Spring Position Battle - Center

Discussion in 'Georgia Tech Football' started by Eric, Feb 14, 2014.

  1. Eric

    Eric Retired Co-Founder Staff Member

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    Tech loses the anchor of the line in Jay Finch to graduation ...now the Jackets will be looking for someone new to fill that plug in the middle.

    Competitors - Thomas O'Reily, Freddie Burden

    Favorite - Thomas O'Reily

    The Auburn transfer O'Reily seemed to find his home on the offensive line at center last year...he saw limited action last season behind Jay Finch. When O'Reily arrived at Tech he was way overweight but that is an issue that he has been working on and has dropped some weight. I was actually surprised to see O'Reily play as well as he did in the center spot as it was his first year ever playing that position. I would have to consider him the favorite heading into Spring as he is the only one in the group with game experience.

    Freddie Burden came to Tech and impressed the coaches right away..he was the 2012 scout team player of the year on offense. In fact some of the coaches felt that he was going to push Jay Finch in the 2013 season. Unfortunately Burden suffered a serious knee injury in Spring practice and missed the whole season. If he can get back to his 2012 from the we could have a good battle on are hands. The Spring will be crucial for Burden.


    Prediction - Freddie Burden.

    I am going out on a limb with the Burden pick, but I think he upsets O'Reily and wins the job,

    * Niko Anderson and Michael Muns are walkons who play center as well.
     
  2. Boomergump

    Boomergump Moderator Staff Member

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    I have no idea what Burden brings to the table, as I have never seen him play. If he does end up beating out O'Reilly, then we should be in very good hands. From the limited number of snaps that I saw O'Reilly play, we would be fine if he wins out. He is a different player than Finch. He is big and he is a hoss. He can stand people up and hold his block a little bit. Finch gets off the ball well and can move his feet. O'Reilly is more of a space eater. I am comfortable with O'Reilly if it comes to that. He will be fine.
     
    jayparr likes this.
  3. ATL1

    ATL1 Helluva Engineer

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    Im comfortable with O'Reilly too. His girth alone is intriguing
     
    PowderSpringsJacket88 likes this.
  4. Techster

    Techster Helluva Engineer

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    I really liked O'Reilly. He's probably the most versatile center CPJ has had in terms of athleticism and movement. I didn't think there was much of a drop between him and when Finch was out. With more reps and experience, O'Reilly cancels that out. When he was at guard during the spring, he effed up a few times and the coaches were riding him hard, but the times he put it together, he flashed some great potential pulling and getting to the second level. This kid has talent, he just has to put it together every snap. Remember, last season was his first season playing center. There's a good reason he was a 4 star recruit coming out of HS. I think he realized he had to put in an honest days work after the spring to become someone the team can depend on.

    If Burden is better, then he will be multi-year All-ACC player. Just my opinion, but I think O'Reilly has that much talent. If Burden is as good as the message boards talk about, that's going to be nothing but good for the team. As we have seen in the past, our OL can use every body available...even better when the next guy up is just as talented as the guy going out.

    Don't sleep on Muns. I thought he looked great backing up Finch during the spring. He's a little taller center than we've had in Bedfored and Finch, but he more than held his own last spring against the 1's and 2's. Would not surprise me to see CPJ move him somewhere along the line in the future for depth and versatility purposes. It also wouldn't surprise me to see him earn a scholly one day. As we all know, CPJ has a good history of developing walk-on OLs. GT got a steal here when he chose to walk on to our team.
     
  5. dressedcheeseside

    dressedcheeseside Helluva Engineer

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    Great info, thanks!
     
  6. Oldgoldandwhite

    Oldgoldandwhite Helluva Engineer

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    Who will be the long snapper?
     
  7. techman78

    techman78 Helluva Engineer

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    Whether O'Reilly or Burden starts I think we will be in pretty good hands there. Iirc Burden is a pretty big dude too so between him and O'Reilly we will have some real beef at center that we haven't really had since CPJ has been here.
     
  8. 33jacket

    33jacket Helluva Engineer

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    most important position for us on offense other than QB...he calls the line checks...need a good one here.
     
  9. gtg936g

    gtg936g Helluva Engineer

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    Finch was my favorite player on the team last year. He was IMO unappreciated. I bet the DLs we faced remember him.
     
