April 20, 2018 Atlanta - Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson instructs after 2018 Georgia Tech Football Spring Game at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Friday, April 20, 2018. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Paul Johnson OK with uncertainty in Tech starting line

Three days before Georgia Tech’s season opener against Alcorn State on Saturday, the starting offensive line for Tech is not quite set.

In the team’s Wednesday practice, a different lineup was used than the one on the depth chart released Tuesday. This one included Will Bryan at left tackle, whereas the version on the depth chart had him at right tackle.

“Hell, I don’t know,” Johnson said when asked for an update on the lineup for the line. “They change their mind every day.”

What is clear is that Bryan will start, along with center Jahaziel Lee and left guard Parker Braun.

“After that, I can’t tell you, brother,” Johnson said.

Johnson said that the lack of clarity is because line coaches Mike Sewak and Ron West have not decided what would constitute the best five. Tackle candidates are Zach Quinney, Andrew Marshall and Bryan. At guard, Braun is locked in at left guard, and Brad Morgan and Bryan are possibilities at right guard. Johnson said he was not frustrated by Sewak and West not having a final answer.

“I’m sure they’re trying to go off who’s practicing the best and they’re trying to use it for motivation,” he said.

The options that Tech has on the line point to the unit’s depth. It will be further bolstered when center Kenny Cooper returns from a foot injury, expected to be next week. Johnson said Tuesday that, upon Cooper’s return, the line will be as deep as it has been “in a long time.”

Johnson would like to have rotations across the line, and he could have such a situation, with the exception of Braun being a fixture at left guard.

“I prefer to have more guys that can play because then they’re well-rested, they don’t get as tired,” Johnson said.

Beyond the aforementioned seven – Braun, Bryan, Cooper, Lee, Marshall, Morgan and Quinney – Johnson also mentioned Charlie Clark as the No. 4 guard. Bailey Ivemeyer and Jack DeFoor also are possibilities at tackle.

“If you get to eight, it’s really good,” Johnson said. “Eight’s a really good number if you can get there. Nine would be great.”

Georgia Tech opens its 126th season Saturday against Alcorn State at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Jackets return 15 starters from last year's 5-6 team. Alcorn State is the four-time defending Southwestern Athletic Conference East Division champion. Tech is 88-34-4 all-time in season openers. The Jackets are 8-2 in season openers with Paul Johnson as coach. Tech opened the 2015 season against Alcorn State with a 69-6 win. The 2015 season opener marked the last time Tech scored 28 points or more (34) in a quarter.

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