Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington is the starter heading into summer camp, but his shaky performance in the spring game left open the possibility that another leader could emerge this summer. Washington threw three interceptions, lost two fumbles, was sacked three times and completed 10 of 26 passes. Backup Synjyn Days ran for 112 yards and led his team to a 21-7 win. I caught up with Days to look back at the spring and the competition that lies ahead this summer. Here are the highlights of our conversation:
Was the spring game the highlight of the spring for you? Was that indicative of how the rest of the spring went for you, or was it out of nowhere?
Synjyn Days: The spring was kind of like that some days, and some days it didn’t go so well. I was just trying to put on a show for the fans and show the coaches what I could do.
Do you get the sense that the competition is better than it was going into the spring?
SD: Yes, because during the spring I wasn’t really sure how the competition was going to be, and now I feel like I closed the gap or maybe even have the chance to start this upcoming year. I’m just trying to do the best I can.
Now let me get this right, your mom coached you? When?
SD: She coached offensive and defensive line in middle school.
How did that happen?
SD: My dad, he was the head coach, and we were kind of short on coaches. My mom said she could help out. From sixth grade to eighth grade, she coached offensive line. She knows when the offensive line messes up. It’s pretty special having the whole family involved in football.
What was it like having her coach you?
SD: At first it was kind of weird, because I wasn’t used to seeing my mom out there trying to coach football players and whatnot, but after a while I kind of got used to it, and she seemed like another regular coach to me. On the field I wouldn’t call them mom and dad, I’d call them Coach Calvin and Coach Paula. That was kind of weird in the beginning, but after a while I got used to it.
Did you play offensive line when you were that young?
SD: No, I played quarterback and running back. We had meetings, I met with the coaches, I would go into meetings with them because I had to know every position on the field.
How involved is she still with your playing career? Is she still like a coach to you?
SD: She can tell when I’m rattled on the field, if I’m upset about anything. I can hear her voice, pick her voice out of everybody in the entire crowd. It’s crazy. In high school I was able to do that, and even during the spring game I was able to hear her voice. She’s like "calm down." I’ll shake my head, "yes."
How important is it to you to get a legitimate shot at being Georgia Tech’s quarterback this year?
SD: I feel like it’s a pretty good opportunity for me. I feel like my athletic ability and the things that God has put in my life, the situations God has put in my life, I feel like has helped me go through a lot of adversity, which can come on the field and be able to lead this team to another ACC championship.
What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
SD: Just learning the offense in general. In high school I ran the triple option, so I knew some of the same reads, but understanding the defense on top of the checks I have to make, it’s one of the biggest changes from high school to college.
How much more do you feel like you have to do this summer to prove to the coaches you can be the guy?
SD: I feel like I can improve every aspect. Even though I run the ball pretty well, I can work on everything -- my footwork, my passing, work with receivers and A-backs in the summer, getting on the same page, scrambling out of the pocket, trying to make sure the A-backs and receivers know to come up to me, so I can get a pass off, not just keep running downfield running their route, try to make a play happen.