Tech’s spring game does nothing to change its QB rotation

Paul Johnson in a festive Friday mood. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Paul Johnson in a festive Friday mood. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Georgia Tech wrapped it in a nice new package — a spring football game on a Friday night in the big city — but inside was still a spring football game. There was live music (and not just the pep-band stuff) before and after, and there were postgame fireworks, and an announced crowd of 18,125 was on hand to see …

Spring football. Which meant nothing much was revealed.

If you’re a Tech fan and you were hoping for a quarterback to unseat incumbent Tevin Washington, you left disappointed. If you’re a Washington fan and you were rooting for your man to lap the field, you didn’t get your wish. The QB situation at GT remained SQ (status quo): Washington is surely the starter unless/until Synjyn Days or Vad Lee snatches the job from him, and it’s unthinkable that any such theft will occur before the Jackets open at Virginia Tech on Labor Day night.

Let’s be honest: Days, who’ll be a redshirt sophomore, has played little, and Lee, who’ll be a redshirt freshman, hasn’t played in a game — unless you count this episode of Friday Night Lights, which you shouldn’t — since high school. To start either against the Hokies would be foolish, and if there’s one thing Paul Johnson isn’t, it’s a fool.

It isn’t that Days and Lee are untalented. Days is a better runner than Washington, and Lee is a better passer. But the quarterback in Johnson’s offense doesn’t just have to play the game — he has to read it and respond accordingly. The option is predicated, duh, on having options. On familiarity alone, a quarterback who has started 17 collegiate games (winning nine) will surely trump challengers who haven’t proved they know when to keep and when to pitch.

The White led the Gold 3-0 at the half, the three points coming on a 42-yard field goal by David Scully on the final play of the second quarter. (See what happens when you hire a special teams coordinator?) The drive was led by Days, and before then there hadn’t been much driving for either hue.

The second half began with Days changing jerseys — you only get this stuff in a spring game, folks — and fumbling the ball. Corey Dennis returned it for a touchdown to give the White side a 10-0 lead. To that point, the spring game’s real winner had been defensive coordinator Al Groh, who’s no spring chicken.

Washington finally led the White to a touchdown, which was probably best for all concerned. A head coach who prides himself on offensive scheming wouldn’t have been in the mood to appreciate fireworks after a spring game that ended 10-0. And Johnson, as we’ve seen, takes an even more hands-on role on these occasions.

For spring games, PJ stations himself in the middle of the field and call plays for both squads. (On this night he wore blue shorts and a gray hoodie, making him look like Bill Belichick at the beach. Not that Bill Belichick is ever a day at the beach.) In the first half, Johnson used his prime perch to upbraid two offensive linemen who’d missed blocks.

Having migrated from Gold to White, Lee presided over two scoring drives of his own. The White, comprised mostly of the first-string offense, would win 31-7, and it scored while being led by three different quarterbacks. Which meant nothing changed.

If Tech had to play a real game tomorrow, Johnson said Washington would be the starter: “He has the most experience and the best understanding of the offense.” And Days and Lee? “They’re situational players right now. The idea is to make them not be situational players.”

It’s possible to imagine Lee, who does have a nice arm, becoming the Tech quarterback when the Jackets trail by 14 points with five minutes left. It’s also possible to envision Days as a change-of-pace guy. What’s not possible is to imagine either being the No. 1 quarterback come September. That’s still Tevin Washington’s job.

By Mark Bradley

223 comments Add your comment

[...] Tech's spring game does nothing to change its QB rotationAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Georgia Tech wrapped it in a nice new package — a spring football game on a Friday night in the big city — but inside was still a spring football game. There was live music (and not just the pep-band stuff) before and after, and there were postgame …and more » [...]

ghe

April 20th, 2012
10:31 pm

Go Jackets 88

April 20th, 2012
10:39 pm

How is it not possible to imagine??? There is still alot of football left t be played

scott

April 20th, 2012
10:42 pm

doesnt really matter about any of these guys. the team is going to be awful next year and after that justin thomas the incoming quarterback recruit will be the qb. He is just way too athletic and it will take him a year to learn the offense and since the team is going to stink next year anyway no need to throw him under fire but he is the guy no doubt incredible athlete.

spider

April 20th, 2012
10:44 pm

just got home from spring game, best crowd i have ever seen at gt spring game in 30 some years. hopefully our defense is really great because offense did nothing against them.

