Paul Johnson likes team’s fitness level

August 4, 2017 Atlanta - Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson watches over the first the first day of Georgia Tech football practice at Rose Bowl Field in Georgia Tech campus on Friday, August 4, 2017. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

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August 4, 2017 Atlanta - Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson watches over the first the first day of Georgia Tech football practice at Rose Bowl Field in Georgia Tech campus on Friday, August 4, 2017. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Paul Johnson wasn’t completely satisfied – he rarely is – but he liked the way his Georgia Tech team looked Friday in its first practice of the preseason.

“I think we’ve got a lot of guys who are in great shape,” Johnson said following the practice. “We’ve got some guys that have got to work on it, but that’s always the way it is. But we’ve got a lot of guys who have worked really hard in the offseason. There’s no question. You can tell by the way they look.”

Friday was the first of 26 scheduled practices in advance of the season opener Sept. 4 against Tennessee in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Johnson, as he is wont to say, said there wasn’t too much to learn about his team given that players were in helmets and shorts with no pads. Players go through a five-day acclimatization period to prepare them to play full contact.

“Really hard to tell about anybody,” he said. “A lot of guys look good in shorts.”

At the media day Thursday, players testified to the work they put in during the summer workouts led by strength-and-conditioning coach John Sisk. A-back Qua Searcy said the team ran more than it had in previous summers.

“I feel like this summer has been the hardest summer I’ve been through,” Searcy said. “I guess it was just one of those things where we were trying to build on what we already started and not just have one year, a good year, and the next year, we slack a little bit.”

Searcy said that Sisk told the team that it wouldn’t be an easy summer.

“He was right about it,” Searcy said. “It’s been the toughest time of my life.”

Tough enough to loathe Sisk?

“Not so much coach Sisk,” he said. “It’s one of those things, like, ‘Man, I hate football.’ You have to kind of second guess it, but at the end of the day, you have to realize it’s for the better.”

Quarterback TaQuon Marshall experienced the summer similarly.

“This has probably been one of the best offseasons since I’ve been here,” Marshall said. “Honestly, everybody’s been working really hard, everybody’s been going in the indoor (practice facility). A lot of guys go in there and get extra work in during the week. This, honestly, has been probably one of the hardest that I’ve heard since I’ve been here.”

Johnson said he did not give orders for the intensity of the workouts to be dialed up.

“They say that every year pretty much,” Johnson said.