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The first detail to note is that Georgia Tech spent much of the day double-teaming UVa’s gunners (the players who line up in the “wide receiver” spots on the field) on the outside of the punt formation. That strategy keeps those players from sprinting down the field as easily and disrupting the return game. Of course, that also frees up the players on the line to move forward more easily because there is less traffic in the middle of the field. Coaches are willing to make the trade because the interior players aren’t as fast.
This is where Clark comes into Saturday’s equation. With GT doubling the gunners, Clark was able to run more freely from his spot on the interior of the line. As it turns out, he was the first player to arrive on the scene as Andrew Smith tried to secure the punt. The ball bounced off his shoulder pads and Clark immediately leveled him. That allowed Womack to dive on the fumbled football.
“I’m the guard right beside the long snapper,” Clark said. “Georgia Tech, they didn’t bring a lot of inside pressure so the guards were able to get out quick and run, which was able to help out the stingers, which are our widest players, because they were double-teaming our stingers all day. So it was our job as guards to try to get down there and disrupt the returner as much as possible.”
The fortunate turn of events negated what had been a good return day for Tech. But first things first. Ryan Weigand continued his strong start to the season, booting two more 50+-yard kicks on Saturday against Georgia Tech. With 8 more punts covering 379 yards (47.4 average), he now averages 48.6 yards per punt on the season. Solid.
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