After Georgia Tech finished its final preseason scrimmage Friday afternoon, neither coach Paul Johnson nor defensive coordinator Al Groh seemed overly impressed upon leaving Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Johnson said, “It is what it is. It was scripted. We didn’t have a lot of energy. I’m hoping that’s . . . we’re going to take the weekend off and come back Monday with more energy.”
Unlike the first scrimmage on Aug. 14, which was open to the public and the media, the Jackets did not work against their own schemes. In other words, Groh did not coach against Tech’s option offense, and the offense did not work against Tech’s 3-4 defense.
Both units worked against South Carolina State scout teams comprised of players not expected to be on the two-deep depth chart for the Sept. 4 opener in Bobby Dodd against the Bulldogs.
Much of the scrimmage was focused on specific situations, and the coaches who will sit upstairs on game day sat upstairs Friday and so on.
Groh paused before giving an answer when asked how the scrimmage went. “We made progress throughout. We should. If you can’t say that you’ve made progress, you’ve got a real problem,” he said. “It usually takes most coaches about three games in the season to really know who your team is.
“The players seem to have an understanding of their assignments. We probably can’t find out very much more without playing somebody.”
The offense had a good day against the scout team as quarterback Joshua Nesbitt had a 53-yard touchdown run, freshman A-back B.J. Bostic scored on a 23-yard run, B-back Richard Watson scored from 5 yards out and Preston Lyons on a 16-yard run. Safety Jarrard Tarrant returned an interception for a score, and Mario Butler and Anthony Egbuniwe blocked field goals.
For the scout team defensive, safety Jemea Thomas had two interceptions.
Sophomore Tyler Morgan, a former preferred walk-on who took over the deep-snapping duties in the fourth game last season, was awarded a scholarship before classes began. The former Whitewater High (Fayetteville) player jump-started his own recruitment more than two years ago when he sent video tapes of himself snapping to dozens of college programs.
“I was never really a Tech fan growing up until [assistant] coach [Mike] Sewak got in touch with me senior year. I started talking to them and other schools,” he said. “I didn’t know where I wanted to until near February . Coach Johnson and coach Sewak and Buzz [Preston] came to the house and talked to me. That was pretty much it.”
The Yellow Jackets targeted Morgan, who averages between .68 and .72 seconds in the time between his snap and when the ball hits the hands of the punter. “We recruited him,” Johnson said. “Yeah, you look at every tape people send us. You find a lot of good players that way.”
Johnson said he sent a text message Friday morning to former Tech safety Morgan Burnett congratulating him, “for getting a pick” Thursday night when the Green Bay Packer intercepted Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. Johnson said he also has swapped messages with Denver rookie receiver and former Jacket Demaryius Thomas, and has sent a text or two to Tennessee defensive end Derrick Morgan and Pittsburgh running back Jonathan Dwyer. … Groh said Steven Sylvester, “is certainly in contention” to win a starting outside linebacker spot as he competes with A.T. Barnes and Egbuniwe.
This was filed by Matt Winkeljohn