Tech wraps up practice before T-Day game

In Georgia Tech’s last spring practice before the T-Day game Saturday, coaches went relatively light on the team Wednesday. The Yellow Jackets practiced in helmets and shorts, a break from the rigors of full-pads practices. The practice was three periods shorter than normal, 21 to 24.

“Spring’s pretty brutal,” B-back Preston Lyons said. “It’s so physical, at this point, everyone’s just hanging on by a thread, so it’s nice to have a couple days off before the spring game.”

Coach Paul Johnson was a few degrees less than glowing in his assessment of the team’s progress over the spring.

“We got some things accomplished,” he said. “I’m not sure you ever get everything you want done.”

Ball security, which was a priority for Johnson heading into the spring, would be one of those things. Last season, Tech lost 20 fumbles, tied for most in FBS (formerly Division I-A), not a small factor in the Jackets’ 6-7 record. Tech lost 12 fumbles in 2009 and also lost 20 in 2008, Johnson’s first season. Johnson described the progress as “OK.”

“Some guys got better, some didn’t,” Johnson said. “If they’re not better at it, they won’t play.”

Rosters set

Coaches have set the rosters for the scrimmage, but won’t release them until Saturday. They largely will pair the first- and second-string offenses and defenses against each other. The scrimmage is expected to last about two hours. The first half will run under standard clock operations, but the second half will be timed more liberally.

Johnson said he will take an observational role Saturday, as usual. “It’s fun for me because I’m not involved,” he said. “I’m just in the middle and just watch.”

Inside linebackers Daniel Drummond and Julian Burnett, who have worn non-contact jerseys in recent practices to protect injuries, are expected to play Saturday.


Lyons is among players who will mourn the closing of Junior’s Grill, an on-campus restaurant that opened in 1948. Its final day of operation will be Thursday. “I used to get my cheeseburger basket every time I went over there,” he said. “That’s sad news for me.” ... On Saturday, parking lots will be open and parking will be free until noon. Festivities begin outside the stadium at 11 a.m., when the gates will open. Several former Tech players now in the NFL are expected to be in attendance. Tech’s baseball team will play Boston College at Russ Chandler Stadium at 3 p.m.