Georgia Tech offensive-line shortage could continue

Georgia Tech quarterback Jeff Sims (10) celebrates his touchdown with teammates after he scored against Duke during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
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Georgia Tech quarterback Jeff Sims (10) celebrates his touchdown with teammates after he scored against Duke during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Seward

Georgia Tech played against Virginia on Saturday with multiple offensive linemen out because of injury, most notably starting right tackle Jordan Williams. The situation sounds like it could continue as the Yellow Jackets prepare to play Virginia Tech on Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

While coach Geoff Collins has a policy of not talking about injuries, he acknowledged Tuesday that “(I) still don’t know when they’re going to be back.” That referred to Williams and others who did not make the trip to Charlottesville, Va., or whose play was limited – guard Kenny Cooper, guard/tackle Nick Pendley and tackle Kenneth Kirby. (Cooper played a handful of snaps against the Cavaliers.) In their place, Paula Vaipulu made his second career start at left guard and William Lay filled in at right guard, with right guard Ryan Johnson moving to right tackle. Despite being shorthanded, the Jackets accumulated 570 yards of offense, a high for Collins’ tenure, including 270 on the ground.

Offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude praised the play of center Mikey Minihan, whom he said “played the best game that he’s ever played.” Minihan was named the team’s offensive player of the week for his performance against the Cavaliers.

Playing shorthanded against the Hokies may be tougher than it was against the Cavaliers. Virginia Tech is ranked seventh in total defense in the ACC, where Virginia is ranked 12th.

“They have really good athletes, they play lights out, extremely hard,” Patenaude said. “Linebackers fly around. Their secondary is really solid.”

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