Dawg48

April 20th, 2012
10:44 pm

High school offense, playing on Friday night. Interesting.

Down fall

April 20th, 2012
10:46 pm

Well until you et a real QB they be a good team takes more than speed to run a vear offense takes quick tinker which none of them are

Gravy Train

April 20th, 2012
10:51 pm

I don’t get it. With all of that academic prowess it took to get Lee and Days signed, how are they having problems picking up a high school offense? Who knew that reading the end then pitch it or run would be such a quagmire for players with such vaunted scholastic aptitude? Maybe that’s why Turkey Neck is continuing to recruit marginal option quarter backs, even though he already has half a dozen on the roster. Engineers that can’t engineer?

Goldenrod

April 20th, 2012
10:52 pm

Just back from BDS, wow what a fun night on the flats! The crowd of around 4,000 was better than I expected. I was hoping for Vad Lee to dominate but that simply wasn’t the case.

Coach Paul Johnson has got to get the team to cut out the fumbles (and don’t tell me those come along with the perfect option).

I had a sense as I sat there that we will prevail this season against that cesspool in Athens!

THWG, We WILL Run This State!

DawginSewer

April 20th, 2012
10:53 pm

Reesls goods games. WEss heres in seres wates for nexes yers. Chaoskdwags sayes we wines thems alles.

Goldenrod91

April 20th, 2012
10:54 pm

Just back from BDS, wow what a fun night on the flats! The crowd of around 4,000 was better than I expected. I was hoping for Vad Lee to dominate but that simply wasn’t the case.

Coach Paul Johnson has got to get the team to cut out the fumbles (and don’t tell me those come along with the perfect option).

I had a sense as I sat there that we will prevail this season against that cesspool in Athens!

THWG, We WILL Run This State!

deuce coupe

April 20th, 2012
10:54 pm

I’m flying a Geirgia Tech flag
right now.

Gravy Train

April 20th, 2012
10:55 pm

All hail Turkey Neck and his AA All Stars! Fear his genius!

Willy

April 20th, 2012
10:56 pm

Mark, Was it a game worth partying at the Cheetah afterwords?

George Stein

April 20th, 2012
10:56 pm

Good and bad cane from the game, which unsurprising. Lee showed that he can spin it, but he still struggled running the option and taking the snap. Days is a helluva runner and throw the ball beautifully, but he has no idea where it’s going.

Lots to work on before Blacksburg.

Ol'JacketFan

April 20th, 2012
10:57 pm

Interesting collection of comments from folks who weren’t there tonight ;-)

boykin

April 20th, 2012
10:58 pm

You boys enjoy another year of spectacular play from Tevin! LMAO

Ol'JacketFan

April 20th, 2012
11:00 pm

MB why aren’t my comments gettign through?

Ol'JacketFan

April 20th, 2012
11:01 pm

Well that one did at least LOL!

Double E

April 20th, 2012
11:01 pm

OMG..Was hoping Synjyn or Vad would usurp our horrific QB.

Ol'JacketFan

April 20th, 2012
11:04 pm

George Stein- did anyone on the D stand out tonight? Stats show Hunt-Days wtih 8 solo tackles?

david

April 20th, 2012
11:06 pm

Another 6-7 season for GT, Johnson should have been fired last year. At least when Chan was HC, the team was fun to watch.

Ol'JacketFan

April 20th, 2012
11:10 pm

It would be nice to see comments from the fans that were actually there tonight.

Ol'JacketFan

April 20th, 2012
11:15 pm

C’mon MB, why are commnts not getting through???????????????

Ol'JacketFan

April 20th, 2012
11:17 pm

I guess you hav ro misspll word s for commnts to get threw sheesh

If do right, no can defense

April 20th, 2012
11:19 pm

Just got back. Here’s my 2 cents:

1. O-Line was missing a lot of blocks. Understandable since we had only 10 fit O-linemen (including walk-ons) in the game. Some of our best front guys – including Uzzi – were injured and not playing.

2. The pitch (3rd option) & toss/jet-sweep plays were a total disaster. Also understandable, since Orwin Smith was out and we had 4 new starter A-backs on both teams: Deon Hill, Robbie Godhigh, Broderick Snoddy, & BJ Bostic. Best of those were probably Deon & Godhigh (Deon caught some nice passes).

