1. Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Charles Kelly can only guess at what Maryland quarterback Shawn Petty will do when their two teams face Saturday. He does have a handle, though, on what Petty did as an Eleanor Roosevelt Raider.
With their first four quarterbacks lost to season-ending injuries, the Terrapins will start Petty, a true freshman who had been playing linebacker until last week. Saturday will be his first college game. As a result, Kelly and defensive coaches studied video of Petty playing quarterback for Eleanor Roosevelt High in Maryland.
“He was in some 7-on-7 stuff in that area when he was coming out of high school and was in more of an option offense,” Kelly said after Wednesday’s practice. “But he still had times where he threw the ball. He throws a nice ball.”
The game planning has revolved around the coaches putting themselves in Maryland’s shoes and guessing what they would do with Petty. Coach Paul Johnson figures Maryland will try to stick to the run.
“We didn’t exactly set the world on fire (against BYU) with ‘12’ personnel, with a couple of tight ends out there, so I’m sure we’ll see that,” he said, referring to the personnel grouping of one running back, two tight ends and two receivers.
Getting the ball to game-breaking wide receiver Stefon Diggs will be another priority for Maryland. Diggs, a true freshman, is No. 4 in the ACC with 83.2 receiving yards per game.
Said Kelly, “He’s as impressive as anybody I’ve seen this year,” a list that would include Clemson wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins.
Maryland’s first four quarterbacks have suffered either season-ending knee or foot injuries, a run of bad luck that Johnson said he’s never seen. Tech’s fifth-string quarterback, after Tevin Washington, Vad Lee, Synjyn Days and Justin Thomas, probably is B-back David Sims, who played quarterback his first two seasons.
“Hat’s off to him,” Sims said. “It takes a great team player and a bold player to actually switch your position in the middle of the season, and then to quarterback (at that).”
2. Safety Fred Holton had surgery last Friday to repair his partially torn posterior tibialis tendon in his lower left leg. The surgery ends Holton’s season. Holton, who had been a likely starter, suffered the injury in the preseason and was never able to fully recover. Johnson said the recovery will take 3-4 months, which should allow him to participate in spring practice.
Holton played as a true freshman in 2010 but has now missed the past two seasons with injury after tearing his Achilles tendon in the same leg in the 2011 preseason. He’ll be eligible to apply for a sixth season of eligibility after his senior season. Johnson said he thinks Holton would have a slam-dunk case with the NCAA.
3. Offensive tackle Will Jackson is questionable for the Maryland game with a shoulder injury, Johnson said, but cornerback Louis Young (shoulder), kicker David Scully (hip) and all others will be available to play. Scully will be the starting kicker, taking back duties from Justin Moore.
4. Former Tech star and New York Jets rookie receiver Stephen Hill was at the football offices after practice. The Jets are on their bye week. Hill, from Lithonia, said he plans to stay home and sleep a lot until returning over the weekend.
Hill, a second-round pick of the Jets, has 14 catches for 196 yards and three touchdowns.
“There’s just a lot of stuff to learn,” Hill said of adjusting to the NFL. “It’s a big mental game.”
5. Backup kicker Chris Tanner will wear the No. 40 jersey this Saturday in the continuing tribute to former linebacker Julian Burnett. … Tech fans purchased just shy of 1,000 tickets from the school’s allotment for the Maryland game. … Acting athletic director Paul Griffin visited practice and walked back to the football offices with Johnson.
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Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog