November 5, 2009

Edwards ready to fill the void

Mario Edwards came off the bench at halftime to spark the Georgia Tech defense against Vandy. Edwards came in at free safety to replace Dominique Reese, who missed two key tackles in the open field in the first half. Edwards recorded five tackles in the game, which eclipsed his total by two for the entire season.

His play has given him the opportunity to make his first career start this weekend after Coach Dave Wommack opened the competition at free safety up during practice. Edwards says, "We'll see come Saturday, but right now I'm running with the ones in practice. I just need to make sure that I know my assignments, fill my gaps, make the correct pass reads at free safety, and just make plays for the team."

Edwards is in his second year at Georgia Tech after transferring from Virginia Tech in 2007. The red-shirt junior began the season as a reserve linebacker slotted to help out at the Wolf position. As the season has progressed, however, injuries have left Tech thin in the secondary and as a result, Edwards has slid back over into his role as a defensive back.

According to him, "Changing positions this season has helped train my eyes to see different angles on the football field. It has been a blessing to play different positions, but I feel more relaxed now that I am back at the free safety position. This was the first time that I have ever played linebacker and my natural position is at safety."

Edwards is looking forward to the challenge this weekend of going up against Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons are one of the top offenses in the ACC, ranking fifth in the conference with nearly 400 total yards of offense per game. Wake Forest also has three highly talented players at wide receiver that Tech will have to contend with. Marshall Williams, Devon Brown, and Chris Givens all rank in the top 15 in total receiving yards.

Edwards recognizes the difficult task ahead for their defense. He describes Wake by saying, "I see a team that is pretty talented on film. They are a good offensive team and it is going to be a good game. It's probably one of the best offenses that we are going to face this year and we need to be ready to seize the opportunity when it presents itself."

The one question mark for Wake Forest this week has been the health of quarterback Riley Skinner. Skinner has been held out of practice so far this week after he suffered a mild concussion against Miami and is listed as questionable on the injury report. Skinner is a fourth year starter that has put up gaudy statistics for his career. He owns school records for pass completions, attempts, yards, and touchdowns as well as completion percentage and passing efficiency. He also currently ranks seventh all time in ACC history with 8,900 career passing yards. Needless to say, the Jackets will have their hands full if he is healthy enough to play.

The Jackets are covering all angles and they will also prepare for back-up quarterback Ryan McManus, who is a fifth year senior. Edwards says, "We are preparing for every quarterback because you never know what's going to happen on Saturday. Their offense reminds me a lot of ours because they have many misdirection plays. We just have to train our eyes; stay focused with our players and handle our responsibilities."

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