Quarterback Justin Thomas didn’t notice too much about the freshman tackle’s play Saturday, but Thomas insists that’s a good thing.
“(Lee) went out there, he did what he was supposed to do,” Thomas said. “He played with a lot of energy, you could see on film. As the game progressed, you saw him getting better. I think he’ll have a bright future, and that’s just one start out of many I think he’ll have.”
Even with the excitement of being Tech’s current starter at left tackle, Lee’s goal is to keep progressing every day as the Jackets’ approach the bye week. The most important improvement Lee will focus on for the Jackets’ next five games is knowing his assignments.
Lee wasn’t the only young lineman who earned a start against Southern. Next to Lee on Saturday was roommate and left guard Parker Braun.
Braun, also a freshman, made his second start. Although he has one more start under his belt than Lee, Braun watched his roommate during the offensive line film review on Sunday and was impressed.
“Watching the film, there’s a couple of missed assignments there, but everyone has a couple missed assignments in their first start, but he really fired off the ball and got a couple good knock downs,” Braun said. “He looked really good.”
To improve as a whole, Braun knows the offensive line must get stronger over time, but in the short term, Braun stressed the front five must gain more confidence on the field and copy Lee’s example of “firing off the ball” during each play.
Thomas believes the offensive line has improved continually during the season, even with two freshman on the left side against Southern. Against the Eagles, Thomas earned his highest quarterback rating of the season (225.0), throwing 7-for-11 for 171 yards and one touchdown and rushing for two touchdowns — one with a 58-yard run.
“(The offensive line) is playing with more confidence from playing the first game to the last one, even with the moving puzzle (pieces) that we have they’re still going in and just fitting right in place, doing what they’re supposed to do,” Thomas said. We just have to keep that going these last five weeks.”