Familiar face back on defense for Georgia Tech — and his skills have ‘shot through the roof’

Our favorite photos from Georgia Tech’s 2019 spring game

Telegraph photographer Jason Vorhees' favorite images from Georgia Tech football's 2019 spring game held Friday April 26.
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Telegraph photographer Jason Vorhees' favorite images from Georgia Tech football's 2019 spring game held Friday April 26.

When Georgia Tech plays its annual White and Gold game on Friday, there will be a familiar face in a familiar place on defense.

David Curry returns at middle linebacker and the rising senior has not lost an ounce of his competitiveness during the staff transition.

At the scrimmage on Saturday, the referee working the game threw a flag at Curry for pass interference. Curry couldn’t believe it. He was making a play on a pass and arrived in time to knock the ball to the ground — according to him. The official, however, ruled Curry had gotten there too early and called the penalty.

Curry talked to the ref and pleaded his case, but unsurprisingly there was no change, and the two-minute portion of the scrimmage continued.

Afterward, when the moment was a bit lighter, Curry was asked if that was really pass interference.

“Of course not,” he said with a laugh. “But I should have picked it.”

That’s the way a true playmaker like Curry tends to diagnose things. He had a breakthrough season in 2018, when he was finally healthy, and is a big part of the plans for the new defense in 2019.

Curry, the son of former Atlanta Falcons standout linebacker Buddy Curry, was moved from safety to inside linebacker last season and took his game to a new level. He finished with 28 solo tackles and 29 assists in 13 games, 12 of them starts. (The only game he didn’t start was to complete a mandatory penalty for a targeting call.) He had one interception, recovered a fumble and shared a sack.

Now, under the new defensive scheme being installed this spring, Curry is playing at a supremely confident level.

“I feel like my playmaking ability has shot through the roof this spring,” he said. “And I’m going to showcase it in the spring game.”

There is uncertainty any time a significant staff change is made. There had been some speculation whether Curry would even be asked to return to safety, where he spent his first two seasons. But he learned early in the process that he would stay at middle linebacker and is happy with the results.

“You never really know who they’re going to bring in and what kind of defense they’re going to run,” Curry said. “I sat down with the coaches pretty early and talked about it and started preparing, started watching film in the coach’s office as much as I could. I found out I was going to be playing Mike (middle linebacker) and so I started preparing for that.”

Curry has embraced the new defense, which gives players more freedom — and more responsibility — than last season.

“It’s about players making plays and not about scheme,” he said. “We’re going to stop the run and blitz, like every other defense. But we’re going to give guys the freedom to make plays. It’s a lot of fun. I like this defense a lot.”

New head coach Geoff Collins has tried to generate a higher level of interest for this year’s spring game. He has challenged the fans to break the existing attendance record of 18,125 set in 2012. There is no admission for Friday’s game, which has a 7:29 p.m. kickoff.