UPDATED, 12:40 p.m. — Georgia Tech B-back Charles Perkins will start Monday night against Virginia Tech, coach Paul Johnson said at his Friday news conference. Johnson said that Sims is not yet 100 percent and that Perkins earned the start over Laskey through his performance in practice.
Johnson said that the depth chart remains open to change in the future, that Laskey and Perkins are “neck and neck” and will both play Monday night. Laskey, Perkins and Sims have all missed practice time during fall camp, which has muddied the picture at the featured position in the Tech offense. Johnson also noted the play of backups Broderick Snoddy and Matt Connors.
“They all bring some different things to the table, and this week in practice, Charles has probably been the best at all of it,” Johnson said.
It will be the first career start for Perkins, a sophomore.
“Hopefully, Charles will go out there and rush for 200 yards,” Johnson said.
Other notes from the news conference:
1. Safety Fred Holton was not on the depth chart, pushing sophomore Jamal Golden to the top at safety, and is not expected to play. Holton has been out with an undisclosed injury. Tech will be down two starters in the secondary, as cornerback Louis Young will be out serving a suspension. True freshman D.J. White, who has impressed in the preseason, is a candidate to play in sub packages.
“I think D.J.’s a really good athlete, he’s a competitor, he wants to be good, he plays hard, and we’ll see,” Johnson said. “We might roll people around. Coray Carlson’s probably the next guy at defensive back, but, again, it depends on situations and what the deal is. We’re preparing D.J. to play.”
Golden has trained at different positions in various packages and figures to receive considerable playing time because of his versatility.
2. Regarding quarterback/A-back Synjyn Days, Johnson said he has progressed at A-back and knows his assignments. “We may use him in some different spots,” Johnson said. “I think he’ll be in the game.”
Days and Vad Lee are listed as co-No. 2 behind starting quarterback Tevin Washington.
3. Wide receiver Chris Jackson has what Johnson calls “an eligibility issue” regarding his academic credits and will not play. It stems, Johnson said, from his transfer from Alabama. Johnson said he became aware of the situation on Wednesday. Tech is undergoing an appeals process to clear Jackson.
“We thought we were O.K., right now he’s not,” Johnson said. “He may have to miss a couple games. We’ll know more about it when we get closer.”
With Jackson out, true freshman Anthony Autry is listed as the second-string wide receiver behind Jeff Greene. The likely scenario at that position is that Greene, starter Jeremy Moore and Darren Waller will work in a three-man rotation.
4. Conceivably, seven players – A-back Robbie Godhigh, defensive end Emmanuel Dieke, inside linebacker Jabari Hunt-Days, Golden, Greene, Moore and Perkins – could make their first career starts Monday night. Whether they actually start or not – the defensive starters will be dictated by Virginia Tech’s offensive personnel on the first snap – all will log considerable playing time.
“Nobody’s going to play perfect, and they won’t either,” Johnson said. “You just hope you minimize the mistakes, you hope that they don’t create big plays for the other team, huge plays, and then you move on.”
5. Orwin Smith and Tony Zenon will return kickoffs and Jemea Thomas will take punts. There won’t be a rotation, Johnson said.
QB Tevin Washington Synjyn Days or Vad Lee
BB Charles Perkins Zach Laskey or David Sims
AB Orwin Smith Deon Hill or Tony Zenon
AB Robbie Godhigh B.J. Bostic
WR Jeff Greene Anthony Autry
WR Jeremy Moore Darren Waller
LT Ray Beno Bryan Chamberlain
LG Will Jackson Trey Braun
C Jay Finch Catlin Alford or Nick McRae
RG Omoregie Uzzi Shaquille Mason
RT Tyler Kidney Errin Joe
DE Emmanuel Dieke Euclid Cummings
NT T.J. Barnes Shawn Green
DE Izaan Cross Anthony Williams
OLB Jeremiah Attaochu Tyler Marcodes
ILB Quayshawn Nealy Anthony Harrell
ILB Jabari Hunt-Days Kyle Travis
OLB Brandon Watts Malcolm Munroe or Chris Crenshaw
CB Rod Sweeting D.J. White
S Isaiah Johnson Demond Smith
S Jamal Golden Coray Carlson
CB Jemea Thomas Chris Milton Domonique Noble