Georgia Tech's Tim Byerly, Zach Laskey lead White team to spring win

Game hampered by wind, rain

Associated PressApril 18, 2014 

ATLANTA -- Tim Byerly wanted to make the most of his big chance to impress coach Paul Johnson.

The junior quarterback rushed for 101 yards and passed for 69 to help the White team beat the Gold team 20-12 in Georgia Tech's spring game Friday night.

But with conditions hampered by a 40-degree wind chill and heavy rain falling throughout the scrimmage, Byerly played a part in five of the game's 13 fumbles.

"It's great that we get this type of experience in spring," Byerly said. "That's huge for us. I obviously had a few get away from me tonight, but that's why we're here in the spring, to learn from it and get better at it."

Byerly, the Yellow Jackets' No. 2 QB, took all of the first-team snaps in coach Paul Johnson's spread option offense. Starter Justin Thomas was sidelined by a shoulder injury.

Ball security was sloppy on the center exchange early in the game, but Johnson wasn't terribly upset considering how the footballs stayed wet and weighed too much.

"I thought in spots the first group did pretty well," Johnson said. "They moved the ball pretty good when they held onto it with the conditions. The second group left a lot to be desired. All in all, I think they progressed during spring, but we need to have a great offseason and summer camp."

Zach Laskey, who rushed 12 times for 75 yards, ran for a 40-yard touchdown in the first quarter and helped set up Byerly's 1-yard TD run in the third quarter to make it 20-6.

Third-string quarterback Ty Griffin took most of the snaps with the Gold team and fumbled on each of the first two possessions.

Griffin, a redshirt freshman, finished with 75 yards rushing on 15 carries.

The Gold team's touchdowns were scored by safety Isaiah Johnson on an 86-yard fumble return in the second quarter and by defensive back Demond Smith on a 42-yard fumble return in the fourth.

Harrison Butker kicked field goals covering 54 and 40 yards for the White team.

Coming off a 7-6 season that ended with losses to Georgia and Mississippi, Georgia Tech must replace six starters on offense and six on defense.

Thomas and Byerly will vie to replace quarterback Vad Lee, who transferred to James Madison.

Defensively, it will be tough to replace pass rusher Jeremiah Attaochu, who set the school's career sacks mark with 31.5, and Jemea Thomas, who played every position in the secondary and tied the school record with 54 games played.

But Isaiah Johnson, a three-year starter who sat out last season with a knee injury, is excited to work under second-year coordinator Ted Roof as the Jackets transition to a 4-2-5 alignment.

"Tonight we couldn't really show you our true potential," Isaiah Johnson said. "We got the ball on the ground. We got some stops. We held the offense in the red zone. I'm feeling really good about this."

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