By Chris Eckard
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Moments before he entered Saturday’s game against Maryland, Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee had the rest of his offense jumping to the beat of “Zombie Nation” blaring on the public-address system.
He knew he would have at least two series, and he wanted to make sure his teammates were as fired up as he was. That passion led to direct back-to-back touchdown drives that essentially put the game out of reach midway through the second quarter.
The seamless back-and-forth transitions between Tevin Washington and Lee helped the Tech offense pummel one of the stingier ACC defenses en route to a 33-13 victory.
“I was just ready to go,” Lee said. “When we come ready to play, that’s when we’re at our best.”
With a quarterback controversy brewing between the senior and the redshirt freshman, Johnson said he decided Thursday that he would switch between Washington and Lee every two series against the Terps, but that Washington would receive the starting nod.
“We weren’t sure how they were going to play defensively with a new coordinator,” Johnson said. “We wanted to play both quarterbacks, but I felt it was important to start the game with Tevin because he’s more experienced. Whatever they lined up in, he would have a better feel for what checks to make and that sort of thing.”
Tech’s first drive stalled after crossing midfield, but Washington helped guide the offense 69 yards on the ensuing possession for the first touchdown. Johnson then switched to Lee, who led successive touchdown drives of 33 and 49 yards.
Overall, Lee completed a 26-yard pass, and finished with 64 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns. Washington quietly had an effective game as well, with 31 rushing yards and a touchdown.
“I thought they both did some good things,” Johnson said. “We didn’t throw the ball a lot. We threw it four times and, really, we should have completed all four.”
The interchanging of quarterbacks didn’t seem to have much affect on the rest of the offense, which churned out 370 rushing yards.
“I practice just as much with Vad as I do Tevin,” A-back Orwin Smith said. “So it’s really just the same thing. You just got out and do your thing.”
While Washington wasn’t available after the game because he was receiving medical treatment, Lee said their relationship has continued to stay positive.
“Me and Tevin help each other out,” Lee said. “When I see something on the sideline, when I see the [defensive end] coming hard or the safety falling off, I’ll let him know. But he also does the same thing for me when I’m in. We’re going after a common goal and that’s to win.”
As far as the future is concerned, though, Johnson refused to tip his hand.
“[Tevin’s] been the starting quarterback, so he started,” Johnson said. “We’ll go week by week and see how it goes.”