Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson has said all along that the decision on when safety Isaiah Johnson would return to practice after suffering a serious knee injury in December would be up to the player. The coach lived up to his word when Isaiah Johnson informed him that he wanted to use his redshirt season and not play this season.
“I don’t know his body,” the coach said. “He’s the only guy that knows when he’s ready.”
Johnson suffered the injury — a tear of his anterior, lateral and posterior collateral ligaments — during bowl practice in December. He was cleared to return to practice, but said Sept. 10 that he didn’t want to return until his knee felt consistent. His candidacy as an NFL draft prospect was also a consideration.
Isaiah Johnson informed his coach Sunday that he didn’t feel comfortable yet and wanted to redshirt, Paul Johnson said. The two-year starting safety played as a freshman and thus can sit out a season and return as a fifth-year senior in 2014. He then would have had more than 12 months of recovery time before he next takes the field.
“I think he feels like he’ll be 100 percent in the spring when we start back,” Johnson said.
The decision came as Tech is encountering other injuries at safety. Starters Chris Milton and Jamal Golden left Saturday’s win over North Carolina with injuries. Golden practiced Sunday evening, as Tech started its practice week a day early to prepare for the Thursday night game against Virginia Tech, but Milton did not. Johnson did not specify the injuries, but Golden’s appeared to be to his upper body.
Domonique Noble and Demond Smith played most of the game at safety. Noble in particular played well and likely would start if either Milton or Golden can’t return.
Injury report: Outside linebacker Quayshawn Nealy did not practice Sunday. Regarding Milton, Nealy and Golden, Johnson said their status for Thursday’s game wouldn’t be known until later in the week.
A-back Deon Hill probably is out for the game, Johnson said. Hill has missed the past two games because of an illness. Johnson said “they’re still working on it” and that he should be back for the Miami game Oct. 5. Johnson said he had no idea whether offensive tackle Morgan Bailey will be able to play. Bailey was cleared for the Duke game after returning from sports hernia surgery, but suffered another injury before the North Carolina game.
Players of the week: A-back Robert Godhigh, defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu and punter Sean Poole were named the offensive, defensive and special-teams players of the week for their performances against North Carolina. Godhigh had a career-high 100 rushing yards on nine carries and also blocked eight defenders to the ground, including one to spring A-back Charles Perkins’ key 26-yard run.
Attaochu’s pass rushing drew a holding penalty that brought back an 82-yard touchdown pass that would have given North Carolina a 27-14 third-quarter lead. He finished with three tackles, including a sack. Poole averaged 46.5 yards per punt as the punt unit netted 40.8 yards.
Throwback jerseys: The athletic department released a photo of the throwback jersey that the team will wear Thursday night. It is a white jersey with blue numbers and blue and gold stripes on the sleeves. They are from the early-1950s era of uniforms, when the team matched the jerseys with gold pants. Tech wore gold helmets in that time period, but without the interlocking “GT” on them. The jerseys are available at the Barnes & Noble on 5th Street in Midtown.
“Awesome,” guard Will Jackson said. “I’m keeping mine. I’m not turning that one back in. I’m simple. I love our home jerseys this year, but I definitely like the fact that it’s just clean, very simple.”
The student government association is sponsoring a white-out for the game. Fans are asked to wear white.
Etc.: Johnson said he hadn’t looked into various players making a political statement during Saturday’s game by writing the initials “APU” on wristbands or towels. APU stands for “All Players United,” a movement spurred by the National Collegiate Players Association, an advocacy group seeking NCAA reform. “I don’t think there was a whole lot to it,” Johnson said. … Johnson’s summation of the video review of Tech’s 28-20 win over North Carolina: “We did some things OK and a lot of things not so good. … We made some individual plays, but I wouldn’t say we played great.”
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