ATLANTA -- Georgia Tech’s offense is starting to again resemble the one that Paul Johnson brought with him to the program, instead of the dysfunctional hybrid it morphed into a year ago. In other words, the option is back.
In Saturday’s second scrimmage of the preseason, the offense was effective enough to run 110 plays. Better yet, Johnson was pleased with the lack of turnovers, particularly by the starters.
“There were a lot of good things with 110 plays and no turnovers,” Johnson said. “I don’t think the ball was on the ground but maybe once.”
Turnovers were a problem for Georgia Tech a year ago. The Yellow Jackets fumbled the ball 28 times and lost 11.
“We’ve gotten back to the basics on offense, and we’re much better at what we do,” Johnson said. “The kids have worked hard. We’re only running seven or eight plays, and they’ve gotten pretty good at it.”
Johnson stressed the return to his fundamental offense in the early days of the preseason when he said, “You can’t run three different offenses and be good at any of them.”
Sophomore Justin Thomas continued to show why he’s running as the No. 1 quarterback. Thomas threw for one touchdown and ran for another during the scrimmage.
“We’re coming out doing things we didn’t do as good at last year, but we’re making them better this year,” Thomas said. “We’re doing it more with a lot more repetitions.”
Thomas played in 10 games last year in relief of Vad Lee, rushing for 234 yards, which was fifth-best on the team, and thowing for another 131 yards.
The running backs and wide receivers have shown improvement, too. A-backs Tony Zenon and Charles Perkins are listed as the starters, but Deon Hill, B.J. Bostic, Synjyn Days (who is splitting time at B-back) and Broderick Snoddy have all had their moments.
“They’ll play themselves into that,” Johnson said, when asked who would get the most carries. “They’ve all done some things. That will take care of itself.”
Perkins seems to be benefitting from the move from B-back to A-back. He has lost 15 pounds and is competing at 205 pounds, which he says is his best weight. Perkins appears to be over the injuries that have hampered his career.
“I’ve competed all camp,” Perkins said. “A bunch of guys have a competed a lot. I’ve been running with the ones all camp, but at A-back, we’re all going to play. But it feels good to be on top.”
B-backs Zach Laskey and receivers DeAndre Smelter and Darren Waller had standout moments during the scrimmage. Freshman B-back C.J. Leggett returned after missing the first scrimmage with an injury and showed signs he might provide some help.
No. 2 quarterback Tim Byerly was injured and did not play in the scrimmage, which gave freshman Matthew Jordan a chance to play earlier and more often. Jordan will enter the season as the No. 3 quarterback but likely will be redshirted unless injury requires otherwise.