One of the benefits of qualifying for a bowl game is the additional practice that comes in preparation for the game. The younger and more inexperienced players on the Georgia Tech roster will get more snaps and more instruction, which could help them down the road.
“We’ll try to get some of the younger guys ready for spring practice,” Yellow Jackets head coach Paul Johnson said.
So while the young players aren’t fighting for more playing time for the Dec. 31 TaxSlayer Bowl against Kentucky, they are working to give themselves some momentum going into the spring.
“We take two periods toward the end of practice (during bowl preparation) and work with the scouts,” Johnson said. “Most of our focus has been on Kentucky.”
The Yellow Jackets already have gotten plenty of contributions from their true freshmen this year. B-back Dedrick Mills became a starter out of the preseason and likely will end up as the team’s leading rusher. Parker Braun took over the left guard spot in the sixth game and was good enough to make ESPN’s True Freshman All-America team.
Jahaziel Lee played in nine games and started three games at left tackle and played well. Kenny Cooper started the Virginia game at center when Freddie Burden was injured.
“I think the freshmen will be better players,” Johnson said. “We’ve still got a young team. The freshmen were pretty good players.”
Another young player could get a chance to contribute at B-back, where the Yellow Jackets will be without leading rusher Marcus Marshall. The sophomore announced after the season ended that he would transfer and not participate in the bowl game.
Mills will start there and senior Marcus Allen will be the primary backup. But Marshall’s departure could open the door for redshirt freshmen Quaide Weimerskirch or KirVonte Benson to get more playing time.
Weimerskirch has played in seven games; he had one carry against Mercer and fumbled. Benson has played six games and has no rushing attempts.
On defense, true freshman Brandon Adams has provided some situational help, playing in nine games and recording seven tackles. Redshirt freshman David Curry has played in all 12 games and has 12 tackles.
Bowl tickets: Georgia Tech’s allotment of club seats for the TaxSlayer Bowl has been sold. Remaining seats in the lower level at EverBank Field in Jacksonville are $85 and may be purchased at TogetherWeSwarm.com.
Kentucky sold its allotment of 8,000 tickets in three days.
Graduation time: There were 22 athletes who earned their diplomas Saturday, including football players Marcus Allen, Nick Brigham, P.J. Davis, Eason Fromayan, Roberto Hinojosa, Francis Kallon, Michael Muns and Rod Rook-Chungong. Players who have earned their bachelor’s degree include Justin Thomas, Burden, Patrick Gamble, Austin McClellan and Isiah Willis.