Georgia Tech to play spring football game on a Thursday

April 23, 2021 Atlanta - Georgia Tech tight end Dylan Leonard (80) scores a touchdown during the 2021 Spring Game at Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta on Friday, April 23, 2021. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

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April 23, 2021 Atlanta - Georgia Tech tight end Dylan Leonard (80) scores a touchdown during the 2021 Spring Game at Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta on Friday, April 23, 2021. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Georgia Tech, which may have been the first team to regularly position its spring game on Friday nights, will move to new ground this year. Coach Geoff Collins’ fourth spring game will be played on a Thursday night at Bobby Dodd Stadium, on March 17.

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It also comes about a month earlier than the team has normally played its spring game. The reason for the early date is because Collins wanted to get back on the practice field sooner following the Jackets’ third consecutive three-win season. Collins also wanted to finish spring practice before the institute’s spring break rather than have the week off break up the practice schedule. March 18 is the last day of classes before spring break begins.

The kickoff time and TV arrangements have yet to be announced for the St. Patrick’s Day game.

Finishing early also provides extra time for players who sustain injuries during spring practice to heal in time for preseason practice. It also creates a block of time for the team to complete its offseason strength-and-conditioning program without it being interrupted by spring practice, rather than have two extended segments before and after spring practice.

Spring practice will begin Feb. 22.

As for the Thursday date, the Tech athletic department will have several on-campus sporting events taking place the next day – baseball, men’s and women’s tennis, track and field and the NCAA women’s swimming and diving championships – that would make holding the spring game on the same night a logistical and staffing challenge.

An additional reason that the athletic department officials chose Thursday is that they want to have students at the game, and holding it on the Friday before spring break likely would limit student attendance. Holding it Saturday also would not be a possibility as it would be impermissible by NCAA rules to hold spring practice during spring break, according to a team spokesman.

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