OK, just left Georgia Tech’s first practice of the week as the Yellow Jackets prepare for North Carolina this weekend.
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Of course, the big news this Sunday is the significant drop in the polls the team underwent after last Thursday’s 33-17 loss in Miami. In a weekend defined by upsets to USC and BYU, the Georgia Tech defeat seemed to catch the most attention, as pollsters in both the USA Today and AP dropped the Yellow Jackets completely out of their top 25. Ranked No. 14 and 13 respectively last week, Georgia Tech’s tumble was about as big as they come. When asked about it, safety Morgan Burnett said he wasn’t concerned with the drop, as he and his teammates are more focused on the polling at the end of the season, he said.
The road to the end of the year looks a lot more bumpy after last week, as Georgia Tech will be forced to drastically alter its lineup this weekend due to injuries and poor play. More on that in one second.
First things first.
The Yellow Jackets said goodbye to B-back Jonathan Dwyer in the second half of last week’s game after he suffered a stinger before halftime. Usually some kind of pinched nerve injury, stingers are a common football injury that affects a person’s nervous system. According to Tech officials, he was fit enough to return to action last Thursday but didn’t as precaution. Besides (and this is your beat writer speaking), the Yellow Jackets were down and their momentum had completely left them by the point Dwyer was taken out of the game. He was being stopped (had just 7 yards on five carries), and didn’t seem to be a factor. So whether he was in the game or not, Tech was still probably going to lose the game.
The injury appears to have been somewhat serious, though, as Dwyer was sporting a red injured player jersey during practice Sunday afternoon. After the workout, head coach Paul Johnson said he wasn’t sure how many practices Dwyer would miss but that the team “expected him to be back” for the North Carolina game this Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
While Dwyer likely will return to action Saturday, backup quarterback Jaybo Shaw’s status is less clear. Johnson said Shaw remains “Questionable” for the contest. Last week, Shaw, who broke his collarbone during a fall scrimmage, was expected to return in time for North Carolina, Johnson said.
Also “Questionable” for now: defensive backs Cooper Taylor and Dominique Reese. Adding insult to those injuries, defensive end Robert Hall will be “Out” for this game, Johnson said without giving a timeline of his potential return. Hall suffered a leg injury during the Miami game, and was forced to be held off the field.
Movers and shakers
The Yellow Jackets’ performances on defense and special teams forced them to have to shift some things around entering this weekend’s game, apparently.
Johnson said Sunday that defensive lineman Logan Walls had worked his way up the depth chart, and will start Saturday at defensive tackle in place of Jason Peters. At defensive end, Anthony Egbuniwe will replace the injured Hall. Johnson also said some of his freshmen longsnappers will “get a look” in practice this week as Georgia Tech looks to mix things up in the field goal and punting games.
That’s all the notes for today, check back to macon.com all this week leading up to Saturday’s North Carolina game. Use this site for all your coverage, analysis and Georgia Tech news. And, as always, follow the TechTalk on Twitter @macontechtalk. Thanks for stopping by!