ATLANTA -- It looks like all the injuries that Georgia Tech avoided a year ago have hit the Yellow Jackets this season.
Head coach Paul Johnson often has said that “nobody cares” when teams lose players because of injuries. No one is going to feel sorry for a team, so the players can’t feel sorry for themselves. That includes this week, when Georgia Tech travels to Death Valley to play sixth-ranked Clemson on Saturday.
“It doesn’t get any easier,” Johnson said.
As far as the roll call of injured players, it appears the Yellow Jackets will get A-back TaQuon Marshall and defensive tackle Pat Gamble back before Saturday.
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As far as the others, Johnson said, “We’re hopeful that we’ll get most of the guys who got hurt in the game back.”
That would include defensive backs Chris Milton and Domonique Noble, who went down in the fourth quarter.
“I think at one time we probably had as many as eight or nine starters out on offense and defense,” Johnson said. “It has just been one of those years.”
The biggest hits have come at A-back. Broderick Snoddy, the team’s most experienced player at that position, and Marshall both missed the North Carolina game with hand injuries. Qua Searcy isn’t likely to return any time soon with a broken ankle.
That left redshirt freshman Clinton Lynch and former walk-on Isiah Willis as the two starters, with true freshman Mikell Lands-Davis and Austin McClellan, another former walk-on, as the primary backups. Lynch (48 yards) and Willis (40 yards) were the top A-back producers against the Tar Heels.
Georgia Tech even moved Lynn Griffin from defensive back to A-back. Lands-Davis (who had been redshirted), McClellan and Davis all got touches for the first time this season.
“It has piled up at positions,” Johnson said. “At A-back, I mean, I look out there, and they played pretty good. We got production out of them, but we played a large part of the game with Austin and (Willis), who both came here as walk-ons.
“To their credit, they were playing well, but you’re not ripping off too many 50- and 60-yard plays.”
Johnson said the offensive line fared OK last week, when the Yellow Jackets rushed for 249 yards, averaging 4.2 per carry. But the big plays just aren’t coming like they have in the past. Georgia Tech’s longest run Saturday was a 20-yarder by quarterback Justin Thomas.
“I think we’ve got to get better on offense,” Johnson said.
But there were no complaints about Patrick Skov, who rushed 15 time for 56 yards against North Carolina. But his longest rush was 9 yards.
OF NOTE: Kickoff for the Oct. 17 game against Pittsburgh at Bobby Dodd Stadium has been set for 12:30 p.m. and will be carried on the ACC Network. ... Jamal Golden had 52 yards on kickoff returns Saturday and moved into second place on the program’s career list with 1,722 yards.