Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson would have liked to have the starting quarterback position determined at the end of spring practice. But even major college football coaches don’t always get what they want.
Matthew Jordan, who went into preseason practice as the leading candidate to start, did not make the job his through nine days of practice, Johnson said after the team’s Saturday morning scrimmage at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Jordan is returning from a foot injury suffered halfway through spring practice that helped open the door for competitors. He is trying to fend off TaQuon Marshall and redshirt freshmen Lucas Johnson and Jay Jones.
“Quarterback play was spotty,” Johnson said. “I thought it didn’t unfold like I thought it might going in. We’re no closer there than I thought we were.”
Johnson said that while the backups all led scoring drives, the quarterbacks didn’t throw the ball well. Drops and poor pass protection also were issues Saturday morning.
“Jay’s a big play waiting to happen for somebody,” he said. “But he did a better job taking care of the ball (Saturday).”
In fact, the offense, over the course of roughly 85 plays, did not turn the ball over once, an unusual accomplishment for the first scrimmage of the preseason. (Or, if you prefer, a disconcerting shortcoming for the Tech defense.) Johnson said that Lucas Johnson had a long run and that Marshall “had some nice plays.”
Lucas Johnson, of whom Paul Johnson said in July that his biggest challenge was his confidence, said that he sometimes has it.
“He’s got to get a lot more confident and get a lot more mature,” Johnson said.
Johnson won’t be in a rush to publicly name a starter going into the season opener against Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game Sept. 4 in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
“Our guys, they’ll know who the quarterback is,” Johnson said. “I don’t know that we’ll tell the other team who the quarterback is.”
The Yellow Jackets will go through one more week in “camp” mode, during which the focus will be on practicing and improving their own schemes and techniques, before attention will turn to the Volunteers on Aug. 21.