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Johnson, Jackets ready to start spring practice
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ATLANTA — Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson will get his first true look at the 2008 Yellow Jackets when spring football practice begins Monday afternoon. Spring drills conclude with the spring game April 19 at 1 p.m.

“I have been pleased, for the most part, with our guys in conditioning,” Johnson said. “We’re anxious to get started on Monday.”

The Yellow Jackets will have 14 practices between Monday and the spring game with sessions generally falling on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturdays.

Gone from last year's 7-6 team (4-4 in the ACC) are 13 starters, including the ACC's two-time leading rusher Tashard Choice. The Yellow Jackets must also fill holes on the offensive line, replace two-thirds of the starting linebacker corps and three-fourths of the starting secondary.

Also gone is perhaps the best kicker-punter duo in Georgia Tech history. Kicker Travis Bell was the second-leading scorer in school history and punter Durant Brooks was the 2007 Ray Guy Award winner.

Georgia Tech returns 51 letterwinners and nine starters off of last year's team that finished 7-6 and played in the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl. Among the returning starters are first team All-ACC performers senior offensive tackle Andrew Gardner and senior defensive tackle Vance Walker. The Yellow Jackets return a strong nucleus at wide receiver, a number of young running backs and slot backs, and three senior veterans on the defensive line.

The Yellow Jackets open the 2008 season with a Thursday night home game, Aug. 28 vs. Jacksonville State.