No Charlie Sheen, but Tech may have found quarterback

Quarterback Synjyn Days looked strong in Georgia Tech's spring game Saturday. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Quarterback Synjyn Days looked strong in Georgia Tech's spring game. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

When Georgia Tech played its spring game Saturday, it didn’t quite attract the fanfare, attention or turnstile count that Georgia did a week ago. The Jackets even limited the usual celebrity element on campus.

Shocking. After the way the baseball team embraced Charlie Sheen at batting practice the other day, you would have thought Lindsay Lohan would be singing the national anthem at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Maybe Mel Gibson leading the pregame prayer. Paris Hilton preaching to sorority girls on ambition and the meaning life.

Fortunately, coach Paul Johnson kept this one low-key. Just football, no sleaze. In the process, he also may have learned something about one of his quarterbacks.

Synjyn Days was not the best quarterback through most of spring drills, but he easily was the best one in the spring game. He rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown. He threw for another score. His overall passing statistics (2-for-7, 46 yards) were not glowing, but some of that can be attributed to being a young, athletic guy whose first instinct is to make plays with his legs. Because he can.

I'm happy to report Charlie Sheen left the Georgia Tech campus after batting practice the other day and hasn't returned. (AP photo)

I'm happy to report Charlie Sheen left the Georgia Tech campus after batting practice the other day and hasn't returned. (AP photo)

Most impressive about Days is what he did not do: melt down. While Tevin Washington committed five turnovers (three interceptions, two fumbles), Days, a redshirt freshman, did not lose the ball even once. This is key for a team that had 20 fumbles lost last season (most in the nation) and 27 turnovers (20th).

Johnson says judgments will be determined by “the body of work,” not just Saturday.

But this is key: “We’re going to play the guy who gives us the best chance to win. Sometimes winning the game is not losing it, being able to manage and do those kind of things. For most of the spring Tevin has been able to do that. Today he did some questionable things. I think he got rattled a little bit and got out of his element.”

The Jackets need a positive sign. After two strong seasons under Johnson, they finished 6-7 in 2010. They went 5-2 in the first seven games but only 1-5 in the last six, including a 14-7 loss to Air Force in the Independence Bowl.

They should have taken it as a sign when lightning forced the cancellation of the second half of last year’s spring game.

It wasn’t the way Johnson wanted or expected his team to follow up an ACC championship. He even acknowledged before spring drills opened, “I think there was a sense of complacency to a degree. Not with everybody. But when you win nine games the first year and then you win 11 games, I think some guys just think, ‘Well, this is going to happen again.’ It doesn’t work like that.”

There are three keys to a turnaround: 1) improvement on defense; 2) improvement on the offensive line; 3) finding a strong replacement for Joshua Nesbitt to run the option offense. Washington tops the depth chart, but not by much. Then comes Days. There’s a possibility that touted incoming freshman Vad Lee, who was in attendance at the T-Day game, will beat out both. But that would mean picking up the offense very quickly.

Days threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to B.J. Bostic in the first quarter. He ran 1 yard for another score in the third. He also had runs of 20 and 16 yards on a first-half drive. He dazzled with his athletic ability. He turned one scramble into a near first down when he leaped over defensive back Jemea Thomas.

“I saw the first-down marker,” Days said, explaining the leap. “Jemea asked me, ‘Why did you do that?’ I said, ‘I was just trying to make a play.’”

Washington acknowledges he is still laboring a bit from a previously undisclosed knee injury. He suffered a torn MCL in the Independence Bowl. He didn’t have surgery, but he is wearing a knee brace until the strength returns. It wasn’t all about the knee, however.

“I think I had a moment where I probably got a little rattled,” he said.

It all goes into a file until drills resume before the season. But Days has given Johnson something good to think about, and good news is what the program needed.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

216 comments Add your comment

Outside Observer

April 23rd, 2011
4:52 pm

Washington looked rough in the scrimmage. His ceiling, and the team’s ceiling for this season, might be lower than hoped.

John

April 23rd, 2011
4:53 pm

Rich T

April 23rd, 2011
4:57 pm

Sweet, but can he pass when he needs to? Perhaps more importantly, will he have the green light to pass when he needs to?

There’s a lot more wrong with this team right now than the lack of a passing game, but when we need to rely on the passing game, it would be nice to have one.

Big

April 23rd, 2011
4:59 pm

How about a final score?

Alan

April 23rd, 2011
5:00 pm

Another heyward strikeout. Man is he and uggla a big letdown. I think Vad will compete for the starting position in the Fall.

supersize that order, mutt

April 23rd, 2011
5:01 pm

obsessed with sex as well as with Tech, douglasville dawg?

superDawg

April 23rd, 2011
5:23 pm

The gt fans must be on a boycott even the band wagon did’nt show up.

NewbombTurk

April 23rd, 2011
5:25 pm

Oh, how brief was Tech’s success with PJ? Bumble bee football is a bigger train wreck than Charlie Sheen

Tech Fan Since 1950

April 23rd, 2011
5:29 pm

Jeff, as far as I could determine the turnstiles were not in place today at Bobby Dodd Stadium, but I thought it was a great crowd. Both the lower sections of the West and East Stands appeared to be pretty full and the Lower North Stands had the Band plus additional fans. It was a very nice event and reminded me of the T-Days or T-Nights of the 1950’s and 60’s. The 2011 Super Bowl game was well represented with three Tech alum NFL players from the Green Bay and Pittsburgh teams and other Tech/NFL greats were there too (nice to see them interviewed live on the video screen). I wish the Tech recruits, including Lee, could have been introduced to the crowd, but maybe that was prohibited by an NCAA rule or something? Hey, it is Spring and four months away from a real kick-off this fall on the flats. Optimism is in the air.

supersize that order, mutt

April 23rd, 2011
5:30 pm

Thanks for once again showing that you mutts who post on here don’t have lives.

supersize that order, mutt

April 23rd, 2011
5:31 pm

Tech Fan, did you come away from the game optimistic? What stood out most to you?

.

April 23rd, 2011
5:40 pm

Jeff — Apart from some student trainers, a couple of the players’ families and yourself was anyone else there to behold this dynamic performance? It sounds like it was electric.

SeasonedJacket

April 23rd, 2011
5:42 pm

Doug. Dawg…what are you, 9?!?

"Chef" Tim Dix

April 23rd, 2011
5:43 pm

Emilio Estevez has eligibilty left?

Put him at tight end.

gtkenz

April 23rd, 2011
5:43 pm

What I find most interesting, is Tech can still compete with and beat UGA. I’m 41 and have not seen many Tech victories over UGA, but I have relished them all.

To tell the God’s honest truth, this series became lopsided when desegregation occurred. From inception to the late 60’s, Tech could easily out recruit UGA, because of academics and private sector opportunities, not in spite of. The more modern game, post segregation has limited the abilities for Tech to be as successful as UGA on the football field.

Let’s be honest with ourselves. African Americans make up about 11% of US society. That’s a huge census disadvantage, but they dominate sports……….all sports. Maybe not Hockey or Gymnastics, but they will because for whatever reason, they are more athletic than any race in the world.

Georgia Tech is an academic school with sports. UGA is state university in the south with a liberal arts curriculum. Yes, UGA spits out lawyers and vets and even the occasional engineer, but UGA is nothing more than an extension of High School with more studies geared towards graduation than education. Tech requires much more academically. Yes, Tech has a meaningless business school, a history department, and a couple of other memorization classes, but nothing even remotely close to what UGA offers. Tech’s Engineering students are second to a very few worldwide. And I don’t care how smart you think you are, Calculus is tough, especially when the PHD teaching it can barely speak English.

This may sound racist, but it’s not intended to be. Bottom line, Blacks dominate sports, but despite their superior athletic abilities, the race as a whole has not caught up academically with Whites.

With that said I still find it amazing that Tech can compete with and actually beat UGA in Football. It’s apples and oranges, David and Goliath, oil and water. And this also translates into money, where UGA excels and Tech lags. Because the simple everyday Georgian can relate to UGA. People have become complacent. Getting by is much more acceptable, like the academic comparisons of both schools.

To steal a modern phrase, “just keepin it real.” So puppy fans, just remember that when Tech does beat you, you can cry, as you should.

"Chef" Tim Dix

April 23rd, 2011
5:44 pm

When will Charlie learn? You don’t rag on Billy….

"Chef" Tim Dix

April 23rd, 2011
5:47 pm

Pugilist and knifers please obstain from commenting.

GT man

April 23rd, 2011
5:49 pm

Washington is no ACC QB!!!

Typical

April 23rd, 2011
5:51 pm

Typical AJC BS. Just couldn’t write a blog without taking a shot at the subject of the blog. Thanks for the blog during the spring game and the above, excepting the first two paragraphs – which is the reason I and others choose not the have this paper thrown in our yards.

We dont care about SCHULTZ

April 23rd, 2011
5:55 pm

You are obviously biased! No one cares about what you write so just cover UGA! Let me change that…GT fans don’t care about what you write!!

THWG!

Who Cares

April 23rd, 2011
5:55 pm

Another great passing q.b. to run this high school offense. The only thing tech has found is a guy that can run a high school option offense that gets killed when it plays a major college defense with big defensive tackles. Also, wouldn’t get to excited, after all he was running agains Tech’s pathetic defensive line and front 7. He didn’t even do it against the entire #1 defensive line. Tech #2 defensive line couldn’t start for some of the better high school programs in the state of Ga., much less any decent college team. Glad Tech found such a talented player to run this mickey mouse offense in a split squad spring game.

.

April 23rd, 2011
5:56 pm

The good part about today is the good reps the defense got against wishbone look. After the loss to the AFA in the bowl, the Jackets will be loaded for bear come the rematch in Shreveport.

I think the defense got better today with the different looks they got to see…option right, option left, option up the middle….reps against that style of offense will be huge when they go into Conference play.

Ed Pilcher

April 23rd, 2011
6:07 pm

Paul Johnson stole this offensive scheme from me. He didn’t even know there was such a thing as a veer play until he saw TCC play Statesboro High. So, he combined the Veer of TCC with the Wishbone of Statesboro High, and Voila! The Flex-bone……..And now you know….the REST of the story.

Tech Fan Since 1950

April 23rd, 2011
6:13 pm

To supersize that order, mutt:

In response to your question and really as a follow-up to Jeff’s article where he mentions “three keys to a turnaround,” I think I am convinced there really is “improvement on defense.” There is more speed and depth on defense and a bigger defensive line for the Jackets. The offensive line’s ability to pass block is a question mark for me, but they have been playing injured and they are facing a defensive bunch that practices against them everyday and knew what to expect today, especially toward the end of today’s event when both the White and Gold team offenses were apparently ordered to pass more. I am not really worried too much about the quarterback position. We have talent there. Joshua Nesbitt had trouble holding the ball during his beginning at the helm and I think the current Tech trio will be fine come fall, but maybe not at the very beginning of the season. My big worry is the kicking game and special teams. In my heart I believe if we had the overall talent of the 2011 team on defense the last three years, we might not have lost a game the way the offense was humming. The history of Paul Johnson at Georgia Southern, Navy and Tech will show that his offense generally doesn’t miss a beat. The dilemma this year may be the redevelopment of the offensive line. The saving grace (and they are not proven under fire yet) may be a much better defensive unit. Yes, the passing game is still off the mark, but I have got to believe it will be better with the talent at quarterback. The receivers are bigger and stronger, but they need an “attitude adjustment” and some sticky fingers.

the voice of truth

April 23rd, 2011
6:19 pm

ed pilcher ,, have you taken a severe blow to the head ??

Gooberdawg

April 23rd, 2011
6:24 pm

DREeem TEAM BaBEEee!! We recrootin ChamPs agiNN!! WQhhhooo!!

supersize that order, mutt

April 23rd, 2011
6:26 pm

Tech Fan, thanks. I wish I could have been there. Had it not been Easter weekend I would have been there, but since I am in Augusta, that wasn’t possible.

rdr

April 23rd, 2011
6:37 pm

Heard the 1500 techsters that showed up for today’s scrimmage were treated to a lot of good laughs. Gailey’s boys are gone. It’s all PJ now.

.

April 23rd, 2011
6:39 pm

Any word on whether Nesbitt will go to Panthers with the first pick? Obviously, he will be the first QB selected, but there is still debate as to whether he goes as the #1 pick overall.

supersize that order, mutt

April 23rd, 2011
7:00 pm

How sad to be a f’d up redneck mutt who doesn’t have a life.

Big ED

April 23rd, 2011
7:18 pm

Days was fantastic. Washington may start as the top quarterback, but won’t make it to game three. He has no fire or enthusiasm. He makes no effort to fire up his teammates or show emotion. He hands the ball off and then stops to watch the play. He makes it too obvious where the ball is going. I am very disappointed in his performance.

Looks like we have some play makers on defense. They were really hustling out there today. The baseball team looked good beating Boston College 8-1. Look out dawgs, on Tuesday we will make it 3-0 for the season. THWG

TDM

April 23rd, 2011
7:29 pm

GT & CHARLIE SHEEN ENOUGH SAID

TDM

April 23rd, 2011
7:30 pm

UGA = Yawn

April 23rd, 2011
7:30 pm

Good job Synjyn. And love the name. Bad is a cool QB name
too. Looks like GT has some winners for the
next 4 years! THWG – the Cesspool of the South!

TDM

April 23rd, 2011
7:31 pm

GT & CHARLIE SHEEN = 2 LOSSERS

dawgfan

April 23rd, 2011
7:34 pm

If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around….

GTFANFROM1951

April 23rd, 2011
8:01 pm

The cesspool of the south is in Athens. UGA fan go to a fla. blog.

Joe Schmoe

April 23rd, 2011
8:11 pm

Typical… Uga fans say they dont care about UGA, and are crawling over a tech blog when no UGA events are going on??? Says something?

Back to the topic… I was at the game, and from what I have seen, and what I said for last season, Tevin should not start. We have a talented Fballer in Days, who will make mistakes of course, but can also make things happen. He also has pretty good touch as a couple of those passes were dropped today.

Joe Schmoe

April 23rd, 2011
8:12 pm

Sorry, should be Uga fans say they dont care about Tech…

dawgfan

April 23rd, 2011
8:14 pm

Why don’t YOU go to a Florida blog and explain to them why you have to ride their coattails when it comes to UGA.

12 CRIMINAL CHARGES, 6 wins 7 LOSSES

April 23rd, 2011
8:15 pm

Hilarious how the clowns from thug-U call it a “high school offense”…same offense is averaging 33 points per game against the usual, over rated, over hyped, mutt defense. The defense paying that joke $750K/year. You know, the one that was fired by the Cleveland Browns!

12 CRIMINAL CHARGES, 6 wins 7 LOSSES

April 23rd, 2011
8:16 pm

TDM

April 23rd, 2011
7:31 pm
GT & CHARLIE SHEEN = 2 LOSSERS

LOL!!!! Please define “lossers”…..HAHAHAHAHA…ga IDIOT!!!!

yO playuh!

April 23rd, 2011
8:19 pm

wE BE RECRUITS FROM ga..we be stealin from our fewture home boys..we git scholarship right der cause we mak Richt prowd! we thugs! dats rightG, we playuhs!

dawgfan

April 23rd, 2011
8:19 pm

33 ppg. #1 rushing offense in the nation. Result?

6-7 season and yet another loss to UGA. Definitely something to be proud of Techie.

BUZZ 2011

April 23rd, 2011
8:20 pm

Why are all these Dogs on Tech posts? I think they are worried about Tech and know what
will be coming their way this year..They should be, because anything beyond 5 wins for the Dogs will only be a “dream”.. Richt is a high scholl coach and it shows more each year.

dawgfan

April 23rd, 2011
8:21 pm

“High school coach” Mark Richt: 9-1 vs. Joke By Coke.

Keep ‘em coming Techies…

34 POINTS TO your 31 points

April 23rd, 2011
8:22 pm

Thought I’d find some dumbaSS mutters here on the bee blog. Just a reminder:

((((((((((((((((((((((((((34-31)))))))))))))))))))))))))

LOL!

51 arrests

April 23rd, 2011
8:24 pm

in 4 years…WE ARE…THUG-U!

BUZZ 2011

April 23rd, 2011
8:25 pm

By the way that Dawg baseball team is terrible.. Gt has beat them 6 times in a row and one game we won by 2 touchdowns.. Let’s hope you can keep enough players out of Clarke County jails to carry your red panty banners….It wouldn’t matter, your red would always pale
compared with Bama red, right Dawgs??

dawgfan

April 23rd, 2011
8:26 pm

sure feels good in my trailer today….didn’t need to fill the propane tank. started werking on the 2 cars in thuh yard.