Joshua Nesbitt said he thinks about that bitterly cold night in Blacksburg every day.
Should he have thrown the ball? Could he have led Anthony Allen more? Should he have tried a different way to make the tackle?
It doesn’t matter now. What’s done is done. Now, Nesbitt is focused on showing scouts what he can do at Georgia Tech’s Pro Day today. He hopes to show the talent evaluators that he can play in the NFL. He hopes it’s as a quarterback, but he’s willing to play anywhere. He’s been working hard in Charlotte, N.C. since early January precisely for this day. His trainer thinks he can run a sub-4.5 40-yard dash, which will certainly get him some attention. He’s also been working on his accuracy, trying to improve what was perhaps his biggest weakness at Tech. His agent thinks he can be an asset similar to Brad Smith, who is featured in a variety of positions for the New York Jets after a standout career as a quarterback at Missouri.
Georgia Tech was rolling that night, though. The offense was moving up and down the field on Virginia Tech. The Thursday night crowd, so loud at the start of the game, was quiet.
Was this the same Jacket offense that looked so mistake-prone for most of the season?
Earlier in the game, Nesbitt sprinted 71 yards up the middle of the Hokies’ defense to give the Jackets a 14-0 lead with 4:44 remaining in the first quarter. The run also gave Nesbitt the record for career rushing yards by an ACC quarterback.
Leading 14-7, Nesbitt and the Jackets were third-and-goal on Virginia Tech’s 6-yard line.
The play called for Nesbitt to roll left and hit Allen running to the corner of the end zone.
Nesbitt saw Davon Morgan shadowing Allen, but he thought he could squeeze the pass in. Morgan cut in front of Allen, intercepted the pass and began running up the sideline. Nesbitt sprinted over and tried to push Morgan out. Instead, Morgan’s knee slammed into Nesbitt’s forearm, breaking it.
It cost him the remaining games in his career and started a new set of questions.
The arm is healthy now. Nesbitt said a few weeks ago that he feels no physical effects from the injury. Though there is a mental hangover.
“I regret it to this day and probably for the rest of my life that just being lazy on that one play,” Nesbitt said. “That’s what I think about it every day now.”
– Doug Roberson, AJC