A-back picture clearing up

Perhaps the deepest position on the team, the A-back competition appears to be in the hands of the veterans.

Returning starter Robbie Godhigh looks like a lock to keep his starting spot. After that, juniors Deon Hill and B.J. Bostic are in the hunt, along with junior Synjyn Days. Another junior, Tony Zenon, has been sidelined with a hamstring injury, hampering his bid.

“All those guys, Deon, Robbie, B.J., Dennis (Andrews), Synjyn, all those guys have been having a really good camp,” A-backs coach Lamar Owens said.

One of the most impressive players of spring practice, redshirt freshman Dennis Andrews has ground to make up.

“Dennis, he can improve in every aspect of the game, but he’s doing enough to where you would probably feel comfortable putting him in the game for a few plays here and there,” Owens said.

Following Monday’s practice, Owens said he didn’t yet have an idea of who would start opposite Godhigh in the spot left vacant by the graduation of Orwin Smith. Consistency and versatility will be crucial. Owens said he would imagine that the rotation will probably involve three or four players.

Days, who converted to A-back from quarterback prior to last season, is much improved and more comfortable. He is catching the ball better and can be a forceful player on the perimeter. Charles Perkins, who moved over from B-back at the end of the spring, is improving, but not in the picture at this point.

“I don’t think anything’s set in stone yet because there’s still a lot of competing to do,” Owens said. “We still have about six more practices in camp and a whole two weeks before we play.”

Practice report: After their first off day in preseason camp Sunday, the Yellow Jackets practiced for just under two hours Monday afternoon in full pads. It was their 12th practice of camp. Coach Paul Johnson described the practice as "a little lethargic," the second Monday in a row that he used that adjective.

“It wasn’t what we need,” he said.

Asked who made the best play of the day, offensive lineman Will Jackson offered a lineman’s perspective.

“Vad (Lee) looked good, Justin (Thomas) looked good, David (Sims) ran hard,” he said. “It’s a lot tougher to evaluate (as a lineman). I’d like to just think that I’m doing my job and when the whistle’s blown, I’ll look up and hopefully the ball’s 70 yards downfield.”

Injury report: Offensive tackle and backup center Ray Beno (undisclosed injury) did not return, nor did center Jay Finch, who is recovering from shoulder surgery.

“He went to the doctor and never made it to practice,” Johnson said of Finch.

Offensive lineman Errin Joe, who suffered an apparent shoulder injury in Saturday’s scrimmage, will be out for about a week, Johnson said. Safety Isaiah Johnson, returning from a torn ACL, is progressing, but a return date has not been set.

Mercer in '16: Tech has scheduled Mercer for a game in September 2016 at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mercer, which is playing football this season for the first time since 1941, will play in the Pioneer Football League, a non-scholarship FCS league, this year and will be starting its third season in the Southern Conference in 2016. Tech's first-ever game was against Mercer in 1892.

It is part of an effort to play in-state teams, athletic director Mike Bobinski said in a statement. On top of the annual Georgia game, Tech will play Georgia Southern next year. Associate athletic director Ryan Bamford said he has had discussions with Georgia State, but that the Panthers’ move to FBS has complicated matters.

Tech’s other non-conference opponents for 2016 are Vanderbilt (home) and Georgia (away). The team needs one more game to fill out the schedule.