Georgia Tech’s annual spring game pits Team Swarm vs. Team Wreck ‘Em

Game time is 1 p.m. Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium
Georgia Tech quarterback Haynes King (10) attempts a pass during their first day of spring football practice at Rose Bowl Field, Monday, March 11, 2024, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz/AJC

Credit: Jason Getz/AJC

Georgia Tech quarterback Haynes King (10) attempts a pass during their first day of spring football practice at Rose Bowl Field, Monday, March 11, 2024, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz /

There will be a few keen points of interest during Saturday’s annual White and Gold game inside Bobby Dodd Stadium, two of those finer points being how many points will Georgia Tech’s offensive players be able to put up? And will Tech’s new-look defense be able to slow that unit at all?

“The offense and the defense both compete with each other. It’ll be fun to watch,” Tech safety LaMiles Brooks said. “We’re all very close, so they’ll probably be a little bit of trash talk, they’ll be a lot of celebrating.”

Brooks has seen a change or two in his time with the Yellow Jackets since arriving in 2020. Heck, he played for two defensive coordinators (Andrew Thacker and Kevin Sherrer) during the 2023 season alone.

Now Brooks and his defensive teammates are under the direction of Tyler Santucci who was brought in this offseason to retool the Tech defense, not necessarily schematically but culturally. Santucci’s 4-2-5 base system has produced quality results at Texas A&M and then Duke. At 1 p.m. Saturday, Tech fans will get a first look at how it will operate come game time.

“I think maybe it’s not more of what we’re doing, it’s how we’re doing it, how we go about our business, how we attend meetings, the intent when we approach those things. The intent when we cross the lines, how we play together, how we swarm to the football,” Santucci said earlier this spring. “I think those things are critically important, like, foundationally. I think defense has got to start there. First it’s like how we go about our business, and then it’s like, ‘Hey, this is what we’re doing, and this is why we’re doing it.’ So right now the most important part to me is how we practice, how we pay attention in meetings. How we communicate with one another, I think is critically important, visually and verbally.”

Santucci’s defense won’t get a break at 1 p.m. Saturday, when it goes up against a Tech offense that virtually has everyone returning from a 2023 team that scored points in bunches. Quarterback Haynes King (and his backup Zach Pyron), running backs Jamal Haynes and Trey Cooley, four of the team’s five top wide receivers and four of five starting offensive linemen all could see the field Saturday.

“I just expect us to go out there and compete, be us and do the same thing we did last year: put up a lot of points,” receiver Malik Rutherford said about the matchup Saturday.

Saturday’s scrimmage will have the Jackets split into Team Swarm and Team Wreck ‘Em, with quarterbacks available to play for both. The teams will play two 12-minute quarters with a standard clock ahead of an eight-minute halftime. The game will conclude with two 15-minute periods with a running clock.

All offensive players (minus quarterbacks) will wear white jerseys and all defensive players will wear gold jerseys. Rosters for Saturday’s scrimmage were announced Friday, with Haynes, receivers Eric Singleton and Malik Rutherford among those playing for Team Swarm and defensive end Eddie Kelly and linebacker Jackson Hamilton among those suiting up for Team Wreck ‘Em.

“I’ve been pleased. Not satisfied by any means, but pleased with the guys that have come out to work every day,” Tech coach Brent Key told radio station 680 The Fan on Friday. “I think we’ve gotten better every day, and that’s what I challenged them to do is take it one week at a time and sit down on a Monday in a team meeting and then let’s work for seven days, and on that next Monday let’s say we all improved, individually first as a player and then collectively as a position and each side of the football and as a team. I think we’ve made progress, and I’ve been pleased with it.”