Georgia Tech

Johnson praises Marshall, looks for even more production

Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall (16) and the Yellow Jackets host North Carolina on Saturday.
Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall (16) and the Yellow Jackets host North Carolina on Saturday. AP

First-year quarterback TaQuon Marshall has earned high marks for this first three games. But Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson said the junior can produce even more.

“He’s a really good athlete,” Johnson said. “I think he gets it. He wants to be good. He’s a really fierce competitor. Now, he had some great individual plays — the spin and the run down the sidelines. We’ve got to help him with some fundamental stuff. No one wants to be better than he does, and he’s willing to work hard and get better.”

Marshall has rushed for 386 yards and eight touchdowns, the seventh most by a quarterback in Georgia Tech single-season history. He’s thrown for 280 yards and three touchdowns.

“He’s played well, and I’m proud of him,” Johnson said. “But he knows me well enough to know that we won’t be satisfied until we do things the right way.”

Johnson wasn’t particularly happy with the way Marshall threw the ball Saturday. He completed 4-of-7 for 48 yards against Pittsburgh but missed an open receiver on a deep ball and threw well over the head of a receiver on the sideline.

“He didn’t throw the ball well,” Johnson said. “He’s a tough, hard-nosed kid, and he made some good runs. But we’ve got to get a better performance out of him. Fundamentals, steps, fakes, getting downhill on the option, throwing the ball better … lot of things.”

Putting it in the air

Fans are always asking Johnson if the Yellow Jackets are going to throw the ball more. They’ve thrown seven passes in each of the past two games.

“There’s going to be games where we have to throw the ball more,” he said. “It’s situational. It’s interesting that people worry about us throwing the ball. I watched the games on Saturday night, and our in-state rival threw the ball 12 times, but I didn’t hear them complaining. The object is to do what gives you the best chance to win.”

Johnson said there were actually more than seven passes called against Pittsburgh. The first play from scrimmage was supposed to be a pass. Late in the game, when reserve Jay Jones was in the game, Johnson called for a pass.

“It was wheel route that would have been a touchdown, but he pulled it back and ran,” Johnson said. “You can’t go out there and force them to throw it.”

Lineman Marshall on Campbell list

Andrew Marshall, an offensive lineman from Cumming, is one of 181 semifinalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, often referred to as the academic Heisman. Nominees must be a senior or a graduate student in their final year of eligibility and have a GPA of at least 3.2.

Marshall has not played this season because of a knee injury. He played 33 games in the previous three seasons and made nine starts at tackle. He has a 3.4 GPA in business administration and is on pace to graduate in December. He has been on the dean’s list each of his six semesters at Georgia Tech, is a three-year member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll and was one of four players on the team named to the 2015 ACC All-Academic team.


North Carolina at Georgia Tech

Noon, Saturday