Georgia Tech’s problem now shifts from knowing which quarterback to play to wondering if he — or the rest of the offense — is going to have any gas left in the tank for Saturday’s game against Jacksonville State.
TaQuon Marshall made a successful debut Monday against Tennessee. In fact, his performance against the Volunteers in the 42-41 double-overtime loss was good enough to earn the junior from Harris County the ACC Offensive Back of the Week honors.
But Marshall absorbed some abuse to his body in the opener. Now it’s up to head coach Paul Johnson’s training staff to get Marshall and the overused offensive players ready in time for Saturday’s game against Jacksonville State, a short turnaround for the second game.
“My big concern right now is those kids on offense just played 96 plays, and then they have to turn around and play again on Saturday,” Johnson said. “There won’t be a whole lot of practicing going on. We’ll have to try to get them rested to play.”
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Georgia Tech gained 655 yards in the game, 535 on the ground and 120 through the air. Marshall played all but two plays, when he was shaken up and had to leave for a pair of downs.
“It’s going to be in the back of my mind that we should have won,” Marshall said. “But I’ve got to move on from this and get ready for next week. We’ll get in the meeting room and watch film.”
B-back KirVonte Benson did most of the work at his spot. Quaide Weimerskirch played briefly, but neither freshman Jerry Howard nor Jordan Ponchez-Mason got in the game. Johnson said Ball would definitely play against Jacksonville State.
With starter Clinton Lynch out, the only A-backs who rotated in were Qua Searcy, J.J. Green and Nathan Cottrell. Lynch was back at practice Wednesday and is expected to play Saturday.
On the offensive line, the only substitutes used were Brad Morgan and Shamire Devine, who played most of the game.
Defensive tackle Kyle Cerge-Henderson suffered a slight injury Monday, but Johnson said he would likely be available for Jacksonville State.
Because of the weird schedule, Georgia Tech cut back on the contact in practice this week. The players watched film and reviewed the game Tuesday, worked in shells for 90 minutes Wednesday and had a regular practice scheduled for Thursday.
“Shouldn’t affect us on offense a whole lot,” Johnson said. “We kind of do what we do, and we adjust once the game starts. Defensively it’s a little harder.”
Of note: Georgia Tech is hosting its annual “Goldout” game Saturday. All fans are encouraged to wear gold to support the team in the home opener. Special T-shirts will be available at the Barnes and Noble at Georgia Tech Square or purchased online. … Former starting B-back Marcus Marshall is off to a good start at James Madison, which is ranked No. 1 in FCS. He rushed 10 times for 88 yards in a win over East Carolina after transferring to James Madison at the end of the 2016 season.
Jacksonville State at Georgia Tech
12:30 p.m., Saturday