3. In the run game, the QB keep/iso play was the best and got the most yardage… and was also run the most often (especially by Days & Washington). The dive play was OK – nothing great. No big runs on the dive, except for one 16 yarder by Sims. The other B-backs were Perkins (not very good), Tony Zenon (alright), Zach Laskey (not good), and Matt Connors (decent). The main reason was bad OL play and wrong reads made by the inexperienced QB’s.

4. In the passing game, Vad Lee was by far the best. There were a lot of bad throws and dropped catches, which points to a glaring deficiency in our WR roster. None of the major wideouts (Jeff Greene, Darren Waller, Chris Jackson, Jeremy Moore) were impressive – the best receiver was probably Deon Hill or Godhigh, or Laskey maybe.

5. On the defense, Attaochu & Jabari Hunt-Days (who tackled his brother Synjyn twice) had monster games. Brandon Watts & Nealy did well too. Our secondary was great – never allowed the receivers to get into a rhythm or run their routes properly for most of the game. The D-line did OK… nothing great, and towards the end they got really tired and could get zero pressure on the QB (which allowed Days & Lee ages to make good pass plays and score). Overall, they played hard and fast, with lesser missed tackles/assignments.

If do right, no can defense

April 20th, 2012
11:24 pm

If only we could somehow combine the experience and understanding/technical prowess of Washington, running ability of Days, and passing ability of Lee… we’d be set.

Pull My Finger

April 20th, 2012
11:24 pm

I thought high schools play on Friday nights……..oh yeah.

GTBob

April 20th, 2012
11:25 pm

Just got home from the game. Those young men look very impressive up close and personal.

Ol'JacketFan

April 20th, 2012
11:31 pm

We know the offense will be okay with all the linemen back in place for the fall. What I am most curious about is the play of the D. From the stat page on gametracker it looks like the linebackers were very active tonight. How much of that is due to the injuries keeping the better linemen out and how much of that is talent?

Ol'JacketFan

April 20th, 2012
11:31 pm

apparentley I can rred the commnts but not post any cpommnts sheesh

Ol'JacketFan

April 20th, 2012
11:32 pm

as I psted earlyer I guss you have to missspll lol!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wizard

April 20th, 2012
11:33 pm

Don’t high school teams play on Friday? Oops, I almost forgot.

Double E

April 20th, 2012
11:36 pm

Ol’ Jacket-Learn to write 1st and foremost!

blazer

April 20th, 2012
11:37 pm

High school offense has finished in top five in country last 4 years

GTBob

April 20th, 2012
11:37 pm

I predict we upset the mutts this year. This looks like a special group to me.

www

April 20th, 2012
11:38 pm

me and my girl had a great time. the crowd of 18k plus was impressive. the defensive line looked good and ALL of the QBs have ability.

www

April 20th, 2012
11:39 pm

Ol'JacketFan

April 20th, 2012
11:39 pm

Double E, if you can’t figure out that it is all on purpose then I feel sorry for you. For some reason a post or two was not getting though. I’ve seen enough on here to know that sometimes a misspelled word or two allows a post to go through,

Whopper Dawg

April 20th, 2012
11:39 pm

When did the bugs get a QB?? I never knew they had one.

GTBOB – serious?? What can I put you down for?? And you are correct in that upset would be the operable word.

Ol'JacketFan

April 20th, 2012
11:40 pm

and generally it’s first and foremost………………not 1st jeez

GTBob

April 20th, 2012
11:45 pm

Tell all your friends Whopper. You heard it here first.

boykin

April 20th, 2012
11:46 pm

We all look impressive till your Dawgmeat GTBob! SicEm!

the gobbler

April 20th, 2012
11:47 pm

Lets get past the sorry ACC b4 we think about the Bullpuppies gtbob

www

April 20th, 2012
11:57 pm

i’m saying it now – 10+ wins and a victory over uga in 2012.

morgan hill jacket

April 21st, 2012
12:00 am

Maybe not 10 wins but well slobber the cocky suspended-laden Bulldogs

morgan hill jacket

April 21st, 2012
12:02 am

morgan hill jacket

April 21st, 2012
12:03 am

Maybe not that many www but we’ll whip the tar out of the snooty suspended-laden Bulldogs!

hey whopperdawg

April 21st, 2012
12:07 am

i got yur whopper for you .

GTBob

April 21st, 2012
12:13 am

If we don’t beat the fleabags drinks are on me at the Heretic.