Sports

Georgia Tech ready for annual spring game

It’s been a relatively quiet spring football camp at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have started to demystify a few positions and have managed to avoid the horrific injuries that have plagued them over the last year.

The annual spring game will take place Saturday at noon at Bobby Dodd Stadium and offers fans a chance to further distance themselves from last year’s miserable 3-9 season. But what can sort of answers can they expect to take away from the spring game.

Here are five questions to ask, whether watching the game in the stadium or on ESPN3.

Who is going to be the backup quarterback?

Justin Thomas is the solid No. 1 quarterback. That’s beyond doubt. However, the situation at the backup spot became muddied some this spring when coach Paul Johnson moved TaQuon Marshall (Harris County High) from A-back to quarterback. There he has competed with Matthew Jordan to see who will be the No. 2 quarterback and possibly the heir-apparent to Thomas.

Jordan has experience on the college level, while Marshall played quarterback in high school and has the edge in quickness. Execution and ball security is likely to be two of the determining factors in the decision.

What is the pecking order going to be at A-back?

There is an embarrassment of riches at the position this spring. Hard to believe that was an issue in the fall, but it’s been solved by a bunch of guys getting healthy and joining those who contributed last season.

The list begins with Clinton Lynch and Qua Searcy, who appeared to be on his way to a nice season before breaking his ankle against Notre Dame. The position has been strengthened by Georgia transfer J.J. Green and also includes Isiah Willis, a former walkon who started 10 games in 2015 and rushed for 169 yards, and Lynn Griffin, who moved over from defense last year and made a positive impression.

Who has surfaced in the secondary?

The Yellow Jackets lost four pretty good seniors back there, so the competition has been intense. Lance Austin and Step Durham have some experience there and Lamont Simmons, a transfer from Southern Cal, is in the mix. Redshirt freshmen Dorian Walker and Meiko Dotson are in the mix, too. At safety, A.J. Gray will likely be a fixture for the next three years while Corey Griffin and Lawrence Austin are the other top players there.

What’s going on with the offensive line?

Unless someone played the position, it’s difficult to see where the troubles lie unless a play gets blown up in the backfield. But there are issues that may not be fixable until the fall, when some highly regarded recruits report.

The issues at guard started at the end of last season when Gary Brown decided to quit football and transfer to pursue his art career. Chris Griffin moved from tackle to guard but has not fully recovered from his knee surgery and has been limited.

Who’s going to catch the ball?

The Yellow Jackets have a legitimate No. 1 target in Ricky Jeune, who has good hands, good speed and the ability to hang on to the ball in tough situations. Brad Stewart has established himself as the other starter and has great hands. The others will be determined largely by who can block the best and catch the ball when given an opportunity.

Don’t forget, the team has two reliable receivers coming out of the backfield in Searcy and Lynch, who is a big-play threat when he catches the ball in space.

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