Georgia Tech concludes its spring practice Friday night at Bobby Dodd Stadium with its annual spring game, starting at 7 p.m. Admission is free. Before the game, five updates from the Yellow Jackets’ four weeks of practice.
1. Format for the spring game
The first-string offense and second-team defense are on the blue team, and first-string defense and second-string defense on the white team. First strings will play each other, and same with second strings.
The game will be played with a running clock in the second half. Last year’s game took about an hour and 40 minutes. Quarterbacks will be in non-contact jerseys, except for walk-on Mark Rew on the blue team. Coach Paul Johnson said that the quarterbacks came to him Wednesday and asked to play live, but Johnson turned the request down.
The quarterbacks have been non-contact through all of spring, in no small part to keep the three scholarship quarterbacks upright and, he said, “there’s no reason to start in the spring game.”
2. Honing the fundamentals
You may have read it in the story I wrote about defensive coordinator Nate Woody’s remarks from his media availability Wednesday, but one point he returned to at least twice was the importance of teaching fundamentals over scheme. He made a point, in fact, of saying he wasn’t looking to install the whole defense during spring practice. (He said he did install the base defense against an offense with a quarterback under center.)
“All the other things, all the gimmicks and mirrors and all that stuff for a defense – show one thing, do something else – that’s easy to do,” Woody said. “Again, I know I’m repeating myself, but getting off blocks, that’s hard to do.”
3. Who might play Friday
The team released the rosters for the spring game, which gives an idea of what the lineups will be, but it’s not entirely clear, as injured players also are on the roster, and Johnson has not been exceedingly clear about which players won’t participate Friday.
A guess at the lineups for the first-string offense vs. the first-string defense.
Offense: Quarterback TaQuon Marshall. B-back KirVonte Benson. A-backs Qua Searcy and Clinton Lynch. Offensive tackles Zach Quinney and Jahaziel Lee. Guards Charlie Clark and Brad Morgan. Center Boe Tufele. Wide receivers Brad Stewart and Jalen Camp.
Defense: Cornerbacks Lamont Simmons and Ajani Kerr. Defensive ends Anree Saint-Amour and Desmond Branch. Nose tackle: Kyle Cerge-Henderson. Outside linebackers Victor Alexander and Charlie Thomas. Inside linebackers Brant Mitchell and Bruce Jordan-Swilling. Safeties: Christian Campbell and Tariq Carpenter.
4. More praise for Chris Martin
To the chorus of Tech players singing the praises of nose tackle Chris Martin, add linebacker and captain Brant Mitchell.
“He’s done a really good job,” Mitchell said. “I know he’s made some plays in the scrimmages and stuff.”
Martin, who barely played last season as a redshirt freshman, will play for the white team Friday. He is No. 96.
Mitchell also pointed out early-enrollee freshman linebacker Quez Jackson as another surprise.
“He’s showing off, he’s playing good,” Mitchell said. “He’s got some good instincts.”
5. More tackles for loss coming?
Another quote from Mitchell that Tech fans should find encouraging. Woody came to Tech from Appalachian State, where the Mountaineers ranked in the top 30 nationally in tackles for loss twice in the past three years.
“I think we’ll definitely have some more tackles for losses this season,” he said. “With this defense, it’s just what comes with it. I can’t really go into what all is going to make it happen, but it’ll happen.”
Tech ranked in the bottom 30 nationally each of the past four years.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.