By Gabriel Stovall
ATLANTA, Ga. — It was all new last Thursday for Patrick Skov.
Everything from his brand new role at a brand new school in a brand new offense, down to his first time sitting in front of press row after his Georgia Tech debut against Alcorn State, as evidenced by his reply to the first question asked of him.
“Am I allowed to answer?” he asked, drawing a few chuckles from the media contingent.
Before the Stanford transfer got comfortable in front of the press, his play showed he was incredibly at ease on the field. His 12 carries in the No. 16 Yellow Jackets’ 69-6 pummeling of Alcorn State were as many as he had during his entire 2014 season at Stanford, and his 72 rushing yards are more than anything Skov has seen in the previous three years of his career combined, let alone one game.
“I was joking with Patrick in the locker room after the game, and I told him he doubled his career rushing yards (Thursday night),” said Tech coach Paul Johnson.
He also showed himself to be a very formidable offensive threat in Johnson’s triple option attack.
On the three times he found the end zone, Skov showed an assortment of running skill from his B-back position — the spot in Tech’s triple option offense that most closely resembles the traditional fullback Skov has grown accustomed to.
His first touchdown run came when he churned his way in from four yards out at the 8:47 mark in the first quarter to give Georgia Tech a 13-0 lead. Late in the game he had another similar short run, displaying his ability to get the grind-it-out tough yards.
But it was his second score of the day — a 21-yard touchdown scamper on a fullback trap play — where the 6-foot-1, 236 pounder displayed good open field running ability and speed for his size.
That play was the longest run of his career, and perhaps the highlight that most succinctly described how different his role in the Georgia Tech offense is from what he played during his time at the Pac-12 Conference school.
“Yeah, it’s a new role for sure,” Skov said. “After four years of playing traditional fullback, I would say this was definitely a unique experience than what I’ve experienced the last four years in my football career. I’ve never had 12 carries in a game, and that (amount of carries) was probably, like, in a half.”
Despite the stark differences, Skov said not everything in his new position was foreign. Both the B-back position and his Stanford fullback spot called for lots of contact and tons of blocking, but the new emphasis on ball carrying was indeed a welcome change.
“I’m not going to say I like one more than the other,” Skov said. “But it was a new opportunity and it’s time to take advantage of it.”
Skov, a native of Guadalajara, Mexico, also took note of the differing nuances of the game day atmosphere on The Flats, as opposed to what he experienced at Stanford.
“I think the walk off the bus to the stadium, I think it’s called the Jacketwalk. I’m not sure,” he said. “I’m still learning. I might have said that wrong. But that walk was like my first kind of Georgia Tech football atmosphere exposure. You could feel the juice flowing from the fans and it gets you excited for the game. The first thing that kinda hit me, was like, ‘Ah, here we are. Welcome to Georgia Tech.'”
Speaking of warm welcomes, the Tech faithful got the chance to witness an early coming out party of sorts from one of Skov’s backfield mates, B-back Marcus Marshall. The true freshman from Raleigh, North Carolina’s 184 yards came on just eight carries, and his first touchdown run — a 49-yard burst — happened on his first collegiate touch.
And both Johnson and Skov seemed excited about the prospects of the thunder and lightening-type combo.
“Oh it’s good having that kind of combination in the backfield,” Johnson said. “Marcus Marshall is a jump around kind of speed back, and Patrick’s gonna look you up and run you over. That’s a pretty good combination.”
Said Skov of Marshall: “I love that kid. He’s a young buck. It was both of our first games at Georgia Tech, but he’s a talented kid and he’s only going to get better. We’re going to get better and feed off each other. We’ll be alright if our two B-backs score five touchdowns a game, I think.”
Some additional remarks from Skov about his first Georgia Tech experience:
ON THE IN-GAME ATMOSPHERE AT BOBBY DODD STADIUM: “It was fun. Once you kind of buckle the chinstrap, you just get lost in the football game. But I enjoy the atmosphere here, and hopefully we’ll keep the vibes going.”
ON QUARTERBACK JUSTIN THOMAS: “I love JT. That’s my boy. He kind of drives the car. He’s what makes the offense go, and one of the things I learned kind of quickly was how my position at the B-back position works off the quarterback. Sometimes one person will have a better game than the other, but he’s the driver. It’s up to him to give or pull and take whatever the defense gives us. He kind of dishes it out like a point guard.”
ON GOING INTO THE STANDS TO CELEBRATE HIS FIRST SCORE: “Let’s not talk about that (laughter).” Let’s just ignore it. It never happened. Hopefully nobody saw that except you guys. I didn’t get a penalty for it, and I didn’t get yelled at. I’m sure it’s gonna get paused on film on Monday.”
SHOWING HIS BILINGUAL SKILLS: After one reporter asked Skov a question in Spanish, Skov answered back in kind. After being asked to translate, Skov stated: “He just asked me how it felt for my first game being out here, and I just said that hopefully every game goes like this one went, but it’s on to next week. But I’m proud of the way the team performed. And here we go.”