There might be a few new faces in the starting lineup when Georgia Tech takes the field Saturday against Mercer.
The most likely places are at A-back and punter.
Head coach Paul Johnson said Tuesday that the only A-back who was safe is Qua Searcy and that punter Ryan Rodwell would have to earn his place after another inconsistent performance against Boston College.
“We’ve got one starter — Qua — and everything else is up in the air,” Johnson said.
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Searcy had three catches for 60 yards, including a huge catch on a third-and-10 situation. He rushed only two times and lost 4 yards.
That leaves things up in the air for Isiah Willis, Clinton Lynch, J.J. Green, Austin McClellan and Nate Cottrell. Lynch and Green started against Boston College.
“We’ll see who starts Saturday,” Johnson said. “It could be any of those guys.”
Green carried twice for 5 yards in the opener but had a key block when Dedrick Mills scored the winning touchdown. Lynch ran one time for 2 yards and had another gain negated by a penalty.
And while there is some latitude given because of the wet field, Johnson is less likely to overlook poor blocking and not knowing assignments.
Rodwell had another inconsistent outing. He punted four times for a 37.4-yard average. His first kick went only 24 yards, allowed Boston College to start at its own 31 and led to a missed field goal. He followed with a 41 yards punt that was returned 13 yards.
In the second half, he had 26-yard kick that was downed at the Boston College 37, but after a holding penalty, the Eagles started at the 27. His other punt was a 37-yarder that was downed at the 26 with no return.
“We have no punter right now,” Johnson said. “That doesn’t mean he might not be the punter, but we’re charting every kick this week. We started Monday, and there’s a chance someone else will get the opportunity.”
The backup punter is Grant Aasen, a junior from Fayetteville who chose Georgia Tech because his brother also attends. Aasen has spent two seasons on the scout team and has never played in a game.
There is less likely to be a change on the starting offensive line, but Johnson did say that freshman guard Parker Braun would play against Mercer. Substitutions were limited against Boston College because of the scarcity of plays — the Eagles ran only 51, and Georgia Tech had just 58. The only backup linemen who played against Boston College were Andrew Marshall and Brad Morgan.
“We’re going to give (Braun) a chance to get physical and hit somebody,” Johnson said.
Asked to give a grade to the first game, Johnson said, “C-minus, D-plus. It was good enough to win, but it was dead average. We didn’t lose. You’ve heard me say that sometimes the best way to win is not to lose. We didn’t lose. At the end, we found a way. Had to drive down and score. It wasn’t all negative. I just want our guys to understand what the expectation level is, and it’s not OK to go play like that. I don’t care if you win or lose, it’s not acceptable.”