With only a couple of days before it heads to Ireland for the season opener, there’s still some uncertainty about what to expect from the Georgia Tech football team.
Head coach Paul Johnson is eager to learn, just like everyone else after last year’s 3-9 showing.
“I’m not sure you’ll know until you play somebody,” Johnson said. “I think we’ll be better, but you don’t know until you start playing.”
Johnson has been upbeat throughout the preseason. He set an optimistic tone at the ACC Kickoff in Charlotte, North Carolina, this summer and has continued along that path for the most part throughout the first three weeks of practice.
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“Clearly our skill position players know more about what they’re doing,” Johnson said. “And even though they’re still young, they’ve played. I think our offensive line is much more athletic, and Freddie (Burden) is playing better than he did a year ago.”
The backfield will be young. The starting players — Johnson called them 1A and 1B — at B-back are sophomore Marcus Marshall and freshman Dedrick Mills. The A-backs start with Clinton Lynch and Qua Searcy and go five or six deep. Burden is on the preseason watch list for the Rimington Award, given annually to the nation’s best center.
Johnson has noticed that the players have been more focused this year. Their attention span was likely aided by last year’s struggles.
“I think last season helped our players focus,” he said. “Nobody wants to go through that again. That was a real reality check for them.”
Ready for shotgun?
In its final scrimmage before leaving for Ireland, Boston College worked exclusively from the shotgun formation. Patrick Towles, a graduate transfer from Kentucky, took most of the snaps at quarterback with the first unit and is the presumed starter, although head coach Steve Addazio still hasn’t made an announcement.
Getting ready to go
There will be 79 players on the Yellow Jackets’ roster who are leaving the country for the first time. Most knew very little about Ireland when the process began, and they are becoming more and more familiar with the country as the departure approaches.
Shane Stephens, Ireland’s Consul General in Atlanta, talked to the team about Ireland, its people and the customs after practice last year.
Boston College has Colton Lichtenberg back for a second season as place-kicker. He was thrown into the fire last year as a freshman when a senior place-kicker was injured after the third game. He was 3-for-6 on field goals and missed some big kicks. During the offseason Lichtenberg worked with former Boston College kicker Nate Freese, the program’s all-time leading scorer.
Georgia Tech is offering a ticket package that includes a game ticket to either the Vanderbilt on Sept. 15 or Georgia Southern game on Oct. 17 and an all-access pass to the College Football Hall of Fame. Prices range from $50 to $60 per ticket, which includes admission to the game and the attraction.