississippi State and Jacksonville State last season. He’ll be counted on to play more this season with all four starters from last season now graduating.
Shaw is clearly pleased with the direction his career is taking at Georgia Tech. He started against Duke last season, earned ACC Rookie of the Week honors, saw game action in seven games and finished the year with five touchdowns. Still, becoming a more self-assured leader behind center is certainly a goal with a more nuanced understanding of being a leader at the college level.
Playing as a freshman was more a matter of learning on the fly for Shaw for a new coach in a new offense.
"It was kind of a head-spinning experience last season," Shaw said. "I was just more focused on not messing up last season when I got in the game.
"This year, I feel like I have a better understanding what to do when the play’s called."
Shaw now also looks more like a college football player at 198 pounds. He still knows that he has to gain a competitive edge with knowledge of the offense since he’s not the ideal size for a quarterback of 210 or 215 pounds.
"I’ve gotten stronger," Shaw said. "I’m a lot more comfortable now and more in rhythm with the offense."
The scrimmage outings were big for Shaw in preparing for the spring game. He said the second and third scrimmages of the spring were much more crisp that the first outing.
Claytor, a redshirt sophomore, is part of an experienced offensive line, with all five starters that finished the season back with the Yellow Jackets. He helped a Georgia Tech running game that averaged 273 yards per game last season, including a 409-yard effort in a win over Georgia and 472 yards against Miami.
Walls, a redshirt sophomore, also is more at ease with the pace of the college game in his second season. He noted his biggest goal of the spring has been to sharpen a knack for finishing around the play.
"I’ve been working a lot of hand and footwork during the spring," he said. "I’m a lot more comfortable this year with the speed of the game."