Johnson dissatisfied with Tech offense in spring game

Georgia Tech’s spring game was not necessarily a reflection of what transpired for the offense throughout spring practice. Nevertheless, coach Paul Johnson did not experience much delight in what he saw Saturday.

The White team’s offense, which included the starters, was 2-for-12 on third downs. The line was hit and miss in its pass protection, quarterback Justin Thomas threw a number of uncatchable passes and B-back Marcus Marshall, expected to be a focal point of the offense this fall, produced just seven yards on four carries.

The White team gained 76 of its 131 rushing yards on one play, a keeper by Thomas. The unit averaged 2.1 yards per carry otherwise.

On the offensive line, “you had guys who’ve played that repeatedly busted plays,” Johnson said. “That’s the thing that’s disappointing.”

The line, which has had considerable change through spring and was without two-year starter Freddie Burden at center (hand surgery), had been improving in the past two weeks. Saturday, Johnson expressed his dissatisfaction with what he saw as a lack of energy and inconsistent effort.

“It’s hard to play offensive line in this offense and never get on the ground,” he said.

He is holding Thomas, a rising senior and already a two-time captain, accountable to provide energy to the offense.

“Somebody’s going to have to step up and be a leader,” he said. “When we get Freddie back, we’ll have two seniors (on the first-team offense). We’ll have him and the quarterback. The quarterback’s got to bring the energy.”

Thomas agreed with his coach to a point.

“There was some energy and there wasn’t some energy at times,” he said. “It kind of gets to the point where, at the end of spring, you’ve got to try to find the energy. I think we had a few good drives and we’ve just got to stay more consistent.”

Johnson was asked if the offense’s shortcomings were perhaps a reflection of the defense’s progress.

“I hope,” he said. “We’ll see.”