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  10. techman78

    techman78 Helluva Engineer

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    Finch was a warrior, played his entire senior season in pain but it rarely ever showed. Kid had a lot of heart, would love to have 22 Finch, Jamea's, and Godhighs out there.
     
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  11. vamosjackets

    vamosjackets GT Athlete Featured Member

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    Center is one of the positions I'm most worried about. Most of you seem MUCH more optimistic than me on this one. I would not feel good about O'Reilly starting. To me the best hope here is for Burden to be fully recovered and be a high level player. That's a huge question mark.
     
  12. takethepoints

    takethepoints Helluva Engineer

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    I generally agree with Vamos here.

    I think both of the players in question have the physical talent; indeed, more then Finch. The question is can they recognize Ds as well and call the blocks effectively. Here I don't know. What I do know is that neither one of them is that experienced and that game experience is what this part of the game needs. I hope one of them gets up to speed by the 4 - 5th game.
     
  13. jayparr

    jayparr Helluva Engineer

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    As I remember Finch as a first yr. starter; he was young, and made a very good impression. So I believe that since Auto Store has played some, and that Burden has been in the system well maybe they will be up to speed on this matter.
     
    techman78 likes this.
  14. dressedcheeseside

    dressedcheeseside Helluva Engineer

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    It's Auto Parts, get it right. ;)
     
    techman78 likes this.
  15. jayparr

    jayparr Helluva Engineer

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    Yes Sir you got it!
     
  16. vamosjackets

    vamosjackets GT Athlete Featured Member

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    Coaches spoke highly of Finch even from the time he was backing up Bedford. He was talked about as one of our best guys, one of the toughest and more skilled than Bedford. I haven't heard that kind of optimism or much optimism at all from the coaches about O'Reilly. We've heard it some with Burden, but again, the injury brings all of that into serious doubt.
     
  17. jayparr

    jayparr Helluva Engineer

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    I kinda hate to hear that. Maybe Eric could help us out with that. That is very important!
     
  18. Techster

    Techster Helluva Engineer

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    O'Reilly has played guard almost all of his career. Last season was his first at center...and while he was rough around the edges, you could see why he was rated one of the top interior linemen in the country during his senior year in HS. He was woefully out of shape during the spring, in fact, the coaches singled him out and punished him in front of the crowd because he didn't play up to his talent. Even though he was woefully out of shape during the spring, he was still one of the most athletic and mobile offensive linemen we've had. His ability to get to the second level, and the ability to get in front of the ball carrier after the snap is a sight to behold. He did that at guard...so that means he has only played center since last fall. O'Reilly's problem is consistency and concentration. He'll flash on one play, and follow it up with a mystifying play. He just needs more reps at center and not lose focus. Outside of being the QB's blindside blocker at tackle, center is the next most difficult position on the line. It's certainly the most cerebral on offense. You're not going to put a guy there for 6 months and expect him to be a world beater.

    I've heard so much about how coaches raved about this player or that player in the past that I now have a wait and see approach. A lot of the guys we've heard the coaches rave about end up not living up to expectations (David Sims when he was at QB, Michael Summers...though he's still young, Vad...anyone remember him?, Trey Braun). How many times have we counted our chickens before they've hatched based on coach's word? I think we can fill an entire page of threads of the guys we've destined for greatness before they actually played a decent amount of snaps. Like I said in a previous thread, if Burden is better than O'Reilly, then he's going to be very special. In fact, I thought Muns was one of the biggest surprises on the OL during last spring, so if Burden takes the spot from O'Reilly, I wouldn't be surprised to see O'Reilly get moved around the line a bit to take advantage of this skillset.
     
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  19. techman78

    techman78 Helluva Engineer

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    Auto store!! I laughed :D
     
  20. 4shotB

    4shotB Helluva Engineer

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    +1 on this. If a person is drooling over kids on the scout team based on random coaches or internet comments, I think he or she must be relatively new to the process. two things happen - the coaches are trying to build the younger guys up, and it's fairly easy to look good in a practice. (see A. Iverson's comments vis-à-vis "practice" as reference.) Practice speed is not game speed. I too take a wait and see approach with the new players. Show me on Saturday, not Wednesday.
     

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