Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson said his team had a good spring camp. There were no serious injuries, although a handful of players got dinged up, and the spring game was actually fun to watch.
“It was kind of a fun game,” Johnson said Friday. “Guys flew around and had some fun.”
The game was won 21-16 by the Gold team, which was made up of the first-team defense and the second-team offense. It beat the White team, which had the first-team offense and the second-team defense.
The Gold team produced 269 yards and won it when walk-on quarterback Chase Martenson threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to Brady Swilling with 1:32 left. The White team drove into position to steal the game, but safety Jaytlin Askew intercepted the ball at the goal line and returned it to the 50 as time ran out.
There were 77 players to dressed for the game, including 16 returning starters from last year’s 9-4 team. There is much to be happy about, since Georgia Tech was one of eight Power 5 conference teams that finished the season with a winning streak of at least four games.
Three who mattered
Quarterback TaQuon Marshall: The junior ran 12 times for 38 yards, which included two sacks for minus-19 yards, and completed 4-of-9 passes for 37 yards. He looked like a much more confident player than he was in last year’s spring game.
B-back Dedrick Mills: The sophomore had nothing really to prove. He ran hard when he was in the game and had four carries for 23 yards, one of them for 17. As far as the backups, Johnson called KirVonte Benson “2-A” and Quaide Weimerskirch “2-B.”
Linebacker Brant Mitchell: The junior had seven total tackles (four solo, three assists), 2 ½ for loss, and forced a fumble. He was effective at rushing the passer, but was probably helped by competing against an experienced line.
First impressions are good: The two redshirt freshman quarterbacks both made an instant positive impression. Lucas Johnson carried for a 70-yard touchdowns on his first rushing attempt, and Jay Jones carried for 56 yards the first time he kept it.
Upon further review: Lucas Johnson and Jones also had their rookie mistakes. Lucas Johnson threw an interception. Jones fumbled and took a sack when trying to scramble to win the game. Lucas Johnson was 7-for-13 for 23 yards and three sacks and rushed 11 times for 59 yards and one touchdown. Jones rushed 15 times for 81 yards and completed 2-for-6 for 41 yards and two sacks.
Look who’s catching: Jalen Camp had four receptions for 44 yards and solidified his spot as the team’s No. 3 receiver. No. 1 Ricky Jeune didn’t play and No. 2 Brad Stewart tweaked an ankle early and didn’t return.
Yes, there is a kicker: Georgia Tech has a highly regarded freshman coming in this summer, but sophomore Shawn Davis put himself in contention to keep the job with a good performance. There were no kickoffs in the scrimmage. Davis kicked three field goals — 38, 35 and 33 yards — and none were wobblers. The place-kickers are trying to replace Harrison Butker, who left the program as its all-time leading scorer.
Where was Paul Johnson?: The head man spent the night on the field calling plays for both teams. He stood in the backfield and watched closely as the different combination of players came in and out of the rotation.
Not a bad turnout: The West Stands, where most of the longtime fans sit, was pretty full. The crowd was announced at 7,500.
They said it
Paul Johnson on spring game: “(Friday) was the culmination of spring practice, so hopefully they had some fun. When you play a running clock in the second half, I think both teams had the ball twice. That was pretty fast.”
Paul Johnson on where the team is after spring practice: “I think we had a good spring practice. I don’t get hung up on the game. But, all in all, we got better at some things. We’ve got a lot of things to work on.”
Mitchell on spring practice: “It’s just a time to get out there and work on some things to get better. You go against the guys you have been going against the whole time. The main goal of spring is to get back to basics and get better, while working on the things you need to work on the most. That should be rewarding in itself to get better.”
Swilling on the winning catch: “When it was coming to me, the only thing I was thinking was, ‘If I drop this, there is no living it down.’ So, one thing led to another, but I had to focus on the catch first.”
Georgia Tech will play for real Sept. 4 vs. Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, currently scheduled for the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.