Former Georgia Tech QB starter James Graham accepts backup role

While losing the starting quarterback job to Jeff Sims and even falling off the “Above the Line” chart, Georgia Tech quarterback James Graham has earned offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude’s admiration for how he has handled this season.

Patenaude said that Graham has continued to prepare and be ready and has handled with maturity going from starting eight games last season as a redshirt freshman to being behind Sims and backups Jordan Yates and Tucker Gleason. After Graham finished last season as a starter and showed promise as a playmaker with his arm and feet, it was thought that he had the inside track to being the starter as a sophomore. Sims' play in practice in the spring and in the preseason changed the situation.

“It’s tough,” Patenaude said Tuesday. “It’s tough when you were that guy and now you’re not playing, but his demeanor has been great. He’s got a big smile on his face 95% of the time, he’s doing great academically, he’s handling himself off the field, so I couldn’t be any more proud of what he’s doing.”

Graham was not at the game against Clemson on Saturday as he was sick and didn’t practice. He has returned this week. Patenaude said that he spoke with Graham on Monday, telling him that he appreciated how he has handled not playing and how mature he has been.

Graham’s attitude was recognized after the Louisville game, when he was named a member of the “juice crew,” an honor given to players for their energy and support on the sideline.

“So I thought that that spoke volumes of the fact that he was deeply involved with what we’re doing,” Patenaude said.

“He was cheering them on, when Jeff comes to the sideline, he’s talking to Jeff, pumping him up or (telling him), ‘Hey, this is good,’ or ‘This is what defense was.'"