ATLANTA -- This will be a special weekend for Tony Zenon. The A-back gets to play in his hometown for the first time when Georgia Tech meets Tulane in New Orleans.
Zenon lived in New Orleans until his family had to flee because of Hurricane Katrina. The family relocated to Albany, where Zenon starred at Deerfield-Windsor.
“I’m sure it’s going to be exciting for him to come home and have some family around him and watch him play,” Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson said. “I’m sure that he’ll be fired up and ready to go come Saturday.”
Zenon had an excellent training camp and is running with the first string at A-back. He only got one carry last week and gained 15 yards, but had three receptions for 70 yards. It was a clutch 33-yard reception late in the first half that put Georgia Tech in a position to regain the lead last week against Wofford.
“He’s really physical for a little guy,” Johnson said. “He’s got great feet and can block, and he’s good in space with the ball. So hopefully we can get him out in space with the ball and he can do his thing on Saturday.”
ALL BUSINESS IN NEW ORLEANS
Just because Saturday’s game is in New Orleans, don’t expect it to be a pleasure trip for Georgia Tech.
There are no planned tours of the historic district or visits to Bourbon Street. The only part of New Orleans the players are likely to see is from the hotel window or on the bus while riding to the game.
“It’s a business trip,” Johnson said. “It’s time to be focused and ready to play.”
Focus will be especially important this week, as Tulane will be on an emotional high that comes from opening its new on-campus home. Tulane will play at Yulman Stadium, the first time it has played on campus since 1974. The game sold out quickly, and it will be important for Tulane to make a big first impression.
“We have to get to a phase in our program where we win all our home games and turn this place into a big home field advantage,” Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson said. “We definitely want to play well. With this being our first home game, these kids have some pride about themselves in this stadium.”
Johnson has experience in opening stadiums. When he was the head coach at Navy, the Middies were the first opponent at Stanford’s remodeled stadium in 2006. Emotions were high that weekend in Palo Alto, California, too, but Navy won that game 37-9.
STRONG SAFETY OUT
Strong safety Isaiah Johnson will miss this week’s game at Tulane with a hamstring injury. Johnson was injured in the opener against Wofford and did not play in the fourth quarter. He had three tackles, one for a loss, in his first game back from missing the 2013 season with knee surgery.
Also out for the game will be reserve offensive lineman Nick Brigham (concussion) and backup quarterback Brady Swilling (hand).